Two of the more prominent developers in electric aircraft – BETA Technologies and Archer Aviation have announced they are collaborating to help roll out an interoperable charging network to support a multitude of electric vehicles.
If you follow any of our eVTOL coverage, you probably recognize both Archer Aviation ($ACHR) and BETA Technologies, as both electric aircraft and charging developers have hit some major milestones in the past year.
BETA’s ALIA electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) aircraft completed a flight milestone of its own in October, traveling 2,000 miles from the company’s headquarters in Vermont, across 12 states down to Florida, where the US Air Force is now validating its vital use cases like critical resupply, cargo deliveries, and personnel transport.
In addition to eVTOL and eCTOL aircraft, BETA Technologies also develops its own charging technology and already has 14 stations online in the US, with 55 additional sites already in development or construction.
Through today’s latest collaboration, Archer intends to implement BETA’s electric aircraft charging technology to support its own eVTOL lineup, helping grow a universal network for all zero-emissions vehicles.
Archer adopts BETA’s electric aircraft charging and beyond
The electric aircraft and charging developers shared a joint release today, outlining what they are hailing as an “industry-first agreement” to roll out an interoperable fast-charging network across the zero-emissions aviation segment.
The collaboration comes after the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) published a report in September titled “Interoperability of Electric Charging Infrastructure,” concluding that shared charging infrastructure offers numerous benefits over multiple proprietary protocols developed by OEMs. We’re seeing something similar happen in the North American passenger EV market as OEMs are gravitating toward NACS.
To date, all of BETA’s charging infrastructure has lined the East Coast, but following its collaboration with Archer, electric aircraft charging is moving west. To begin, Archer will implement two of BETA’s Charge Cube systems (seen above) at its test facilities in California, as well as multiple Mini Cube mobile chargers deployed as needed. Archer’s SVP of powertrain, Dr. Michael Schwekutsch, spoke to the collaboration with BETA and what it means for the future of the industry:
During my time as the VP of Powertrain Engineering at Tesla it was well understood that having a widely accessible, fast-charger network was key to driving the adoption of EVs, and the same is true for eVTOLs, and that’s why we are so excited to collaborate with BETA to build out the charging network for our electric air taxis.
This industry-first agreement shows excellent foresight from both companies, especially BETA Technologies, which has been developing electric aircraft charging technology for years in anticipation of a new widespread mobility segment. BETA founder and CEO Kyle Clark elaborated:
Over the past decade, transportation has shifted toward electric and now we’re seeing resonance and viability for aviation to do the same. A backbone of reliable, fast and accessible infrastructure will be critical to enabling this technology, which is why we’ve been focused on building out a charging network alongside our aircraft for some time now. 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.
Looking ahead, BETA Technologies will continue working to install its charging infrastructure around the US, which now includes the systems at Archer’s facilities mentioned above.
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