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Tue, Apr 02, 2024

Archer Completes Battery Pack Drop Testing

"One of the Most Challenging Tests" Out of the Way En Route to Certification

Archer Aviation announced the successful completion of testing on its battery packs, evaluating their ability to withstand drops without failure and rupture.

The test saw their Midnight aircraft's batteries dropped at various charge states, from totally dead to 100% from a 50-foot height. Archer reports that they all tanked the hits just fine, and continued to function properly. The test was expected to be one of the most challenging of the battery of tests used to winnow out weaknesses of aircraft, and Archer sounds relieved to have it in the rear view.

It's been fun to see the greater public slowly learn about the nigh impossibility of putting out a lithium battery fire as electric cars become a norm - in many cases, the responding fire departments have little more they can do than to drag the flaming carcass out of the lot and let them burn themselves out. For aircraft, that makes it doubly important to ensure they can take some pretty brutal hits without rupturing their cells - John Q. Public is excited for the wave of eVTOL rideshare aircraft, but that will dampen considerably if that comes along with the risk of a couple thousand pounds of molten battery being dropped on his head at any time. Archer's aim is to replace 1 to 1.5-hour automotive commutes with the Midnight, which would make the same jaunt in less than 20 minutes by air. The battery packs are key to making that plan come to fruition, and they'll be used in a pretty consistent cycle of full charge, discharge, swap, recharge, and so on until they're replaced by the next unit.

"Successfully passing the battery pack drop tests marks a pivotal moment that paves the way for future 'for credit' certification testing with the FAA," said Alex Clarabut, Archer's Battery Lead. "This accomplishment highlights our dedication to not just meeting, but exceeding safety standards. It is a critical step towards our goal of ensuring that Midnight will be among the safest aircraft in the skies. It's a testament to our team's relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence, and we're thrilled with the results that the battery packs not only passed the test, but still functioned properly afterward."

FMI: www.archer.com

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