Years ago, the former Chrysler Corporation seemed to have its hands in everything from building rockets, military vehicles, marine applications, and even air conditioners. But now as part of Stellantis, that innovation that the automaker was founded on is taking on new heights.
Earlier this week, Stellantis and Archer Aviation Inc. announced that they have agreed to significantly expand their partnership by joining forces to manufacture Archer’s flagship electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, Midnight.
For those who aren’t familiar with Archer, the Santa Clara, California-based company is designing and developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in urban air mobility networks.
Stellantis will work with Archer to stand up Archer’s recently announced manufacturing facility in Covington, Georgia at which the companies plan to begin manufacturing the Midnight aircraft in 2024. Midnight is designed to be safe, sustainable, and quiet and, with its expected payload of over 1,000 lbs, can carry four passengers plus a pilot. With a range of 100 miles, Midnight is optimized for back-to-back short-distance trips of around 20 miles, with a charging time of approximately 10 minutes in-between.
This unique partnership in the urban air mobility industry will leverage each company’s respective strengths and competencies to bring the Midnight aircraft to market. Archer brings 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.
As a further sign of its commitment, Stellantis will provide up to $150 million in equity capital for a potential draw by Archer at its discretion in 2023 and 2024, subject to the achievement of certain business milestones which Archer expects to occur in 2023. Stellantis also intends to increase its strategic shareholding through future purchases of Archer stock in the open market. These actions, along with the other elements of this expanded partnership, will enable Stellantis to become 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.”
“Stellantis’ continued recognition of Archer’s progress toward commercialization, and today’s commitment of significant resources to build the Midnight aircraft with us, place 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.”