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August 27, 2021 | Democratizing the Skies: eVTOL Cost and Accessibility

Throughout history, the newest modes of travel have typically haven’t been accessible to the masses. It’s a problem that persists even today: If transportation is fast, green or innovative, it’s often not affordable for most people. New Yorkers can pay up to $1,750 to travel by helicopter from Manhattan to the airport. The cheapest electric car on the market in the United States starts at just over $27,000. Want to visit space for a few minutes? You could need as much as $450,000 to reserve your seat. Automakers and aerospace engineers have developed incredible tools to make travel easier and greener, but businesses haven’t been able to democratize those technologies for the masses. At least not yet. Archer is poised to change that, by pioneering urban air transportation that is safe, eco-friendly and cost-effective. 

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is likely to take the form of electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, better known as eVTOLs. Think of these as urban electric aircraft, like a ride-sharing service for the skies, with Archer’s planned, piloted eVTOL aiming to have space for four passengers. Unrestricted by the limitations of gridlock and maintenance required by our roadways today, Archer’s eVTOL aircraft will fly at speeds of up to 150 mph, cutting travel times from an hour-plus to mere tens of minutes.

Unlike the flying cars you imagined as a child however, eVTOLs are a more practical response aimed at relieving automotive-based traffic congestion. When Archer’s eVTOLs are ready for commercial takeoff, they’ll be stationed at vertiports in and around major urban hubs. We are partnering with developers to design vertiports that support multiple takeoffs and landings each hour, with the goal of making UAM both fast and convenient. 

We are aiming to provide our service at a price that is accessible to the everyday commuter - not just a select few. Archer is looking to achieve this by scaling operations with partners like REEF Technology which is the largest mobility hub operator in North America. Compared to a typical livery car that can make approximately ten 25-mile trips each day, the goal for Archer eVTOLs will be to make up to 25 of those same trips per day. Higher adoption rates will help bring down pricing further. 

Then there’s the matter of time. Archer passengers could complete a 25-mile trip in as little as 12 minutes of flight time, as opposed to the 60 minutes or more of drive time it could take for an automobile passenger to reach the same destination. That’s a lot of extra time that eVTOL passengers can spend exploring new places, creating memories with friends or working on big ideas. And more time is invaluable.

There’s also the bigger picture of slowing climate change. Scientists have been telling us for years that failure to reduce carbon emissions will have dire environmental and economic consequences. Archer will not only offer an alternative to using gas-guzzling cars with zero-emissions eVTOLs, but, we will also help decarbonize air travel.

There’s an oft-repeated idea that services can be “fast, good or cheap,” but you can only get two of those three qualities. Archer is working to break that mold and build a model in which urban air travel can be quick, enjoyable, and affordable. At Archer, we are big believers that urban air travel is the future of short-distance commuting and that future is just around the corner.