California-based electric flight cab startup Archer is getting prominent support on board, in the form of a collaboration with carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Archer’s first eVTOL is set to be unveiled early this year.
The partnership with FCA is already expected to be reflected visually in the debut model. Archer says that the cockpit of its vertical launcher, announced in the coming weeks, will feature design elements from FCA. Basically, the collaboration with the Italian-American automaker will give the startup access to its supply chain. Archer says it will also benefit from the automaker’s expertise in composites, engineering and design.
All of this is expected to help it begin volume production of eVTOL aircraft in 2023. Among other things, Archer is aiming to reduce production costs through the partnership in order to offer customers affordable services and, above all, “accelerate the schedule.” The haste here stems from Archer’s aspiration to become the “world’s first all-electric airline.”
Doug Ostermann, vice president and head of global business development at FCA, expresses that electrification is the future in the transportation sector, whether on the road or in the air. And, “whether on roads or in the air is the future and with any new and rapidly developing technology, scale is important.” The partnership with Archer, he said, is mutually beneficial and will allow innovative, environmentally-friendly transportation solutions to be brought to market at an accelerated pace.
Brett Adcock, co-founder and co-CEO of Archer, adds that his company has been very focused on a customer-centric approach to vehicle design and aircraft operations. “Now we are working with a seasoned, industry-leading automotive partner to leverage cost benefits and experience that will allow Archer to produce thousands of aircraft reliably and affordably every single year.”
The company first unveiled its plans in May, revealing that the Californian company is developing an all-electric VTOL that will carry four passengers over distances up to 60 miles (just under 100 kilometres) at speeds of up to 250 kph (155 mph). “Archer’s aircraft focuses on speed, safety, range and payload and can be mass-produced and properly certified. It will be a milestone for industry transformation,” the company claimed. There has been no other official data on the aircraft since then. However, Electrek published a graphic in May that included some interesting data on the eVTOL’s planned battery. According to this, the battery will weigh around one ton (with a total weight of three tons) and have a usable capacity of 143 kWh. Of this, 80 kWh is intended for flight (“cruise”), 26 kWh for hovering (hover) and 37 kWh as a reserve. The lower 16 kWh of the battery are not to be used, the upper 28 kWh are planned as loss during the ageing of the battery.