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California-based Archer Aviation announced today that it is entering into an agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, partnering with the automaker to make electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, popularly known as flying cars is.
The aircraft manufacturer is currently called “the world’s first all-electric airline” built around composite aircraft powered by a 187-kWh battery pack – or 143 healthy kWh, accounting for battery health reserves. The aircraft is designed to operate at a speed of 150 mph for a distance of 60 miles. Short-ish range, quiet-to-combustion electric operation and EVTOL capabilities mean we’re talking about an urban air mobility vehicle that aims to shut down city and upstream traffic, not between cities. More “Air Taxi” airline. “
Through the announced partnership, Archer “will benefit from using FCA’s low-cost supply chain, advanced composite materials capabilities, and design experience.” In fact, the two companies have already collaborated on the design of the aircraft’s cockpit, which Archer says we can expect to appear sometime in early 2021, along with the rest of the electric craft. The company expects production to cease in 2023.
Urban air services are paving the way for big business in the future, but so far the pace of landfall is slow. Even Uber, perhaps the tech’s most visible cheerleader, has sold its elevate flying taxi business according to a report in December, even before it got off the ground, out of the urban aerial mobility game Left. The prospect of having the air under its wings as an FCA gives Archer an advantage over other urban air mobility startups in the race to build, certify and deliver flying taxis, but it also sets up aeronautics such as Airbus, Bell, Boeing and Embrey Also running against players. Only time will tell which, if any, will be the first to fly.