The German eVTOL developer Lilium has shared its vision for “lean, modular” vertiports, eschewing ambitious skyport concepts of the type developed for Uber Elevate.
In a blog post published on Medium on July 1, Lilium makes a case for vertiports that are “smaller, smarter, and safer” than some of the “vast, exciting visions” that have recently been proposed for urban air taxi operations.
Lilium says its design — based around a limited set of standardized modules — will make it “simpler and more affordable for developers to plan a vertiport for their specific site.” The company suggests that small, ground-based vertiports under its scheme can be built for as little as 1 to 2 million euros ($1.1 to $2.2 million), while larger, elevated structures may require an investment of between 7 and 15 million euros ($7.9 to $16.8 million).
“Keeping our design lean and modular will allow our network to grow rapidly, helping us to deliver high-speed connectivity in a fraction of the time it typically takes to build roads or railways,” the blog post states. As Lilium CEO Daniel Wiegand previously told eVTOL.com, the company is focused on enabling regional air mobility operations with its fully electric Lilium Jet — creating cost-effective transportation links between cities, or from cities to the countryside — rather than prioritizing inner-city missions.
Lilium’s modular design revolves around three common elements that can be scaled to accommodate “20 flights per day or 20 flights per hour.” These include the take-off area where Lilium Jets will arrive and depart, the parking stand where passengers will board and disembark the aircraft, and a passenger terminal focused on “reducing processing and waiting to a minimum” — meaning few if any retail or hospitality offerings.
While the blog post only describes the vertiport concept in general terms, “we continue to develop our standards for vertiport design and will be sharing our progress here in the coming months, along with more detailed costings and requirements,” Lilium states.