Tech | Visa | Scholarship/School | Info Place

Archer partners with Kakao Mobility to bring electric air taxis to South Korea by 2026

If the company can develop the aircraft in time, Archer Aviation will partner with ride-hailing and parking company Kakao Mobility to bring electric air taxi flights to South Korea starting in 2026.

The expansion into South Korea is part of an international strategy, and Archer will also launch commercial products in the UAE and India in the same year. Rival Joby Aviation has also partnered with SK Telecom and UT (a joint venture between Uber and T Map Mobility that integrates air and land transportation) to target the South Korean market.

Under the terms of Archer’s latest deal, Kakao Mobility plans to own and operate Archer’s Midnight electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to provide an air taxi service to the more than 30 million registered users on its Kakao T mobile app, starting in Seoul.

Archer said the Midnight Plane has a range of 100 miles and is designed for urban environments where the average range is about 20 miles. The aircraft is expected to have a payload of more than 1,000 pounds and can carry four passengers in addition to the pilot. However, the aircraft is still under development and has not yet been certified by the FAA.

“Our vision is clear: to provide electric air taxi services using Archer’s Midnight aircraft, reduce time wasted in traffic congestion and enhance the daily mobility experience,” Christopher SungWook Chang, senior vice president of Kakao Mobility, said in a statement.

Kakao previously signed a similar agreement with British eVTOL startup Vertical Aerospace. TechCrunch asked both companies for information on whether the agreement is still valid, but neither company responded.

Kakao and Archer are also jointly participating in the K-UAM (Korea Urban Air Mobility) Grand Challenge, a South Korean government-led initiative to develop and test UAM commercial technologies that can solve problems such as traffic congestion and air pollution. The challenge will culminate in Archer’s aircraft being publicly displayed in Korea by the end of 2024.

To help Archer with its early commercialization efforts in South Korea, Kakao provided the company with $7 million this year, with a second tranche of funding planned for the first quarter of 2025.

Overall, Kakao has agreed to purchase up to 50 Midnight aircraft, valued at about $250 million, including pre-delivery payments. Archer did not provide more details on when the full 50-aircraft order (or even the first few) will be completed. The startup-turned-SPAC has a deal with automaker Stellantis to mass-produce its eVTOLs and grant the company up to $150 million in additional capital. Still, Archer is responsible for all expenses associated with the partnership.

Archer spent $83.5 million on research and development in the first quarter of 2024. The company has lost about $807.4 million since its founding, according to regulatory filings. Those losses will only continue to grow as Archer plans to deliver vehicles and build out an air taxi network over the next few years (which won’t be profitable for some time).

Archer also revealed plans to launch an air taxi service in Miami and San Francisco in 2025 in partnership with United Airlines and fixed-base operator Atlantic Airways, but the company has yet to provide TechCrunch with an update on the rollout of those plans.

#Archer #partners #Kakao #Mobility #bring #electric #air #taxis #South #Korea

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *