The goal is to have the Midnight, a local take-off and landing vehicle designed for use in urban transportation, ready for production by 2024. Stellantis and Archer Aviation are partnering to bring the Midnight to market and potentially launch the new taxi service in New York in 2025.
Stellantis, the fourth-largest car manufacturer in the world, was created through the merger of Italian-American company Fiat-Chrysler and French company PSA in early 2021. The company recently acquired Aimotive, a Hungarian developer of self-driving technology. Archer Aviation was founded in 2020 and went public on the New York Stock Exchange in the autumn of 2021.
However, the value of Archer’s shares has decreased significantly over the past year and a half. Before going public, the company raised $1.1 billion in funding from investors, which demonstrates that developing EVTOLs is a costly endeavor.
$150 million for series production of the air taxi
Archer, a California-based company, recently announced that it is building a plant in Georgia, with funding from Stellantis, where it plans to begin producing Midnights in 2024. The series production of the air taxi will cost $150 million.
Capable of carrying four passengers and a pilot, Midnight is designed primarily for short city flights: it will be able to make round trips of 20 miles (32 kilometres) with a charging time of around 10 minutes. Powered by two electric motors and 6 separate batteries, it has a total range of up to 100 miles (160 km) on a single charge and a top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph). Archer says their electric EVTOL will be a quiet, safe and sustainable means of transport.
Stellantis is investing $150 million in Archer, with the aircraft manufacturer able to draw down the fresh capital over the next two years subject to certain milestones being met. In addition to capital, Stellentis will also provide knowledge: it will help build manufacturing capacity and later also sales, thanks to its extensive network and experienced team.
Development was also risky and expensive
Stellantis will be the exclusive manufacturer of the Midnight, while Archer will be responsible for obtaining the necessary operating licenses and certificates for the air taxi. Archer’s team is confident that they will be able to obtain these licenses and begin flying in major US cities in 2025, following the start of series production in 2024.
Archer has already completed successful test flights, which puts them in a good position to obtain the necessary certificates. In addition to providing financing for the production of the Midnight, Stellantis will also take on a larger stake in Archer as a long-term strategic investor. The two companies have a history of cooperation, with Stellantis previously investing in Archer in 2021.
Archer has already booked a major pre-order
Last summer, United Airlines paid a $10 million advance for 100 EVTOLs. The first commercial flights will be launched with the airline. The plan is to link Newark airport near New York with the city. With the expressway, especially at peak times, the journey can take up to an hour, with EVTOL completing the journey in less than 10 minutes.
According to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, the partnership with Archer demonstrates the company’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of mobility and investing heavily in the coming years to become a semi-software company. With the resources provided by Stellantis, Archer will have a greater chance of success in the competitive market for air taxis.
At the same time, the addition of Archer to Stellantis’ portfolio will help the company strengthen its reputation as an innovative giant and bring significant knowledge capital through Archer’s expertise in developing EVTOLs, electric drive trains, motors, and batteries.