Fiat Chrysler to help Silicon Valley startup launch air taxi

Fiat Chrysler and California startup Archer plan to team up on an electric air taxi to cut pollution and traffic congestion.

The carmaker’s expertise in engineering and advanced materials, together with its low-cost supply chain, will help cut production costs and make the taxi more affordable.

Archer plans to unveil the air vehicle early this year and start production in 2023.

Fiat Chrysler’s head of global business development, Doug Ostermann, said the partnership would bring mutual benefits and speed up the emergence of new transport options. Electrification is the future of transportation, he said, whether on land or in the air, and with any emerging technology, scale matters.

Archer is just one of many companies working on a new variety of air taxi known as eVTOLs, short for “electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft”. The dream is an eco-friendly taxi that can carry up to 12 passengers on short trips high above the traffic jams in crowded cities.

Archer, based in Palo Alto, California, says its first air taxi will be able to manage flights of up to 60 miles at a max speed of 150mph. Fiat Chrysler has contributed its expertise to the vehicle’s cockpit design.

Citing research by Morgan Stanley, Archer says the electric air-mobility market could be worth as much as $1.5 trillion by 2040.