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Stellantis Invests $55 Million in Air Taxi Start-Up

by | July 3, 2024

Stellantis has invested an additional $55 million in Archer Aviation, a pioneer in the fast-emerging field of drone-like flying taxis. That follows a previous $110 million investment the Euro-American automaker made in Archer. And it comes at a time when the start-up completed a milestone flight and is preparing to open up a new assembly plant in Georgia.

Archer Midnight Airtaxi

The Archer Midnight prototype made a critical flight test, transitioning between vertical and horizontal flight.

Dozens of companies are racing to get airborne in the emerging market for eVTOL aircraft – more commonly referred to as flying cabs. And they’re lining up some big partners, including a number of major automakers.

Stellantis has announced a new $55 million investment in Archer Aviation, on top of $110 million it previously committed. The latest round of funding comes as Archer cleared a significant milestone, a flight test that saw it “transition” from a vertical, helicopter-style take-off to more conventional winged flight. Its Midnight prototype was then able to transition again for a vertical landing.

Airtaxi market gets lift

“The future of transportation is looking up – quite literally,” said Tim Jackson, an expert on the new field who’s book, “Dude, where’s my flying car? Has just gone into print. He describes the field as a “game changer,” and notes it is “happening sooner than you might think.”

Dozens of companies have launched development programs, including major aerospace manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus, as well as start-ups such as Archer.

Supernal S-A2 - lifting off rendering

A rendering shows the Supernal S-A2 flying cab being developed by Hyundai.

Archer is one of several of these new entries that has found support from the auto industry. Toyota has partnered with Joby Aviation which, like Archer, is based in California. Hyundai, meanwhile, has created its own airtaxi subsidiary, Supernal.

Dreams take flight

“Few things rival the excitement of seeing a dream take flight. I applaud the innovation, expertise and hard work of the engineering and manufacturing teams from Stellantis and Archer,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “With this additional investment in Archer, we remain on course for a future where freedom of mobility extends beyond today’s roads.”

Stellantis first teamed up with Archer in 2020, initially buying stock on the open market and then entering a partnership. With the latest investment it has now pumped $165 million into the start-up. The Euro-American automaker is also providing manufacturing assistance, noted Archer CEO Adam Goldstein.

“The commitment by Stellantis to Archer has been unrivaled, from its foresight to provide the manufacturing expertise and capital needed to accelerate Archer’s business objectives, to the strategic vision and steadfast support from Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares,” said Goldstein. “Together, we’re working to redefine urban transportation, opening new worlds of opportunity for citizens across the globe by providing more efficient access to people, places, and events across the regions they live in.”

More Airtaxi News

The breakthrough flight

So far, most of the airtaxi ventures have yet to get off the ground. A few have achieved only the most basic test flights. Archer, however, reached a milestone last month.

One thing these various wannabe manufacturers have in common is the use of drone-like designs. Their crafts typically use anywhere for four to more than a dozen electrically powered rotors. As with unmanned drones, the rotors provide lift for vertical take-off and landing – which is why they’re commonly referred to as eVTOL aircraft.

Some continue to operate with those rotors positioned parallel to the ground, like a helicopter. During its pilot flight, the Archer Midnight, for one, rotated them to face forward, more like a conventional aircraft, its wings then providing most of the lift, in level flight. At its destination, Midnight’s rotors transitioned again for a vertical landing.

Archer Factory

Archer intends to complete construction at its Georgia plant this year.

Production plans

A production version of the Archer Midnight will provide room for four passengers. Unlike a few potential competitors it will use a human pilot. The goal is to provide quick 10 to 20-minute flights that could replace long drives in crowded urban areas. The most commonly perceived use for such aircraft is to serve as a shuttle from urban hubs to airports. They could, for example, replace the current helicopters shuttling behind New York’s JFK and downtown.

Even before the maiden flight, Archer had begun construction of a manufacturing facility in Georgia. The 350,000 square-foot factory is set to open later this year.

Archer initially plans to produce up to 650 aircraft annually once it receives the necessary approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and authorities in other parts of the world.


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