Archer has announced today plans to bring an eVTOL aircraft to market, the first major project announcement since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Founded by Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein, the California-based company draws on technical prowess from the likes of Wisk, Airbus, Joby Aviation, and NASA currently sporting a team in excess of 40 engineers. The duo noticed a business need for aerial mobility to alleviate congestion in urban areas and are committed to delivering a sustainable and efficient vehicle in the coming years. Further, the company already has investors including Walmart eCommerce CEO Marc Lore.
Development of Archer’s prototype is in its infancy, but the company plans to be able to carry four passengers at 150 mph up to 60 miles. It plans to certify the vehicle under EASA’s new special condition rules for eVTOL aircraft. Early concepts, show a six propeller configuration on a fixed wing and a V-shaped tail. “We are still evaluating different concepts and the architecture, including lift plus cruise and vectored thrust,” said Adcock. “We’re looking at what part of the battery capacity is accessible for cruise, and the need to negotiate around emergency power reserves and trying to design around the worst possible operating conditions.”
Archer predicts it will need in excess of $1B USD to get its vehicle into commercial service, not yet being able to offer a timeline for development and certification. The company plans to seek additional strategic investors to meet this goal, but did not disclose other significant investors besides Mr. Lore.
Why it matters: Archer joins a quickly crowding space of eVTOL manufacturers dreaming of a future with aerial mobility shifting the paradigm in how we travel in urban areas. The founders have significant entrepreneurial experience and seem to have been able to poach talent from reputable firms in the industry. Moreover, this is the first announcement of a new prototype since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This signals continued interest in the industry, but the pandemic will undoubtedly cause roadblocks and developmental delays to manufacturers’ sky-high expectations.