First hub for flying taxis to be located in Orlando, Florida
13 November 2020
The first hub location for a high-speed electric air mobility network in America will be launched by 2025 in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida.
Lilium, the Munich-based aviation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet aircraft, Tavistock Development Company, and the City of Orlando announced the country’s first urban and regional air mobility network as well as Lilium’s first US network location.
Lake Nona’s central location provides the opportunity to connect more than 20 million Floridians within a 186-mile radius, serving several major cities including Orlando and Tampa. The Lake Nona vertiport will create more than 100 jobs in the Orlando area, with hundreds more to follow across Florida.
The Florida eVTOL network
The Florida network forms part of Lilium’s vision of bringing regional air mobility to locations across the globe. The Lilium Jet aircraft can travel further and faster with distances of up to 186 miles within one hour on a single charge, enabling the connection of entire regions, creating significant economic impact for cities and their residents as well as increased access to industry, culture and nature.
Tavistock’s capabilities in design, planning, construction and development will support Lilium’s efforts in building this scalable, high-speed regional transportation system, across major locations in Florida. At its core, Lake Nona is designed to meet a higher standard of smarter, sustainable living, an ethos which closely matches that of Lilium.
Commenting on the ground-breaking partnership, Dr. Remo Gerber, Chief Operating Officer, Lilium said: “We are thrilled to partner with Tavistock and build the first stretch of Florida’s high-speed electric transportation network with Central Florida at its core. It shows that regional high-speed air mobility can be built by private initiative and give communities such as Lake Nona, which can also serve Orlando and arrivals from its international airport, the ability to determine themselves whether they want a link into a high-speed transportation network.”
The hub vertiport as part of an aerotropolis
Described as the “Future of Cities” by Fortune Magazine, Lake Nona provides an unmatched location contiguous to the Orlando International Airport, the origination site of more than half of the region’s 75 million annual visitors, with a robust economy and infrastructure ready to support the US launch of electric air mobility.
Orlando’s aerotropolis is highlighted by the international airport and robust aviation companies and services, including several within Lake Nona, which is home to BBA Aviation/Signature Flight Support and SimCom Aviation Training who recently announced the creation of its new global headquarters that will train approximately 10,000 pilots each year.
City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer commented: “For this new technology to truly reshape the transportation ecosystem and benefit Orlando residents long-term, it is going to take a true partnership between cities, developers and transportation operators. We have been focused on finding the right partners to be a global leader in the advanced air mobility space. I’m thrilled that our progressive and collaborative environment has created an opportunity for this unique partnership between the City of Orlando, Lilium and Lake Nona to invest in the expansion of safe, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation options throughout one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.”
Discussing the partnership, Tavistock Managing Director Ben Weaver said: “We are delighted to partner with Lilium to create the first US network of vertiports and to launch within Lake Nona’s living lab allowing unrivalled connectivity unlike anything developed in the country to date. This partnership and network launch highlight our community’s passion and commitment to ground-breaking partnerships and new technologies that sets us apart as a city of the future. Lilium’s core mission of transport which not only supports bringing the region together, but also provides a solution to environmental issues, is incredibly impressive.”
The vertiport design
Lilium and Tavistock have together created a breakthrough vertiport architecture for its hub location that is both functional and aesthetically unique and resembles the iconic art within Lake Nona. A variety of standardised vertiport designs will allow flexibility so that sites can be uniquely assembled or incorporated into existing transport structures in both urban and suburban developments. These designs provide optionality for metropolitan landscapes with the ability for offsite pre-construction that reduce costs and accelerate development.
The announcement demonstrates Lilium’s ongoing commitment to commencing commercial operations of a quiet, emissions-free regional air mobility service, which is accessible to all, in multiple regions around the world by 2025.
The vertiport locations are subject to approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and other regulatory agencies. The Lilium jet is under certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA and will operate under existing regulatory frameworks.