Stellantis, Archer join forces to electric eVTOL aircraft
Automotive conglomerate Stellantis and American aviation firm Archer have mutually agreed to significantly expand their partnership by joining forces to manufacture the latter's flagship electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft - the Midnight.
Stellantis will support Archer's recently announced manufacturing facility in Covington, Georgia at which the companies plan to begin manufacturing the Midnight aircraft in 2024.
Midnight electric aircraft is designed to be safe and sustainable solution, with an expected payload of over 1,000 pounds, carrying four passengers and a pilot. With a range of 100 miles, it is optimized for back-to-back short distance trips of around 20 miles, with a charging time of approximately 10 minutes in-between.
According to the statement, Archer is bringing its world-class team of eVTOL, electric powertrain and certification experts while Stellantis will contribute advanced manufacturing technology and expertise, experienced personnel and capital to the partnership.
This combination is intended to enable the rapid scaling of aircraft production to meet Archer's commercialization plans, while allowing Archer to strengthen its path to commercialization by helping it avoid hundreds of millions of dollars of spending during the manufacturing ramp up phase. The goal is for Stellantis to mass produce Archer's eVTOL aircraft as its exclusive contract manufacturer.
Further, Stellantis will provide up to $150 million in equity capital for potential draw by Archer at its discretion in 2023 and 2024, subject to achievement of certain business milestones which Archer expects to occur in 2023. The group also intends to increase its strategic shareholding through future purchases of Archer stock in the open market, making Stellantis a long-term, cornerstone investor in Archer.
"We've been working closely with Archer for the past two years, and I am continually impressed by their ingenuity and unwavering commitment to deliver," said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO.
"Deepening our partnership with Archer as a strategic investor with plans for growing our shareholding demonstrates how Stellantis is pushing the boundaries to provide sustainable freedom of mobility, from the road to the sky. Supporting Archer with our manufacturing expertise is another example of how Stellantis will lead the way the world moves", he added.
"Stellantis' continued recognition of Archer's progress toward commercialization, and today's commitment of significant resources to build the Midnight aircraft with us, places Archer in a strong position to be first to market," said Adam Goldstein, founder and CEO of Archer. "Our two companies are taking these important steps together to realize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redefine urban transportation."
Stellantis has been a strategic partner to Archer since 2020 through various collaboration initiatives, and as an investor since 2021. During this time, Archer has leveraged Stellantis' deep manufacturing, supply chain, and design expertise in connection with Archer's efforts to design, develop, and commercialize its eVTOL aircraft.