Archer throws its hat into the ring with a 150-mph eVTOL design
A Palo Alto startup has popped up out of stealth mode to lay another eVTOL air taxi design on the growing pile. Archer proposes a transitioning, winged aircraft powered by a large lithium battery pack, and promises a 60-mile (96-km) "worst-case" range and 150-mph (240-km/h) top speed.
The aircraft has six forward rotors along its fixed wing, and according to eVTOL news, there are another six for vertical lift that aren't visible in the images. Unusually for an eVTOL startup, the company has published details on its battery pack: a meaty 143-kWh pack that Archer says will break down into 26 kWh of VTOL and hover energy, 80 kWh of high-efficiency cruise energy and a 37-kWh emergency reserve on a 60-mile (96-km) flight. That battery takes up a third of the weight of the airframe, which will seat four.
While not a ton of other information is public at this stage, this is an outfit to be taken seriously based solely upon the caliber of its team. Archer has absorbed a lot of lead talent from the closure of Airbus's Vahana program, which shut down early this year, and has also attracted serious top-level talent away from Wisk Aero and Joby Aviation. These guys have all worked on flying, transitioning eVTOL prototypes and are now starting with a clean sheet. The team currently stands 44-strong, with a modest recruitment campaign underway.
The company has set up a Silicon Valley office right next to Palo Alto airport, and promises to have an 80-percent scale demonstrator flying by 2021. The design is still currently underway. Another one to watch.