Santa Clara-based aviation startup Archer Aviation (Archer) unveiled its new two-seat electric vertical and take-off (eVTOL) urban taxi in Los Angles on June 10. Given the name ‘Maker’, the aircraft is a prototype of a four-passenger (five-seater) eVTOL aircraft it anticipates launching in 2024. Maker has a top speed of 150mph, has a range of 60 miles, weighs 3,324lbs and has 12 rotors – six to the front and six to the rear of its 40-foot wings.
Maker is a “full-scale, two-passenger demonstrator aircraft,” said Adam Goldstein, one of Archer’s co-founders. “Its purpose is to serve as a certification test bed, and also to keep pushing our key enabling technologies.” Archer was unable to demonstrate Maker’s flying capabilities and nor was the company able to confirm when it anticipated receiving certification for test flights.
The company recently raised US$1.1 billion by going public through a reverse merger with a special acquisition company, or SPAC. The merger, which is valued at US$3.8 billion, is also backed by United Airlines, which has placed a US$1 billion order for 200 Archer eVTOL aircraft, with an option to purchase 100 more for US$500 million. However, Archer has become the target of a lawsuit from rival aviation startup Wisk Aero, which has accused Archer of stealing its trade secrets and infringing on its patents. Wisk is a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk and is being countersued by Archer over “false statements” regarding the criminal probe.
Meanwhile, news was also announced last week of American Airlines’ and Virgin Atlantic’s intention to buy 250 and 150 eVTOL aircraft, respectively, from U.K. company Vertical Aerospace (Vertical). American Airways also announced its intention to invest up to US$25 million in Vertical which has, over the space of just a few days, also become the most important player in the eVTOL aircraft market after receiving an order for up to 500 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, valued at approximately US$2 billion.Email Post to a Friend