Frank Stephenson, the designer of some of the world’s most iconic cars, is joining aviation start-up Lilium as head of product design.
The American-Spanish designer, famous for his work at BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and McLaren, will lead the design of all aspects of Lilium services.
Lilium was founded in 2015 in Munich, Germany, and is developing a high-speed, low-cost, zero- emissions air taxi capable of vertical take-off and landing. The Lilium Jet, which is designed to revolutionise the way individuals move around within cities, is built around a unique concept which sees 36 hyper-efficient individual electric jet engines embedded into the aircraft’s wing flaps, enabling a transition from hover mode into horizontal flight.
Stephenson, 58, will join a 100-strong team in Munich from May, and recruit an entirely new design team to shape both the interior and exterior of the jet itself, as well as a design language for the company’s wider infrastructure, including landing pads and departure lounges.
Frank Stephenson said: “My last job was as high up as you could be in the car design world. The obvious question was – what next? But it wasn’t one I could easily answer. And then this incredible company – founded by four super-smart young guys – came along and it immediately felt like exactly the right move.
“Lilium is going to revolutionise city travel by moving journeys from the ground into the sky. The technology that they have already developed is truly mind boggling.
“Throughout my whole career I’ve worked hand in hand with engineers, creating vehicles that will be mechanically efficient and technically effective while also looking beautiful. I will now apply those same principles to this very latest innovation in aviation.”
Daniel Wiegand, Lilium’s CEO and co-founder, added: “Frank has created not just some of the most beautiful cars in the world, but some of the most high performance and functional vehicles ever seen on the road. Frank’s work is unique – he creates entirely new design languages that aren’t like anything that anyone has ever seen before. That is exactly what we’re trying to achieve at Lilium.”