Stellantis will build an electric aircraft for California-based Archer Aviation and increase its investment in the company.
The deal, announced this week at CES in Las Vegas, sees Stellantis overseeing a proposed Archer factory in Covington, Georgia, which is expected to begin building aircraft in 2024. The automaker will make its manufacturing expertise available with the aim of becoming Archer’s exclusive manufacturing partner, according to a Stellantis press release.
The Archer Midnight electric aircraft is said to be manufactured with Stellantis
The Archer Midnight is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that Archer says can carry a 1,000-pound payload with seating for four passengers plus a pilot. It has a range of 100 miles but is optimized for 20-minute trips with 10-minute charge stops in between.
Stellantis has been a “strategic partner” of Archer since 2020 and began investing in the company in 2021. At CES, the automaker confirmed an additional $150 million in funding for Archer, to be made available in 2023 and 2024 if the company meets certain performance goals. Stellantis also plans to increase its stake in Archer by buying shares on the open market.
Rendering of the proposed Archer Aviation factory in Covington, Georgia
Several other automakers have shown interest in eVTOL aircraft. Honda confirmed in 2021 that it was developing such an aircraft, but with a gas turbine range extender instead of an all-electric setup. Hyundai announced an air taxi division in 2021 and showed a cabin model of its planned air taxi in 2022 in anticipation of a maiden flight in 2028. Toyota is backing Joby Aviation, which as of August 2021 had plans to begin operations with an eVTOL in 2024.
Also at CES, Stellantis is showcasing next-generation cabin technology for its Chrysler division with the Synthesis demonstrator, a mockup based on the interior of the Chrysler Airflow concept being shown at CES in 2022. The demonstrator using the STLA Brain, STLA SmartCockpit and STLA AutoDrive software platforms were first announced in late 2021. Stellantis is also showing the Ram 1500 Revolution BEV concept and previewing an electric pickup truck due in 2024.