Toronto, Ontario — Officially making his way onto the U.N.’s list of auto execs that may also be mad scientists, the former head of operations for General Motors in North America, Barry Engle and his company Qell Acquisitions Corp. have entered into a deal with a German aviation startup that is aiming to circle in on the flying taxi market.
One of the things in the previous paragraph was a lie: it was the thing about the U.N.
But it is true, Engle and his company have helped German aviation tech developers, Lilium, take their idea for the future of transportation to the public.
Lilium is in the process of developing a seven-seat, electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOL) that they see as the future of short-distance inter-city travel.
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, at which point the combined company will trade on the Nasdaq exchange under LILM.
Daniel Wiegand, CEO and co-founder of Lilium, said that this merger with Qell will help get their product ready to go in time for its targeted commercial launch in 2024. The company has raised $400 million up to this point.
“This is going to give us both a lot of expertise and operational knowledge from Barry and his team, but also the financing to achieve the type of certification and market entry with our airplane,” Wiegand said in an interview with CNBC.
“It’s a tremendously big and important step for us as a company.”
The aircraft’s target launch markets are Florida and Germany.