Flying Cars

Orlando will be home to the first flying cars mobility network in America

Lake Nova, Orlando will be home the nation's fist flying cars mobility network hub.

Photo courtesy of Lilium Jet

Orlando will be home to the first high-speed electric air mobility network in America. Lilium, the Munich, Germany-based aviation company behind the push, plans to have an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet aircraft ready by the time the Lake Nona vetiport location opens in 2025.

Within a 186-mile radius of the hub are 20 million Floridians. This includes the major cities of Tampa and Orlando. This mileage is the same as the range of the Lilium Jet aircraft, which can travel up to 186 mies within one hour on a single charge.

Lilium jetLilium's flying cars have about 1,000 times less parts than a typical jet.Photo courtesy of Lilium Jet

The Florida hub is contiguous to Orlando International Airport, where 75 million visitors pass through each year during typical business conditions. Several aviation companies are located nearby including BBA Aviation/Signature Flight Support and SimCom Aviation Training. The Kennedy Space Center is also close to Orlando.

Liliu jet rangeThe flying car is able to reach about 20 million Florida residents.Photo courtesy of Lilium Jet

The Lilium Jet uses 36 single-stage electric motors to thrust the vehicle in nearly any direction. This means that control surfaces, rudders, ailerons, and a tail are not required. In this respect, the jet operates similarly, but at a much higher level than a drone. The Lilium Jet has about the same number of individual parts as a typical family car, which is 1,000 times fewer than the typical jet.

Earlier this year, New Hampshire became the first state to pass a bill allowing flying cars on the road.

The vertiport location is subject to approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and other regulatory agencies. The Lilium jet is under certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA and will operate under existing regulatory frameworks.

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Updated EV

2023 Nissan Leaf pricing announced

The Leaf got a mild facelift for 2023.

Nissan

Nissan is nearing the release of the Ariya, its first new EV in several years. Even so, the brand hasn't forgotten about its first mass-market EV, the Leaf. It was an early entrant in the space, and has been an efficient, affordable, commuter car for over a decade. The car got a mild facelift for 2023, with updated wheels and exterior styling accents. Today, Nissan announced pricing for the Leaf, which starts at just under $29,000.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf feels lively, despite middling power numbers.Nissan

The base Leaf comes with a 40-kWh battery capable of delivering a 149-mile range. Its 110-kW electric motor produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf SV Plus features a 60-kWh battery for a range of 212 miles. It comes with a 160-kW motor that makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Nissan backs all Leaf models with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

ProPilot Assist comes standard for the Leaf SV Plus, and brings a full suite of advanced driver aids that include adaptive cruise control, driver alertness features, and a surround-view monitor. All Leaf models get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf SV Plus offers up to 212 miles of range.Nissan

The new Leaf starts at $28,895, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. The Leaf SV Plus starts at $36,895. The 2023 Nissan Leaf is on sale now, and may be eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to receive a state tax credit or other incentives.

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The electric ID. Buzz enters production this fall.

Volkswagen

Few vehicles are as iconic or as instantly recognizable as the Volkswagen Bus. The funky German people-hauler features a unique upright shape and cavernous interior space for carrying passengers to music festivals far and wide. Volkswagen hasn't sold a van here in the U.S. for several years now, as the last family carrier it offered was the Routan. That's about to change, and in a big way. The ID. Buzz - a seriously quirky electric van is on its way, and promises to be a compelling zero-emissions vehicle.

Volkswagen ID. BuzzVW promises 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. Range figures are expected soon.Volkswagen

The van premiered at the Detroit Auto Show in 2017, and VW has used it as an EV ambassador since. Though it looks like a frumpy people hauler, Volkswagen says the MEB platform upon which the ID. Buzz rides makes it agile. Like many EVs, its 82-kWh battery is located beneath the load floor, which helps give the van a low center of gravity and improve handling. It's paired with an electric motor mounted on the rear axle that provides 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque.

The ID. Buzz offers five seats and 39.6 cubic feet of cargo space. An available ID. Buzz Cargo carries a petition behind the front seats and offers a total cargo capacity of 5.1 cubic yards (137.7 cubic feet). Both versions of the van are 185.5 inches long and ride on wheels ranging from 18 to 21 inches in size. The relatively compact dimensions give the van a turning radius of just over 35 feet.

Volkswagen ID. BuzzThe ID. Buzz is on a final European quality check tour before entering production. Volkswagen

VW says a fleet of pre-production vans is touring Europe working out final kinks before full-scale production begins. VW will start building the ID. Buzz in the second half of 2022 and the van will launch in Europe in fall. The vehicle we see here in the United States will ride on an extended wheelbase, but no other region-specific specs are available.

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