Lilium Picks Astronics For Power Distribution

Astronics has joined a growing list of suppliers working on the Lilium Jet eVTOL.
Credit: Lilium

More details of the architecture of the Lilium Jet electric regional air taxi have emerged as the German startup has named Astronics to develop the power distribution system.

U.S.-based Astronics will supply both the secondary power distribution units (SPDU) and charging power distribution units (CPDU). The seven-seat ducted-fan vectored-thrust Lilium Jet will have two SPDUs and one CPDU.

The SPDU converts 1,000-volt DC power from the batteries to 28-volt DC for distribution to aircraft systems including flight controls, avionics, navigation, communication, sensors, internal and external lights and cabin conditioning.

The CPDU manages battery charging, as well as providing an additional and dissimilar source for high-voltage to low-voltage power conversion and distribution. This minimizes common-cause failure modes between the CPDU and SPDU, Lilium says.

The Lilium Jet has 10 battery modules using high energy-density silicon-anode lithium-ion cell technology developed by Zenlabs. Germany’s CustomCells will produce the batteries, which will power 30 ducted fans driven by electric motors supplied by Honeywell and Denso. In an all-electric aircraft the batteries must also power all the other onboard systems, which is the role of the SPDUs and CPDU.

The selection of Astronics, which works with Airbus, Boeing and Embraer, is another example of an advanced air mobility (AAM) startup selecting an experienced aerospace supplier with a track record of certifying equipment for commercial aircraft.

 
 

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.