This Facility in Georgia Is Where Stellantis Will Start Its Offensive on the eVTOL Market

Archer assembly facility in Georgia 6 photos
Photo: Archer
Archer Aircraft Branded with the United LogoArcher MidnightArcher MidnightArcher MidnightArcher Midnight
With all the advancements taking place all around us when it comes to the transportation sector, it's hard to get a good idea of what the future will look like, and what exact tech will be adopted on a large scale. Will it be the flying cars currently being developed in China, or the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles we keep hearing about? Or will our world remain faithful to land-based means of transport?
The heavyweights of the industry, established carmakers, seem to be just as undecided as everyone else, so for now they keep doing what they're doing, which is building road-going vehicles. There are a few exceptions, sure, like Audi and its involvement with Airbus for the Pop.Up Next, but that one kind of feels more like wishful thinking than something that will actually happen.

The only automotive company that seems serious at the moment about VTOLs is Stellantis. At the beginning of the year, the huge auto group announced it is backing a maker of such flying vehicles called Archer Aviation.

Archer is working on a flying vehicle called Midnight. Equipped with six independent battery packs that power a pair of electric motors each, it should be capable of reaching a top speed of 150 mph (241 kph) and a maximum range of as much as 100 miles (160 km), which is perfect for short intercity trips.

Stellantis backing this idea goes far deeper than providing funding for the eVTOL. Archer is currently building a production facility in Covington, Georgia, the "world’s first high-volume eVTOL aircraft manufacturing facility." And it's not doing it alone, as the auto group has its own people embedded in "manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, quality, facilities and human resources."

The Georgia plant is expected to open about halfway through next year, and at first it will produce some 650 aircraft per year. If all goes according to plan, and everyone gets crazy over the Midnight, production can be ramped up to 2,300 VTOLs per year. If that happens, the place will become "the world’s leading aircraft manufacturing facility by volume."

And there seems to be enough interest in it, as one of America's largest carriers, United Airlines, announced in March it will open an air taxi route using the Midnight. It will link the O'Hare International Airport to Vertiport Chicago, a trip that should not last more than ten minutes. The route is expected to open in 2025.

The flying machine could also be used for military purposes, and it already caught the eye of the Department of Defense, including thanks to its capacity to carry over 1,000 pounds (454 kg) of cargo. An official evolution in this respect is not confirmed yet.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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