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Archer and KakaoMobility sign partnership, deal includes up to 50 eVTOL aircraft

Archer Aviation and KakaoMobility have signed a partnership agreement that includes the planned purchase of up to 50 electric vehicle takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft by the South Korean firm. 

Under the partnership Archer Aviation and KakaoMobility, a mobility as a service (MaaS) platform service company, have agreed a joint participation in the K-UAM Grand Challenge.  

K-UAM Grand Challenge is aimed at building public support for eVTOLs through public demonstrations of the aircraft in flight from late 2024.  

KakaoMobility, along with its consortium partners LG UPlus and GS E&C, have chosen Archer as their partner to ensure they reach their goal of conducting public demonstration flights with eVTOLs. 

The Korean government has set the goal of commercializing urban air mobility in the country by the mid-2020s, and in support of that objective the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) is hosting the K-UAM Grand Challenge. 

KakaoMobility’s planned purchase of Archer’s eVTOL Midnight, is valued up to $250 million with pre-delivery payments also expected in 2025.The company plans to own and operate Archer’s Midnight aircraft in South Korea, offering electric air taxi flights to its over 30 million registered users on its Kakao T mobile app starting as early as 2026.   

KakaoMobility and Archer anticipate starting the service in Seoul, one of the most congested cities in the world, where the average commuter spends nearly 90 minutes per day stuck in traffic. 

‘Commitment to transforming the daily commute’

“Our partnership with Archer is a leap forward for urban mobility,” Christopher SungWook Chang, Senior Vice President of KakaoMobility, said. “We can’t wait to debut Archer’s Midnight Aircraft at the K-UAM Grand Challenge in 2024 as a commitment to transforming the daily commute for millions of Kakao T users.” 

He added: “The vision is clear – reduce the hours lost in traffic and elevate everyday travel with an electric air taxi service that features Archer’s Midnight aircraft.” 

KakaoMobility will pay Archer $7 million in 2024 as the first installment to help fund early commercialization efforts in Korea, with a second installment in Quarter 1 of 2025.   

Under the partnership Archer will also engage with regulators to develop certification and operational standards. 

“Archer is expanding its international launch strategy to South Korea through this landmark partnership between Archer Aviation and KakaoMobility,” Archer’s Chief Commercial Officer Nikhil Goel, said. “Together, we are committed to revolutionizing transportation with Archer’s eVTOL aircraft, ushering in a future of cleaner, faster, and more efficient travel between and within Korean cities.” 

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