Electric ‘flying car’ start-up Archer teams up with Fiat Chrysler

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A render of the planned electric plane by Archer, which the company claims will be able to travel 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 mph

Archer

Fiat Chrysler is teaming up with air mobility company Archer to help cut costs and accelerate the launch of an electric “flying car”, more officially known as a vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The deal will give California-based Archer access to Fiat Chrysler’s low-cost supply chain, advanced composite material capabilities, engineering and design experience. The companies refused to publish the financial terms of the partnership.

Unlike traditional airplanes which use jet engines or helicopters with a large rotating rotor, eVTOL airplanes use electric motors to propel rotating wings or smaller rotors, almost like drones, to enable takeoffs and landings. vertical. Planes should be used as air taxis for shorter routes and at lower altitudes to reduce traffic congestion. Some are developed as unmanned aircraft without the need for pilots.

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Morgan Stanley said the market for autonomous urban aircraft could be worth $ 1.5 trillion by 2040.

“Electrification in the transportation industry, whether on the road or in the air, is the future and with all new and rapidly developing technology, scale matters,” said Doug Ostermann, Business Development Manager Fiat Chrysler Global, in a statement. “Our partnership with Archer has mutual benefits and will bring innovative and environmentally friendly transportation solutions to market at an accelerated pace.”

Archer’s plane is expected to carry passengers 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 mph while producing minimal noise. It is initially expected to be a manned aircraft with a pilot. The company plans to unveil a demonstration aircraft later this year, followed by FAA certification by 2024, according to Archer co-founders and co-CEOs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein.

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“For us, this is a monumental moment when we come to partner with a leading global company that allows us to manufacture in series. It really empowers us and gives us a great deal of credibility that we also need to be a major player in this space, ”Goldstein told TBEN. “We’re super excited about the relationship.”

Marc Lore, head of e-commerce at Walmart and founder of Jet.com, is Archer’s largest investor. Archer also has investments from an undisclosed number of other people as well as Adcock and Goldstein, who developed and sold an online recruiting marketplace for just over $ 100 million in 2018.

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“As we think of this business for ourselves, in order to achieve real scale, we have to make our airplanes like the cars made today,” Adcock said, citing safety, mass manufacturing and other features. .

Archer and Fiat Chrysler are not alone in this space. There are already established companies such as Joby and Wisk, backed by Boeing. South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor has also announced plans to develop electric air taxis with Uber, which sold its airline telephony division to Joby last month.

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