© Electric Flytrain

Electric Flytrain Is Electrifying Air Travel

While steady progress is being made in the electrification of road transport, air transport is still in the experimental stage. Apart from demonstrators from a few airplane manufacturers, there are still hardly any electric planes. This is where the Munich-based startup Electric Flytrain wants to help by developing electric aircraft powertrains as total systems. The founders answered our Seven Questions.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!

Electric Flytrain: The founders of Electric Flytrain have many years of experience in the development of electric powertrains in the automotive industry (Tesla, BMW, Siemens). Electric Flytrain is now applying this expertise to develop electric powertrains for the aviation industry and accelerate the transformation towards more sustainable air travel.

Tobias Kahnert – CEO: Tobias has been working in the field of electromobility for just shy of ten years. He has his BA in electromobility (based on electrical engineering) from Hochschule München and his MA in engineering for sustainable development from the University of Cambridge. He worked for Tesla in California for four years on the integration of electric powertrains. For the Silicon Valley startup “Impossible Aerospace,” he was fully responsible for the development of an electric powertrain, from the first sketch right through to handing the product over to the customer. He has assumed the role of CEO at Electric Flytrain and also contributes his engineering expertise to the development process.

Simon Rudolph – System Design: Simon and Tobias have known each other for a good two years through mutual work colleagues in the automotive industry. Simon has his BA and MA in mechanical engineering from TU Munich. He previously played a leading role in software development at the startup MX3D . After that, he worked for BMW for many years on the system design of battery storage devices. At Electric Flytrain, he is in charge of the system design of the electric powertrains.

Jonas Fauser – Electrical and Software Design: Jonas and Tobias have know each other since their time together in high school. Jonas has a BA and MA in electrical engineering from TU Munich. Jonas has extensive experience in the development of electronic components and in software architecture through his work at the company Blickfeld, where he has already obtained five patents for his work. At Electric Flytrain, Jonas is responsible for the development of electronics and for software architecture.

Turn-key electric powertrains

Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?

Electric Flytrain: There are a lot of aircraft manufacturers who are already considering electric powertrains. But at the moment, there’s a lack of total systems that lead to safe and certifiable aircraft. Electric Flytrain is developing turn-key electric powertrains for just that.

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Electric Flytrain: While the first electric aircraft do already exist, they are often demonstrators that were built by aircraft manufacturers part by part. In contrast, we are developing total powertrain systems that can be used in different aircraft and can therefore quickly lead to products that are ready for serial production.

Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?

Electric Flytrain:

  1. Gaining a foothold in the aviation industry was a major challenge for us. We’re originally from different industries and had to prove ourselves first and make a name for ourselves.
  2. Determining the exact product-market fit.
  3. Finding an investor who was ready to handle the amount of investments that were necessary as well as the risks involved with the aviation industry and hardware development.

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?

Electric Flytrain: In one year, we want to have seen our first aircraft in the sky. In five years, we want to have developed a series of products and for our products to be fully industrialized so they can reach our end customers.

Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?

Electric Flytrain: Munich is an extremely attractive city for us with many talented individuals and the relevant big players right nearby. The risk appetite isn’t quite as high as in Silicon Valley, where some of us worked for startups.

Munich Startup: Bike or e-scooter?

Electric Flytrain: Oh, that’s a great question. We’re all bike riders, even though our tech focus is on e-mobility. I would say that we don’t use electric powertrains to cruise through the city, but will soon be taking off with them instead.