Frank Stephenson will design the Lilium Jet.


eVtol start-up Lilium has hired famed car designer, Frank Stephenson, as its new head of product design.

This is Mr Stephenson’s first foray into the world of aviation, having spent much of his professional lifein the automotive industry designing cars for Maserati, Mini and Ferrari to name a few. Some of his most notable designs include the new Mini, Ferrari F430 and the BMW X5.

Stephenson is looking ahead, having left his job as one of the most-respected and influential modern automobile designer to pioneer design in the emerging eVtol market.

Most recently, Stephenson was design director at McLaren Automotive, which he joined in 2008 before leaving in May 2017 and found his own design studio – Frank Stephenson Design Studio. Now he is bringing his design skills to Lilium.

Mr Stephenson with the McLaren P1

Mr Stephenson said: “My last job was as high up as you could be in the car-design world. The obvious question was – what next? But it wasn’t one I could easily answer. And then this incredible company – founded by four super-smart young guys – came along and it immediately felt like exactly the right move.”

“Lilium is going to revolutionise city travel by moving journeys from the ground into the sky. The technology that they have already developed is truly mind boggling. My job – as we accelerate towards production and a roll-out of the service – is to develop a design that will make it not just an efficient service but a supremely well-designed one.”

Lilium is on-track to have its first manned flight take place in 2019, it has already flown a 1:2 scale prototype earlier this year. The Munich-based company is billing itself as an air-taxi service, launching a booking app alongside the aircraft, allowing passengers to book a taxi to pick them up from a network of landing pads within a few minutes.

According to Crunchbase, Lilium Aviation has received $101.4 million over two rounds of funding. Its first round of series B funding in September last year raised $90 million from four different investors. The second Series A rounding raised $11.4million, with investment firm Atomico leading the funding. Lilium has a total of five investors.

Whilst many of the other air-taxi manufacturers have roots in the helicopter industry, Lilium is billing its eVtol as a ‘Jet’, standing out from the rest of the eVtol manufacturers such as Aurora, Ehang and Airbus due to a distinct lack of rotors powering the vehicle. The jet achieves vertical flight through 36 individual electric jet engines.

Daniel Weigand, Lilium’s CEO and Founder said: “I want Lilium to deliver magical user experiences, and to be just as renowned for the design of our products and services as we are for what they deliver. I’m thrilled that someone as gifted and iconic as Frank is joining the team as he will be a true partner on our path to achieving this in the next few years.

“It is a sign of our clear leadership in this field that someone of Frank’s calibre is choosing to join us as we approach production of the Lilium Jet and launch of the Lilium service.”