In what appears to be an example of healthy coopetition, Archer Aviation has bought several multimodal chargers from rival eVTOL manufacturer Beta Technologies. Beta says it has delivered two chargers to Archer’s flight test facility in Salinas, California, where Archer is conducting a flight test campaign with its four-passenger Midnight eVTOL air taxi. Both Archer and Beta are developing electric air taxis that are expected to be certified and in service by 2025.
Beta has been developing a network of charging stations in the eastern US with its proprietary Charge Cubes. The Vermont-based company already has chargers online at 14 locations and is working to install more at another 55 sites.
“Fast charging is critical to ensure rapid turnaround times between flights,” said Archer co-founder and CEO Adam Goldstein. “A widespread fast charging system is critical to ensuring electric air taxis reach scale in the coming years, and this collaboration between two industry leaders is an exciting step towards achieving that.”
Beta’s Charge Cube DC fast charger comes in two versions: the stationary unit delivers 320 kilowatts of power, which is enough to charge one of Beta’s eVTOL aircraft in under an hour. The Mini Cube is a smaller and easily portable DC fast charger with 40 kW of power output.
Both versions of Beta’s chargers use CCS plugs, and can charge electric ground support vehicles as well as aircraft.
Beta says it designed the chargers to the standards outlined in the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s recent white paper, “Interoperability of Electric Charging Infrastructure,” which most electric aircraft developers have agreed to follow. “When we designed our chargers, we saw an opportunity to support the entire sector by using an already peer-reviewed standard, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with Archer now to validate that aim,” said Beta founder and CEO Kyle Clark.
“The adoption of a unified charging standard will help promote electric aviation’s development at scale,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “Enabling electric aircraft and electric ground vehicles from different manufacturers to share charging infrastructure will help reduce the costs of electrifying existing infrastructure.”