Multi-brand automotive company Stellantis (Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot, among others) has entered into a strategic partnership with U.S. startup Archer Aviation.
According to the agreement, Stellantis will provide its manufacturing expertise to produce Archer’s Midnight electrically powered vertical takeoff (eVTOL) aircraft. This support will accelerate the commercialization of the aircraft.
In addition to advanced manufacturing technology, Stellantis will also provide experienced personnel. This assistance will allow Archer to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in capital expenditures, it says. In addition, Stellantis will provide $150 million in equity.
Stellantis will work with Archer to build a manufacturing facility in Covington, Georgia. Here, the two companies plan to begin series production of the Midnight aircraft in 2024. Midnight will be able to carry four passengers and a pilot with an expected payload of more than 454 kilograms. With a maximum range of about 100 miles (160 kilometers), Midnight is optimized for short-range flights of about 20 miles (32 kilometers). During stopovers, a charging time of only about 10 minutes should be sufficient to recharge the batteries.
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This cooperation between the two disparate partners represents a first in urban air mobility. Both companies aim to bring their respective strengths to the table, accelerating the overall development and commercialization of such vehicles. Archer brings its team of eVTOL, electric propulsion and certification experts to the partnership, while Stellantis brings its manufacturing technology and expertise in mass production. This combination is also expected to enable rapid scaling of aircraft production. The stated goal is for Stellantis to mass produce Archer’s eVTOL aircraft as the exclusive contract manufacturer.
Stellantis will provide up to $150 million in equity that Archer can draw down at its discretion in 2023 and 2024. This is contingent on Archer achieving certain commercial milestones expected in 2023. Stellantis also intends to increase its strategic stake through future open market purchases of Archer shares. These actions, which complement the other elements of this expanded partnership, will enable Stellantis to become a long-term anchor investor in Archer.
The move continues a strategic collaboration between the two partners that began back in 2020. Stellantis has also been an investor in Archer since 2021.