Hyundai aircraft arm unveils flying taxi for 2028 Car News

Hyundai’s air mobility arm Supernal plans to put its new S-A2 aircraft into production in 2028 ahead of what it expects to be a huge increase in demand for electric aircraft as an alternative to taxis in cities.

The Supernal S-A2, described as an electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, has been unveiled at CES in Las Vegas and is a follow up to the S-A1 first shown in 2020. It can seat up to five people including the pilot and is electric powered.

The styling of the S-A2 has been led by Hyundai group’s design chief Luc Donckerwolke and is described by the designer as “auto meets aero”.

The S-A2 is the latest expansion from the group beyond passenger cars, something also seen at CES by the group with the launch of Kia’s new commercial vehicle division.

The Supernal project has been led by Hyundai president Jaiwon Shin, who spent most of his career at NASA. Shin said that projections aviation industry show that there is set to be a huge expansion of eVTOL aircraft in the future, as alternatives to taxis. The market is potentially “hundreds of thousands” of aircraft of this type, compared to a total global commercial aircraft fleet today of no more than 30,000 units.

“Nobody knows yet but with the convenience, time saving and safety, people will start using these mobility options,” Shin told Autocar. “We need to be ready to meet the demand of hundreds of thousands of aircraft. We don’t know how many it will be, but this is what the aviation industry is forecasting and the advantage we have in mass production capability in the group.”

The last point is what Shin sees as a huge advantage for the Hyundai group in going into aviation: its experience of mass production of vehicles. “Traditional aviation is complex and with lots touch labour, so manufacturing is hard to compare [to automotive],” said Shin.

“How can we leverage the automotive side of mass production to aviation?” To that end, Supernal was working with the automotive division on manufacturing, as well as battery and powertrain technology and the wider Hyundai design team.

Supernal S-A2 at CES – front-right quarter

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This notice was published: 2024-01-09 20:52:17

By Auto Car

Coach is a weekly British motoring magazine published by Haymarket Media Group. First published in 1895, it bills itself as "the world's oldest automotive magazine."

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