Stellantis-Backed Archer Presents Its eVTOL Production Aircraft Called Midnight

Archer Midnight 6 photos
Photo: Archer
Archer Aircraft Branded with the United LogoArcher MidnightArcher MidnightArcher MidnightArcher Midnight
Archer’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is here and it’s ready for production! Named Midnight, this unit is the updated version of the Maker prototype. The test mule completed its first hover flight almost a year ago. Now, let’s see what Midnight can do.
At the beginning of 2021, Stellantis’ Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) division teamed up with Archer and allowed the startup to use its supply chain. It also gave the young firm access to new composite materials and helped with the design and engineering efforts.

Now, Archer says Midnight – a pilot-plus-four-passengers eVTOL aircraft – is ready to conquer the skies. The air taxi will boast a payload of over 1,000 lb (454 kg). With the help of its all-electric powertrain consisting of 12 small propellers arranged in a proprietary 12-tilt-six configuration, it promises to be almost 1,000 times quieter than a helicopter. That’s thanks to the 12 spinning propellers that can move at lower tip speeds. The system feeds onto an energy reserve of 142 kWh and can develop 1,300 kW (1,767 hp/1,792 ps).

Midnight is expected to fly 20 miles (32 kilometers) on a single charge. Replenishing the batteries takes approximately 12 minutes thanks to the 800V architecture and it can be done during a stop between back-to-back flights. The aircraft can reach up to 150 mph (241 kph) and it is estimated that will last for around 3,000 flight cycles.

Archer already has a customer for its aircraft – United Airlines made a $10 million deposit for 100 units back in August.

The company says Midnight is safer than a traditional aircraft since it has a simplified propulsion system with no single critical points of failure. Moreover, the electric motors themselves come with fewer moving parts than those found in a gas turbine or piston engine.

Operating the air taxi does not produce emissions, while certain materials like “flax” fiber are used throughout the cabin to absorb CO2. Plastic bottles have also been recycled and introduced in the production process.

Archer estimates that it will begin production of its eVTOL aircraft in 2023. From the looks of it, the company might pull it off, especially since it has plans to expand its current manufacturing efforts with a new plant in Georgia. However, certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to arrive in 2024. This means the urban air mobility network will launch sometime in 2025.

Stellantis was formed after FCA and PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, and Vauxhall) agreed to merge. Its headquarters are in Hoofddorp, Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands, an area that is very close to the famous Schiphol Airport.

Finally, Morgan Stanley estimated in an analysis done in 2021, that the eVTOL market will be worth around $1.5 trillion in 2040.

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Editor's note: The video published by Archer on Twitter is a simulation. It does not show a real flight.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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