ABB E-mobility and Lilium, who are positioned to be a global leader in regional electric air mobility, have announced plans for ABB to provide the charging infrastructure for Lilium’s high-speed regional air network. This is scheduled to be launched commercially in 2024.
Lilium has announced planned launch networks in Florida, Germany and Brazil. As part of the agreement, ABB will develop, test and supply the MegaWatt fast charging infrastructure necessary for the quick turnaround times needed for electric aviation.
The ABB charging points are designed to be capable of fully charging batteries in just 30 minutes. They can also charge up to 80 percent in 15 minutes. This will enable the 20-25 flights per aircraft per day planned across Lilium’s global vertiport network. The initial range of a seven-Seater Lilium Jet is expected to be 155 miles (250km) with an average speed of 175mph (282km).
Frank Muehlon, ABB’s E-mobility Division president, said: “Combining Lilium’s mission to grow sustainable aviation with ABB’s global market expertise and leadership in e-mobility and charging infrastructure is a win for the environment and a win for passengers
“Moreover, we see this planned partnership as an important commitment to all relevant charging standards that are adopted by multiple electric ‘vehicle’ manufacturers.
“By supporting the new MegaWatt charging standard, ABB E-mobility is paving the way for the electrification of all modes of transport, from cars and trucks to marine vessels, mining vehicles, and now, aviation.”
In 2019, global CO₂ emissions from all commercial air operations totalled 918 million tons, an increase of 29 percent since 2013. With passenger transport responsible for 780 million tons, or 85 percent, of the total emissions from air operations, decarbonisation of transport is a vital step towards combatting climate change and building a more sustainable future.
Daniel Wiegand, Lilium CEO and co-founder, said: “We believe that the decarbonisation of aviation is both urgent and inevitable. Making sure we have the right charging infrastructure will play a crucial role in enabling our high-speed regional air network by allowing quick and efficient charging.
“We are proud to be working with ABB, who bring decades of experience in electrification and software, to set the charging industry standard for electric aviation.”
The regional air network will be made up of a series of Vertiports, which will have multiple parking bays and high-power charging points. The MegaWatt Charging System (MCS), the infrastructure to be developed under this planned partnership, will allow direct current (DC) charging of up to 1000kW.
This set-up can also be used for electric heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and buses. In the development of the MCS, ABB and Lilium plan to adhere to the relevant standards that support interoperability.
CharIN, the organisation that promotes interoperability based on the Combined Charging System (CCS) as the global standard for charging vehicles of all kinds, initiated the Task Force “Megawatt Charging System” in 2018. This was to prepare an international charging standard for commercial vehicle high power charging.
It’s good to see more growth in the use of electric planes in the aviation world and it’s an exciting time for cleaner air travel. At the start of the year in the UK Urban Air Port Air-One was selected as a winner of the UK government’s Future Flight Challenge to develop aviation infrastructure and systems that enable the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles.
Also back in June, we reported that Brittany Ferries were investigating the use of electric seagliders. Then in August, we reported the news the DHL Express, the world’s leading express service provider, had ordered 12 fully-electric Alice eCargo planes from Eviation for delivery in 2024. Hopefully, electric power will rule the airways in the future.