KakaoMobility selects Archer Aviation as eVTOL partner; planned purchase of 50 Midnight eVTOLs

Archer Aviation 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. The agreement and covers the planned purchase by KakaoMobility of up to 50 of Archer’s Midnight eVTOL aircraft worth up to an approximate value of $250 million, including pre-delivery payments.

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, 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 $7 million in 2024 to Archer as the first installment to help fund early commercialization efforts in Korea, with a second installment in Q1 2025.

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.

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

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