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November 10, 2021

Hyundai Motor Group plans eVTOL for 2028 launch

Ambitious plans are taking shape for a family of electric air vehicles to serve a new high value niche market, but there is a long way to go.

By David Leggett

Supernal, an evolution of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Urban Air Mobility Division, is developing an eVTOL (electric vertical take off and landing) vehicle for 2028 entry-into-service and convening diverse stakeholders to ‘responsibly shape the Advanced Air Mobility market’.

Hyundai said Supernal will use the company’s scaled manufacturing, and mobility technologies and innovations to ‘revolutionize air travel’.

Supernal will take mobility to the next dimension, with an aim to offer seamlessly integrated intermodal mobility solutions, the company said.

Supernal is developing a ‘family of electric air vehicles’ and convening public and private stakeholders to responsibly shape the emerging Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry. It plans to launch its first commercial flight in 2028 and scale operations, leveraging the group’s manufacturing expertise, as the AAM market and public acceptance begin to grow in the 2030s.

“In adding a new dimension to mobility, we are on a mission to transform how people and society move, connect, and live,” said Jaiwon Shin, Chief Executive Officer of Supernal and President, of Hyundai Motor Group. “We have bold ambitions at Supernal but being first to market is not one of them. We are working to build the right product and the right integrated market, and we will leverage Hyundai Motor Group’s scaled manufacturing expertise to ensure AAM reaches the right price point and is accessible to the masses.”

Supernal plans to begin certification with U.S. regulatory agencies for its first eVTOL craft in 2024. Supernal’s first air vehicle will be electric-powered and autonomous-capable and is planned to accommodate four to five passengers on initial urban and urban-adjacent routes.

“We’re developing a commercially viable Advanced Air Mobility product from the start, designing and manufacturing our vehicle to the highest safety, noise, efficiency, and affordability standards,” said Ben Diachun, Chief Technology Officer, Supernal. “Our growing team, which includes veterans of aerospace, automotive, and other deep-tech industries, is engineering sustainable vehicles that have the potential to evolve how we live, work, and play.”

The company is leveraging advanced technologies, systems, and airframe materials – including artificial intelligence, autonomous control, and electric powertrain – to develop its vehicles and will harness the Group’s mass production capabilities to scale production, affordably. Supernal is also establishing a bench of academic partners to expand the AAM industry’s research frontier and talent pipeline.

Developing and integrating a new mobility market

In tandem with its electric air vehicle development, Supernal is working to co-create the AAM industry and supporting ecosystem by collaborating with a variety of stakeholders – across public and private entities, other modes of mobility, academia, and startups – to address market entry challenges, cultivate public acceptance, and ensure AAM is economically accessible and environmentally sustainable.

“As an industry disruptor, we have a responsibility to ensure AAM integrates with and augments existing transit options and effectively serves local community needs. Developing the market – from the vehicle to critical infrastructure networks and public acceptance – takes thoughtful and strategic coordination; everything needs to align at the same time for AAM to reach its full promise,” Shin said.

With this aim, Supernal is forging partnerships at the local and state level across the United States. Last year, the company launched a partnership with the City of Los Angeles and Urban Movement Labs to develop a public engagement roadmap and policy toolkit other cities and municipalities can use to inform their AAM efforts and timelines. Supernal also serves as an industry resource for policymakers interested in understanding how AAM can address their communities’ transportation needs.

At the national and international level, Supernal is collaborating with stakeholders to explore concepts for physical and digital infrastructure. Last year, the company entered a partnership with Urban-Air Port, a participant in the U.K. government’s Future Flight Challenge, to explore new, multifunctional and scalable AAM infrastructure and will showcase a full-scale “vertiport” prototype in the United Kingdom next year. Supernal is also supporting CAAM (the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium) in developing a framework for the Canadian AAM National Master Plan. Additionally, the company recently announced the expansion of its Airspace Management Consortium, which is working to shape a concept of operations for the consideration of policymakers.

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