The future is here, and it’s taking off in our backyards! A revolution of transportation is upon us!
A virtual Zoom press conference the morning of Nov. 11 established the official announcement of Tavistock’s partnership with the City of Orlando and Lilium for the country’s first urban and regional air mobility network, as well as Lilium’s first U.S. network location by 2025. Lilium is a Munich-based aviation company, which consists of over 600 employees working on an all-electric, vertical take off and landing (evTOL) aircraft.
This partnership has secured the first vertiport in the United States, right here in Lake Nona. The Lake Nona Vertiport will allow a futuristic air-taxi to land and take off, featuring two landing pads and eight gates to allow for aircraft charging. The vertiport can accommodate hundreds of thousands of passengers and will feature similar architecture to the surrounding Lake Nona businesses. This aircraft will have a “relevant impact on climate change and connectivity of our society.”
This new form of high-speed transportation will connect Florida in a completely new way. Within a one-hour flight, the aircraft can reach 20 million Floridians. Lilium’s creation of a completely new aircraft that can take off and land vertically (similar to a helicopter) will be battery operated. The aircraft will feature two wings at the front and two wings at the back. Electric propulsion will drive it forward, and it will take a lot less energy to fly — about 1/10th of the energy.
The aircraft will serve a range of 186-miles to “connect entire regions in a new way.”
Daniel Weigand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium, explained that they’ve taken the first step toward many more vertiports.
“There will be, of course, more vertiports, but the first step is the hardest. I think we have now taken the first step. [We’ve had] multiple active conversations across the state. We are very, very keen that we can connect Lake Nona to many places. [There are] many options that we are currently looking at and look forward to delivering on.”
Remo Gerber, Ph.D., and chief operating officer for Lilium, details why Lilium chose Lake Nona for the first hub location for a high-speed, electric air mobility network in America.
“In life, you look for great partners, and you look for people who have a great vision. All of these things have come together with Tavistock and Lake Nona. This makes sense and, also linked to that, is the central location of Orlando and Lake Nona to connect across the entire state.”
Power requirements for the battery-powered aircraft are expected to be similar to those of electric trucks, according to Gerber.
Engineering will take place at Lilium’s home base in Munich and will create well over 100 jobs in Lake Nona once the Lake Nona Vertiport is open and operating. Ben Weaver, Tavistock’s managing director details his excitement surrounding this partnership.
“We’re excited to start with our location in Lake Nona. We’re already in discussions with other cities in Florida.”
You might be wondering what the cost of an average flight would be. Gerber elaborated on this.
“A launch will probably be more of a business-class flight. In some countries, you can compare it to a first-class rail. Over time, we’re committed to making it more and more affordable. [It] can be equivalent to driving your car. There will be a starting point, but over time, we are committed to future generations of this whole service of bringing the prices down to a comparative of cars.”
Rasesh Thakkar, Tavistock’s senior managing director, said it best.
“[So I can] see the sunrise in Daytona, have lunch in West Palm, and see the sunset in Clearwater and be back at home with my family in Lake Nona.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has been clear in wanting the City of Orlando to be ahead of the game when it comes to green energy and bringing the future to the present.
““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. [We’ve] transformed Lake Nona into a hub of innovation to live, work, play, and learn.”
More details in the December edition of Let’s Talk Lake Nona.