A rendering of Archer's planned electric aircraft, which the company claims can travel 60 miles at speeds of up to 250 km / h
Fiat Chrysler is partnering with air mobility company Archer to cut costs and accelerate the launch of an electric "flying car" formerly known as a vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL).
The deal gives California-based Archer access to Fiat Chrysler's cost-effective supply chain, expanded composite capabilities, and engineering and design expertise. The companies declined to publish the financial terms of the partnership.
Unlike traditional aircraft that use jet engines or helicopters with a large rotating rotor, eVTOL aircraft use electric motors to power rotating wings or smaller rotors, much like drones, to enable vertical takeoffs and landings. The planes are expected to be used as air taxis for shorter, low-level routes to reduce road congestion. Some are being developed as unmanned aircraft without the need for pilots.
Morgan Stanley said the autonomous city aircraft market could be worth $ 1.5 trillion by 2040.
"Electrification in the transportation sector, whether by road or air, is the future. With any new and rapidly evolving technology, scaling is important," said Doug Ostermann, director of global business development at Fiat Chrysler, in a statement. "Our partnership with Archer is mutually beneficial and will allow innovative, environmentally friendly transportation solutions to be brought to market faster."
Archers aircraft are expected to carry passengers for 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour with minimal noise. It is initially expected to be a manned aircraft with one pilot. According to Adcher co-founders and co-CEOs Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein, the company plans to introduce a demonstration aircraft later this year, followed by FAA certification by 2024.
"For us, it's a monumental time that we can partner with a global powerhouse company that will allow us to mass-produce. This really enables us and gives us a lot of credibility, even if we have to be a key player." in this room, "Goldstein told CNBC." We're very excited about the relationship. "
Marc Lore, Walmart's e-commerce boss and founder of Jet.com, is Archer's largest investor. Archer also has investments from an unknown number of others as well as Adcock and Goldstein, who developed and sold an online recruitment market for just over $ 100 million in 2018.
"When we think about this business, we have to make our planes like the cars that cars make today," Adcock said, citing safety, mass production and other features.
Archer and Fiat Chrysler are not alone in this area. There are already established companies like Joby and Boeing-Wisk. South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor has already announced plans to develop electric air taxis with Uber, which sold its hailship division to Joby last month.