Image above depicts simulated flight and planned operations of Archer aircraft in partnership with KakaoMobility in Seoul (Photo: Business Wire)

KakaoMobility Selects Archer Aviation As Its eVTOL Partner & Will Fund Archer’s Korean Commercialization Efforts

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Together They Will Conduct Public Flight Demonstrations As Part Of Korea’s Grand Challenge As Soon As Q4’2024

  • 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, which is a public-private joint demonstration of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft intended to build public support.
  • KakaoMobility’s consortium, which also includes LG UPlus Corp and GS E&C Corp. will participate in the Grand Challenge as one of only three consortiums to hold public demonstration flights in tandem with Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport. This participation will include, among various initiatives, public demonstration flights of Archer’s aircraft and engagement with regulators to develop certification and operational standards.
  • KakaoMobility will pay Archer $7M in 2024 as the first installment to cover early commercialization efforts in Korea, with a second installment expected in January 2025.
  • The agreement between KakaoMobility and Archer also covers the planned purchase by KakaoMobility of up to 50 of Archer’s Midnight aircraft worth up to an approximate value of $250M, with pre-delivery payments also expected in 2025 after the Grand Challenge.
  • The consortium will be working towards jointly commercializing eVTOL operations in South Korea in 2026 with KakaoMobility planning to offer its over 30M users the opportunity to travel via Archer’s electric air taxis in some of the country’s largest cities.

Archer Aviation Inc. (NYSE: ACHR), a leader in eVTOL aircraft, and KakaoMobility, Korea’s leading mobility as a service (MaaS) platform service company, signed an agreement to partner for joint participation in the K-UAM Grand Challenge and covers the planned purchase by KakaoMobility of up to 50 of Archer’s Midnight eVTOL aircraft worth up to an approximate value of $250M, including pre-delivery payments.

KakaoMobility plans to own and operate Archer’s Midnight aircraft in Korea, offering electric air taxi flights to its over 30M 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.

KakaoMobility, along with its consortium partners LG UPlus Corp. and GS E&C, have chosen Archer as their eVTOL aircraft partner to ensure they reach their goal of conducting public demonstration flights with eVTOL aircraft in the country in late 2024. KakaoMobility will pay $7M in 2024 to Archer as the first installment to help fund early commercialization efforts in Korea, with a second installment in Q1 2025.

Christopher SungWook Chang, Senior Vice President of KakaoMobility, said: “Our partnership with Archer is a leap forward for urban mobility. 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. 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.”

Archer’s Chief Commercial Officer Nikhil Goel, commented: “Archer is expanding its international launch strategy to South Korea through this landmark partnership between Archer Aviation and KakaoMobility. 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.”

The consortium’s complementary strengths gives it the ability to work collaboratively to build a comprehensive approach to integrate all-electric air taxis into South Korea’s urban transportation landscape. Starting with the K-UAM Grand Challenge, the companies intend to demonstrate how eVTOL aircraft can transform daily commutes in Korea. The collaboration will also focus on building best-in-class infrastructure, including vertiports and air traffic management systems, to ensure safe and efficient operations.

The consortium is focused on bringing electric air taxis to Korea because they can play a pivotal role in achieving a more sustainable future, contributing to South Korea’s broader goals of reducing carbon emissions and promoting green technology.

About Archer

Archer is designing and developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in urban air mobility networks. Archer’s mission is to unlock the skies, freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time. Archer’s team is based in Santa Clara, CA.

About KakaoMobility

KakaoMobility is a subsidiary of Kakao, a South Korea company that operates a diverse set of services including social networking, entertainment, finance, and gaming. KakaoMobility offers Kakao T, Korea’s leading service for taxi-hailing, designated driver booking, nearby parking space searching, and real-time traffic information.

Source: Archer


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