Electric air taxi firm readies for takeoff

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Archer has raised $1.1bn from investors including European car giant Stellantis for the launch of its electric air taxi. Stellantis subsidiary Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles will provide composite manufacturing and supply chain support, and United Airlines has also signed a $1bn deal to use the systems.

The merger with an investment firm values US-based Archer at $3.8bn and brings it to the New York Stock Exchange.

Archer’s fully electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft is expected to be capable of traveling distances of up to 60 miles at 150 mph using technology available today. This competes with European air taxi startups such as Lilium and Airbus-backed Vahana CityAirBus as well as Ehang of China.

“Unlocking the potential of new technologies like urban air mobility is a key enabler in creating a broad mobility ecosystem for consumers,” said Mike Manley, Head of Americas at Amsterdam-based Stellantis. “We are proud to deepen our relationship with Archer Aviation through this investment and we look forward to growing our partnership to accelerate a pathway to innovative, sustainable transportation.”

“Electrification within the transportation sector, whether on roads or in the air is the future and with any new and rapidly developing technology, scale is important,” said Doug Ostermann, Vice President and Head of Global Business Development of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles. “Our partnership with Archer has mutual benefits and will enable innovative, environmentally friendly transportation solutions to be brought to market at an accelerated pace.”

The deal with United is worth up to $1.5bn and the electric air taxi fleet would be used by Mesa Airlines to transport passengers.

“Part of how United will combat global warming is embracing emerging technologies that decarbonize air travel. By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation. With the right technology, we can curb the impact aircraft have on the planet, but we have to identify the next generation of companies who will make this a reality early and find ways to help them get off the ground,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “Archer’s eVTOL design, manufacturing model and engineering expertise has the clear potential to change how people commute within major metropolitan cities all over the world.”

Other backers of Archer include the venture arm of Exor, Baron Capital Group, the Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds, Mubadala Capital, Putnam Investments and Access Industries.

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