Lilium, developers of an electric vertical take-off and landing jet, has appointed experienced car designer Frank Stephenson as its new head of product design.

The former BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and McLaren designer will lead the design of all aspects of Lilium services.

He will oversee a new team to oversee the design of both the interior and exterior of the Lilium Jet, as well as the German aviation start-up’s wider infrastructure, such as the landing pads and departure lounges.

“Lilium is going to revolutionise city travel by moving journeys from the ground into the sky,” said Stephenson.

“The technology that they have already developed is truly mind-boggling.

“My job—as we accelerate towards production and a roll-out of the service—is to develop a design that will make it not just an efficient service but a supremely well designed one.”

The Lilium Jet will travel at speed of up to 300km per hour, and have a range of up to 300km on a single electric charge. At those speeds, a journey from Manhattan, New York, to the city’s JFK International Airport could be reduced from an hour to just a few minutes.

In addition to high-speeds, Lilium estimates that the aircraft will be up to 90% more efficient than its competitors, which the company hopes will allow it to deliver an affordable on-demand air transport-service to cities around the world.

Stephenson said that he will look to nature for inspiration, using biomimicry to create a vehicle that is ‘mechanically efficient and technically effective while also looking beautiful’.

“Frank’s work is unique—he creates entirely new design languages that aren’t like anything that anyone has ever seen before,” said Lilium CEO and co-founder Daniel Wiegand.

“That is exactly what we’re trying to achieve at Lilium.

“Moreover, I want Lilium to deliver magical user experiences, and to be just as renowned for the design of our products and services as we are for what they deliver. I’m thrilled that someone as gifted and iconic as Frank is joining the team as he will be a true partner on our path to achieving this in the next few years.

“It is a sign of our clear leadership in this field that someone of Frank’s calibre is choosing to join us as we approach production of the Lilium Jet and launch of the Lilium service.”

Lilium said it is accepting portfolio submissions from interested designers.