Hyundai-owned Supernal has expanded its ambitions in the field of advanced air mobility (AAM) with plans for a hydrogen-powered eSTOL aircraft with a 1,000 km range (620 miles) that would center on a regional air mobility network.
Supernal has targeted 2028 as an entry-into-service date for its SA-1 eVTOL aircraft (shown). The four-seat aircraft will fly on routes of around 75 km (50 miles). The company is targeting cities such as Los Angeles and Miami as early-adopter locations for its air taxi services. Today’s news is a bit different, and covers a longer-range eSTOL aircraft with an on-board hydrogen fuel cell that powers the aircraft’s electric motors and serves regional air routes between cities.
Hyundai Supernal eVTOL
Addressing the Vertical Flight Society’s Hydrogen Aero Symposium in Long Beach, California, last week, Supernal senior manager Yesh Premkumar touted Hyundai’s strength in manufacturing, while acknowledging the need better understand how to apply it to aviation, saying, “Where we can, we will gladly help and support others in terms of understanding how this can be done as well as learn the processes of certification, which is a small thing in aviation that we don’t quite understand yet.”
Premkumar offered no further details about the new eSTOL design— but he did stress that Hyundai aims to take a holistic approach to building a so-called AAM ecosystem. “We looked at multiple ways of solving the problem,” he explained, namely a short-range and a long-range aircraft.
For the short-range eVTOL model, battery power emerged as the best solution because of their existing use case in automotive. For the longer-range aircraft (and heavy-duty trucks, it should be noted), Hyundai is choosing hydrogen fuel cells to power its electric motors.
Premkumar added that infrastructure remains one of the most important considerations in the development of an AAM ecosystem, along with clarity on public policy and supply chain concerns. Forming strategic partnerships, then, is seen as imperative to meeting those challenges. “Our approach is very simple,” he said. “[To form] strategic partnerships literally across everything possible— aircraft subsystems, aircraft, airframe, design, design, integration certification, wherever we can find someone who’s good and can help us, or whom we can help.”
We think Hyundai sounds pretty serious, and they’ve been building up partnerships with Uber to build up demand and customer base while they get up to speed. Will they be successful? Scroll on down to the comments section and let us know.
SOURCE | IMAGES: HYUNDAI, VIA FUTURE FLIGHT.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. Learn more.