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Before the end of this decade, you’ll be able to order an on-demand aerial rideshare as easily as you currently request an Uber.

But all of this raises a fundamental question: Why now?

The answer is a convergence of advanced technologies such as improved batteries, new materials, advanced sensors, and something called “direct electric propulsion.” Coupled with increasing regulatory support around the world, the age of flying cars is arriving.

In the last blog in this series, we looked at the two companies leading the eVTOL market: Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation.

But they’re not alone.

In today’s blog, I want to share details on three more of the leading eVTOLs (flying cars) that are competing for the market: Lilium, Beta, and Volocopter. 

Let’s dive in… 


Lilium (Germany)


Lilium is planning a 7-seater (German-based) eVTOL jet, which boasts a unique fixed-wing design powered by 36 electric ducted fans.

The Lilium 7-seater is expected to have a cruise speed of 280 km/h (175 mph), a 250+ km (155+ miles) range, a maximum cruise altitude of 3,000 m (10,000 ft), and the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft is estimated to be 3,175 kg (7,000 lb).

In June 2023, Lilium achieved FAA G-1 certification, making it the only air taxi with certification bases from both the FAA and EASA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. As CEO Klaus Roewe has stated, "Receiving the FAA G-1 demonstrates the Lilium Jet's path to global acceptance by aerospace regulators and the expected start of global operations in late 2025."

Lilium has secured substantial purchase orders and partnerships, including deals with Azul, NetJets, Saudia, and Heli-Eastern. In March 2024, Lilium partnered with Atlantic Aviation to prepare for the Lilium Jet's upcoming regional air mobility service launch in the United States.

The company hopes to enter commercial service in 2026.


Beta (Vermont, USA)


Beta Technologies, a pioneer in electric aviation based in South Burlington, Vermont, has captured the industry's attention with its groundbreaking designs.

The company's ALIA-250 eVTOL and CX300 eCTOL (electric conventional takeoff or landing) aircrafts share components, streamlining the FAA certification process and enabling cost-effective production.

In October 2023, Beta made history by delivering a manned ALIA electric aircraft to the U.S. Department of Defense. The aircraft completed a 2,000-plus mile journey from Vermont to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, utilizing Beta's own charging infrastructure. The U.S. Air Force is now testing the Alia in its first piloted deployment of an electric aircraft.

September 2023 saw the opening of Beta's new 188,500 square-foot factory at Burlington International Airport, dedicated to the large-scale production of the ALIA eCTOL and eVTOL.

Beta aims to launch the ALIA eCTOL in 2025 and the eVTOL in 2026, working closely with the FAA for certification. The company has raised over $800 million from prominent investors and has secured orders for approximately 600 aircraft from major aviation players.


Volocopter (Germany)


The all-electric “Volocopter” is equipped with 18 engineered rotors, giving it extraordinary redundancy, and offering accommodations for two people: a pilot and a single passenger.

The vehicle is limited in carrying capacity, speed, and range but its simplicity makes it ideal for local, near-term operations. The lack of a wing and dependence on multicopter-drone technology means it will have short ranges and relatively slow speeds.

The Volocopter 2X (an earlier model) is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) and has a range of 27 km (17 miles). This model is particularly suited for short-range urban air taxi service, which is ideal for the company’s collaboration with NEOM, the smart and sustainable regional development in northwest Saudi Arabia, and its futuristic urban environment.


The next design, called the “VoloCity,” has a range of 35 km (22 miles) and a top speed of 100 km/h (69 mph). The VoloCity is equipped with 18 small fixed-pitched propellers and 18 electric motors, powered by lithium-ion battery packs that can be swapped out in about 5 minutes, significantly reducing turnaround times. This model is expected to enter commercial service in 2024.


Why This Matters

In the year 2000, there was a famous IBM commercial in which the comedian Avery Johnson asked: “It’s the year 2000, but where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars. I don’t see any flying cars. Why? Why? Why?”

In 2011, in Peter Thiel’s now famous manifesto What Happened to The Future?, the prominent investor wrote: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”

The wait is now over and flying cars—at least eVTOLs—are finally here.

And the infrastructure, ecosystem, software, and regulations are coming fast.

While we were sipping our lattes and checking our social media feeds, science fiction became science fact.

In our next blog in this series, we’ll look at how commercial drones are transforming on-demand delivery.



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Peter H. Diamandis

Written by Peter H. Diamandis


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