Archer Aviation CEO says Elon Musk helped

Archer Aviation CEO says Elon Musk helped

Elon Musk

Forget robotaxis. Flying taxis are on the way.

After settling a lawsuit with Boeing Aug. 10, air taxi company Archer Aviation (ACHR) announced that it would be partnering up with Boeing in order to collaborate on the development of autonomous flight technology.

The company’s stock jumped 30% in after-hours trading in response to news of the collaboration. Archer separately announced that it recently completed an equity investment round that included investments from Boeing (BA) – Get Free Report, United Airlines (UAL) – Get Free Report and long-time partner Stellantis (STLA) – Get Free Report.

Though Archer reported a net adjusted EBITDA loss of $76 million, the firm announced that it received a special Airworthiness Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“This certification signals that Archer’s Midnight aircraft has successfully met all FAA safety requirements allowing it to begin flight test operations, which Archer expects to commence in the coming weeks,” the company said in a statement.

This, CEO Adam Goldstein said, is a huge step toward the company’s goal of beginning the commercialization of its electric air taxis by 2025.

“We will begin flying pretty much daily this fall, which puts us on our path to get the certification to allow us to start taking passengers,” Goldstein told CNBC.

And although Tesla CEO Elon Musk is working on both getting to space and developing his own autonomous technology (for the acceleration of robotaxis, rather than air taxis), Goldstein doesn’t see Musk as a potential competitor in the space. Rather, he credited the billionaire for inadvertently giving the air taxi sector a boost.

“The autos have actually played a pretty significant role in the industry to date. I do think Elon actually has already helped our industry significantly, and that’s by helping to improve where lithium-ion batteries are today,” Goldstein said. “To the extent that Elon Musk or Tesla wanted to get involved, I think it could only help accelerate the industry even further.”

Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report broke ground on its new Texas-based lithium refinery in May, with the goal of producing enough lithium to build a million vehicles every year.

“Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla might actually have to get into the mining & refining directly at scale, unless costs improve,” Musk said in April 2022. “There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is almost everywhere on Earth, but pace of extraction/refinement is slow.”

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