The jet engine powered by an electric motor made by the German company Lilium Aviation is considered to be the closest vehicle to famous illustrations of flying cars. This model promises to help people significantly shorten travel time in the city.
With a portion of funding from the European Space Agency (ESA), Lilium Aviation designed a two-seat jet for civilian use and is powered by electricity based on vertical take-off technology, which is currently being used by many military aircraft such as the Harrier Jump Jet.
The complete prototype for this flying vehicle called the Lilium Eagle has a top speed of 186 mph or nearly 300km/h and can fly many miles of range on a full charge. In April 2017, the car took off for the first time from an airport on the outskirts of Munich, Germany. This test flight was uncrewed but still achieved impressive results.
Eagle is equipped with a fully electric motor, which means the vehicle has zero emissions and low noise.
The thrust of the flying car came from three electric jet engines. Each engine provides the power for a set of removable propellers with more than a dozen small blades to help the vehicle fly from vertical to horizontal. When the vehicle takes off and lands, the small propeller is directed straight down.
Like conventional jets, the rotor slowly changes into a horizontal position when traveling in the air. At that time, Eagle only used 1/10 of the energy compared to when taking off.
In the future, Lilium Aviation wants to build a 5-seat version of Lilium Eagle. Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and chairman of Lilium Aviation, said the five-seat Lilium Eagle would be able to travel at 300 km /h, fully charged in just under an hour. Back then, the flight from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy airport lasted only 5 minutes, and the cost was much cheaper than taking a taxi.