American company Archer Aviation unveiled its first electric flying taxi ‘Maker’ in a Tesla-style debut in California on Thursday night.
The ‘Maker’ two-seater taxi is capable of travelling for 60 miles at 150mph across cities, the company’s CEO has said, with its commercial launch expected in 2024.
The unveiling comes as an increasing number of investors and aviation companies pile into the hot but yet-to-be-approved urban air mobility space, but the vehicle has not yet been shown in the air.
Interest in zero-emission aircraft that take off and land like helicopters but fly like planes is growing as aerospace companies look for new markets and face pressure to help decarbonize their industry though the battery-operated vehicles.
Maker’s debut, staged at a hangar using XR technology to simulate a ride with guests including ‘Breaking Bad’ actor Aaron Paul, followed news on Thursday of two separate deals involving electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft companies based in Britain and Brazil.
Archer’s aircraft does not yet fly commercially but it mounted an extravagant show under a new chief creative officer who has decades of experience in experiential design and television production, Kenny Taht, to attract attention.
Archer Aviation unveiled its first electric flying taxi ‘Maker’ in a Tesla-style debut on Thursday. Pictured: Actor Aaron Paul (right) sits inside the Archer Aviation Maker on June 10, 2021 in Hawthorne, California
Archer expects Maker’s commercial launch in 2024 in Los Angeles and Miami and is in the process of certifying the piloted four-passenger aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration, co-founder and co-CEO Brett Adcock told Reuters.
‘Our real goal is to make a mass market transportation solution in and around cities,’ Adcock said.
The taxis can fly at 150 miles per hour (240 km per hour) for distances up to 60 miles (100km) at an entry level price between $3 and $4 per passenger mile.
In New York City for example, the 17-mile trip from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Manhattan would cost $50 to $70 and take around five to seven minutes versus 60 to 90 minutes in a car.
The vehicle has 12 electric motors powered by six independent battery packs, and the aircraft is 100 times quieter than a helicopter when its at altitude, generating just 45 decibels, Adcock has said.
‘Here at Archer we’re working on a project that has the potential to help curb carbon emissions which is important, has the potential to help fix traffic problems because even if we have electric cars on the ground we’re not fixing the problems in cities about getting around,’ said Adcock in an interview.
The Archer Maker is a full-scale electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), designed to be capable of traveling 60 miles at 150 mph to provide sustainable urban air mobility in cities. Pictured: The aircraft is unveiled d on June 10, 2021 in Hawthorne, California
Interest in zero-emission aircraft that take off and land like helicopters but fly like planes is growing as aerospace companies look for new markets and face pressure to help decarbonize their industry though the battery-operated vehicles. Actor Aaron Paul (right) sits inside the Archer Aviation Maker on June 10, 2021 in Hawthorne, California