Lake Nona, Florida will be the new home to an electric air mobility network with the help of Munich-based Lilium, Tavistock Development Company, and the City of Orlando come 2025, according to a Nov. 11 press release. Lilium is currently developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet aircraft.
The location was picked because of its close proximity to the Orlando International Airport, which more than half of the region’s annual visitors, according to the release. The network will have access to 20 million Floridians within a 186-mile radius and create over 100 jobs in the Orlando area.
Lilium specifically described its new concept of operations as a “high-speed electric air mobility network” in their release, emphasizing the significance of the need for electric infrastructure in the city to support their 2025 vision. Their eVTOL jet will be able to travel 186 miles on a one-hour charge, according to the release.
It is currently under certification from the “European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and will operate under existing regulatory frameworks,” according to the German eVTOL developer.
“For this new technology to truly re-shape the transportation ecosystem and benefit Orlando residents long-term, it is going to take a true partnership between cities, developers, and transportation operators,” City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a press statement. “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.”
Other aviation companies in the area include BBA Aviation/Signature Flight Support and SimCom Aviation Training who recently announced Lake Nona as its new pilot training global headquarters.
Lilium and Tavistock will work together to build the vertiport at Lake Nona which will be subject to approval from the FAA and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Multiple vertiport designs will be created with flexibility in mind so that they can be assembled on their own or incorporated into existing structures, according to Tavistock.
In August, Lilium told Avionics International how it plans to use a business model that offers a 24-minute trip for $170.
“We are delighted to partner with Lilium to create the first U.S. network of vertiports and to launch within Lake Nona’s living lab allowing unrivaled connectivity unlike anything developed in the country to date,” Ben Weaver, Tavistock managing director, said in a press statement. “This partnership and network launch highlight our community’s passion and commitment to groundbreaking partnerships and new technologies that sets us apart as a city of the future.”
There are also plans to launch its own app and operate its service internally — a full-stack offering that could eventually be a lucrative business but also requires greater up-front investment.
“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,” Dr. Remo Gerber, chief operating officer at Lilium, said in a press 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.”
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