To recap, due to its power hungry design, the Lilium Jet needs battery cells with an energy density of at least 320 Wh/kg. Cells available in the market stand at 270 Wh/kg. eVTOL peers are already working with available cells and this gives them a crucial head start in a very competitive market.
Lilium writes that 330 Wh/kg batteries will be supplied by German-based Customcells.
Customcells is a legitimate firm. BUT the way Lilium presents Customcells’ role is particularly misleading. Customcells is merely Lilium’s manufacturing partner and not the source of its IP for the supposedly groundbreaking cells. Lilium shamelessly takes his investors for a ride.
The IP is supposed to come from Lilium as per the company’s 28 July 2021 press release.
Lilium is an eVTOL company not a battery developper, so where does its IP come from? Lilium claims it has exclusively secured “silicon-anode lithium-ion pouch (cell) technology”. This technology is precisely the one used by its associate Zenlabs. This reinforces our assumption that Zenlabs is the source of IP for Lilium’s cells. Zenlabs’ management was accused of misrepresentation in the past by General Motors.
Some might argue that Zenlabs’ 1000 charge-discharge cycles have been certified by a third-party. But its CEO Sujeet Kumar similarly had a third-party certify battery cells while at his previous company Envia Systems. It turned out Envia had purchased the cells from a Japanese supplier and had sent them to GM. GM never used the cells as theoretical cell performance in the lab didn’t translate into real life performance, which is an extremely common problem in battery development.
We strongly believe that Lilium is misleading its investors about the status of its batteries, and is trying to hide that Zenlabs is the source of the “IP”.
We are often told that the aerospace industry is made of serious people. Not always apparently. Good luck to Lilium to certify their jet with this kind of tactic.
Here are simple questions for Lilium
- Where does the IP for your 330 Wh/kg cell technology really come from? Is it Zenlabs?
- Why did Lilium invest in Zenlabs while its CEO’s controversial background can be easily found on the internet?