AUBURN HILLS, MI—Stellantis (the new name formed from the recent merger of FCA and Groupe PSA) is collaborating with Archer, a startup air taxi company based in Palo Alto, CA, that is developing an electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The four-seat aircraft, featuring a 143-kilowatt-hour battery pack and 12 rotors, will be capable of flying at speeds up to 150 mph. Archer plans to ramp up production in 2023.
The partnership will enable Archer to benefit from access to FCA’s low-cost supply chain, advanced composite material capabilities, and engineering and design experience.
“The goal is to significantly decrease the cost of production…[enabling us to create] the world’s first all-electric airline that moves people throughout the world's cities in a quick, safe, sustainable and cost-effective manner,” says Brett Adcock, co-CEO of Archer. “The new partnership will help accelerate [our] timeline in becoming an industry leader with the resources and capabilities to capitalize on the new era of sustainable air mobility.
“We've been hyper-focused on a customer-first approach to vehicle design and aircraft operations,” explains Adcock. “Now, we are working with a seasoned, industry-leading automotive partner to leverage cost benefits and experience that will allow [us] to produce thousands of aircraft reliably and affordably every single year."
“Electrification within the transportation sector, whether on roads or in the air, is the future,” adds Doug Ostermann, vice president and head of global business development at the FCA division of Stellantis. “And, with any new and rapidly developing technology, scale is important.
“Our partnership with Archer has mutual benefits and will enable innovative, environmentally friendly transportation solutions to be brought to market at an accelerated pace,” claims Ostermann.
FCA has already collaborated on cockpit design elements of Archer’s first aircraft, which is expected to be unveiled this year.
The electric air taxi market has also attracted the attention of several other traditional automakers. For instance, during the virtual CES show earlier this week, General Motors released teaser images of a Cadillac eVTOL that features four rotors powered by a 90-kilowatt-hour battery.
In addition, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce are developing a three-person aircraft dubbed the Volante Vision; Daimler has invested in a startup company called Volocopter; Hyundai is working on a project with Uber; Porsche has formed a partnership with Boeing; and Toyota Motor Corp. has invested in Joby Aviation.