Lilium plans a flying taxi "vertiport" for Florida in 2025
Lilium is one of a number of startups working to make flying taxis a reality, and is now offering folks a new look at its vision by divulging plans for its first transport hub in the US. The company’s first “vertiport” is planned for Orlando, Florida, and will be the first node in a network hoped to span the entire state.
Much like Uber’s Skyport concepts, Lilium’s vertiports are intended to function as passenger stations for folks to hop in and out of flying taxis as they come and go. In Lilium’s case, this will involve its fully electric aircraft taking off and landing vertically in Orlando’s Lake Nona region, with up to five people on board.
According to the company, the Lilium Jet can travel 186 mi (300 km) on each charge, enough for it to connect different regions across Florida and more than 20 million people. To develop the hub it has partnered with the City of Orlando and Tavistock, the development company behind the Lake Nona planned community, and says the first vertiport will resemble the “iconic art” in the area.
“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,” says Orlando Mayor Buddy Dye.
Beyond its plans for Florida, Lilium says it has developed a range of standardized vertiport designs that can either be assembled on empty sites or integrated into existing infrastructure. These can also be pre-assembled off-site to cut costs and construction times, according to the company.
Lilium says the first hub in Lake Nona will be launched in 2025, and indeed has said it hopes to have its flying taxi service up and running around the world in that same year. By its own admission, these types of stations, including the one planned for Florida, will need to be ticked off by the relevant authorities, including the Federal Aviation Administration in the US, as will its jet prior to lifting off with any passengers.
The all-electric VOTL aircraft first emerged in 2016 as a two-seat prototype and has since carried out a series of test flights, including trips where it hit speeds of over 100km/h (62 mph) and pulled off banked turns. The finished product is expected to travel at cruise speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph).