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June 23, 2022 | Stronger With Stellantis

Throughout our journey, we’ve sought to partner with those focused, like us, on the future of sustainable mobility. In February 2021 we entered into a collaboration agreement with Stellantis. This agreement has allowed us access to Stellantis’ engineering, supply chain, and manufacturing expertise as we build out our strategy and operations in these areas.

Batteries

The key to electric mobility is undoubtedly batteries, yet batteries remain one of the largest obstacles to electric mobility innovation. Historically, battery cost has been identified as one of the most limiting factors to widespread adoption. As electric vehicle (EV) development progressed through the years, so too did the efforts to control battery costs. Scale has begun to trend pricing downward, with many pointing to exponential growth in the sector as the path to greater affordability. But while this development may benefit EV manufacturers with significantly large battery capacity requirements, other smaller mobility providers may not see similar benefits. Collaboration can make all the difference.

Our team worked closely with the battery supply-chain experts at Stellantis to expand our options for the ideal source of eVTOL batteries. Stellantis opened the doors to potential battery suppliers, and we began the conversations. We sought out suppliers that not only allow us to meet our goals for safety and durability, but also for costs that can drive accessible consumer pricing and a sustainable business model for Archer. 

NVH: The Science of Sound

Stellantis’ assistance to Archer extended beyond the supply chain, to working with us to create an exceptional experience inside our aircraft. Noise, vibration and harshness, often referred to as NVH, demand extensive development to minimize negative impacts on our passengers and Stellantis is helping us do that. 

It began with the vibration piece of the problem. Even before taking flight, our joint Stellantis and Archer teams were at work studying the vibration characteristics of the airframe. Impact hammers were used to apply force while accelerometers were used to measure the response of that force. We literally hit the airframe with a hammer and measured how that vibration traveled through the airframe into the cabin. Attention was paid to the seats, pilot displays, and more. This was done to understand which ‘paths’ transmit force most efficiently, as well as to identify the conditions that could lead to a reduction in that efficiency. The goal was to reduce the transmission of aerodynamic forces (airloads) through the aircraft structure into the cockpit, ensuring a smoother inflight experience for our passengers.

Next, the teams tackled the noise observed during the vibration testing. A speaker, referred to as the ‘source’, played white noise while pointed at the aircraft. Microphones placed on the exterior and interior of the aircraft then recorded the noise. This data allowed the teams to estimate how much noise is blocked by the fuselage, although no data specific to the individual components [of the fuselage] was provided, including wind screens and doors. If weight weren't an issue, we could simply add thick acoustic liners to the fuselage to reduce the noise, but we all know that weight is one of the most important issues for an electric aircraft. Thus, we need to apply noise treatments thoughtfully and efficiently if we are to maintain our production aircraft’s weight at targeted levels. As with vibration, it's critical to understand how each component of the fuselage contributes to the cabin noise levels. The teams accomplished this on Maker by performing a series of additional tests, adding and removing layers of acoustic treatments and measuring the results. These layers included polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for absorption and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) closed-cell foam for transmission loss. The results of these tests helped identify key areas of noise improvement for the aircraft. 

Manufacturing

Stellantis is a global leader in manufacturing and production system development, and the automaker shared its expertise in highly automated automotive production systems with our manufacturing engineering team. From Stellantis factory tours to evaluating our planned manufacturing processes, Stellantis’ manufacturing know-how has become a critical resource for our team. Together, we developed a list of ‘like processes’ which were then discussed in weekly technical deep dives sessions including processes covering automated application of sealant and adhesives, lift assist tooling for seat and windshield installation, and automated paint booth implementation. This detailed level of collaboration is key to Archer delivering on our production goals for our eVTOL aircraft.  

We continue forward on this path towards the future of air travel. We remain committed to urban air mobility that is safe, sustainable, and accessible. And with Stellantis as a partner, we are helping to lead the way for the industry.