Global automaker Stellantis will produce electric “air taxis” developed by US airline Archer, it announced Wednesday at the major Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Stellantis will also invest up to $150 million in Archer and its vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which is expected to carry four passengers in addition to the pilot, the company said in a press release.
Dubbed Midnight, the vehicle looks like a small airplane with multiple rotors on its wings and is designed for consecutive trips of about 20 miles (30 kilometers), with a charging time of about 10 minutes between each trip.
Archer envisions an age of ridesharing in the air, an “Uber or Lyft of the sky,” Vice President Louise Bristow told AFP last year.
The two groups previously partnered in 2021, but on a more limited scale, with Stellantis expected to provide technical support and access to its supply chain.
This time, Stellantis will be the exclusive contract manufacturer in Covington, Georgia, in the southeastern United States, to mass-produce Archer’s aircraft.
The partnership allows Archer to accelerate production of the aircraft, which is expected to begin in 2024. In addition, the US company is said to save “hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses” during the production ramp-up thanks to Stellantis’ expertise.
Archer should be able to initially build up to 650 aircraft per year before a potential expansion to up to 2,300 per year, Adam Goldstein, Archer co-founder and chief executive officer, said at the press conference.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in the statement that he “remains impressed” by Archer’s “ingenuity and unwavering drive to achieve.”
The deepening of the partnership between the two companies “demonstrates how Stellantis is pushing the boundaries to provide sustainable mobility freedom from road to air,” he continued.
The move “places Archer in a strong position to be first to market,” Adam Goldstein, Archer’s founder and CEO, said in the statement.
“Our two companies are taking these important steps together to realize a unique opportunity to redefine urban transit.”
Stellantis also plans to increase its stake in Archer by buying back shares in the market.
Archer has already received a pre-order for 200 vehicles from US airline United Airlines.
It is planned that these aircraft will initially fly between New York and Newark Airport and then expand to other cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco where United has a significant presence.
© 2023 AFP