Cadillac and FCA Betting on Future of Mobility Being Up in the Air
Flying cars have, for decades, been a science-fiction staple and part of the chatter about transportation of the future.
Over the past few years, that chatter has morphed into something a bit more concrete, with several major companies from the manufacturing, logistics and transportation sectors, as well as a host of start-up and smaller research firms, all giving the idea some serious thought and putting their money into developing concepts and working prototypes.
The idea of short-distance, city-centric air travel has evolved in step with developing concepts regarding mobility, and the idea of flight in an urban setting now includes Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) ‘air taxis’ – electric aircraft that ditch the on-road driving part in favour of delivering short-hop flights across and between ‘smart’ towns and cities of the future.
Whether they are true flying cars or VTOL air taxis, the idea of using flight as a means of getting about town has staying power, and at this year’s CES, both FCA (or Stellantis, as it is now known following its merger with PSA Group) and General Motors (under its Cadillac brand), revealed their interest in the area.
FCA announced an agreement with the California-based company Archer, which is developing an electric VTOL aircraft, while Cadillac announced it too was developing an electric passenger aircraft concept.
Cadillac’s effort, a luxury, single-passenger electric VTOL drone, is designed for a speedy (up to 90km/h) commute from roof top to roof top.
FCA’s agreement with Archer will see the manufacturing of Archer’s electric VTOL aircraft – a 240km/h small multi-passenger aircraft with a range of about 100km.
Archer said the partnership will see the companies work on significantly reducing costs of production, making the end-product more affordable, and that it will look to start production in 2023.
Image: Cadillac eVTOL
9 February 2021