Lilium, a startup from Germany, has been working diligently on both these issues. In addition to developing its own eVTOL, called the Lilium Jet, it’s also proposing models for vertiports that are modular and easily adjustable to all types of terrain. The goal is to have both the vehicle and the infrastructure ready by 2025. And that includes the first hub for the United States.
Earlier this week, Lilium announced the first hub location for a high-speed electric air mobility network for the United States, in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida. It will be launched in 2025, which coincides with the date offered earlier by Lilium for the launch of the Lilium Jet, and will be a joint effort by the German startup, Tavistock Development Company and the City of Orlando.
With this vertiport, Lilium will connect more than 20 million Floridians within a 186-mile (300-km) radius, and significantly boost tourism in the area by offering emissions-free, incredibly fast connecting flights to anywhere in Florida, without the hassle usually associated with commercial flying.
“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,” Remo Gerber, chief operating officer, Lilium, says in a statement. “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.”
At the core of the new vertiport will be, of course, the Lilium Jet. It’s a five-seat eVTOL powered by 36 electric engines, with an estimated range of 186 miles (300 km) on one single charge, and top speeds of 185 mph (298 kph). Lilium believes it can create a 2,000-mile (3,218-km) network with just 15 to 20 such vertiports, and already has development contracts in Europe, through partnerships with Dusseldorf and Cologne/Bonn airports.