Hyundai plans to establish plant in US for production of Flying Electric Taxis

Krishtina D'Silva Posted on: 2023-11-09 07:20:00 Viewer: 1,835 Comments: 0 Country: United States City: Airway Heights

Hyundai plans to establish plant in US for production of Flying Electric Taxis (Representative Image)

Washington DC, United States (Urban Transport News): In a groundbreaking move, Hyundai Motor Group, ranked as the world’s third-largest automaker by sales, has revealed intentions to construct a facility in the United States. This plant will serve as the manufacturing hub for the company's air mobility division, Supernal, dedicated to the production of innovative flying electric taxis aimed at transforming the future of commuter travel.

A prototype of the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) craft is slated to debut at the renowned Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas come January, as announced by Supernal's Chief Executive Officer, Shin Jaiwon.

The envisioned eVTOL taxis boast a capacity for one pilot and four passengers, capable of reaching speeds of 120 miles per hour (190 kph). While a test flight is scheduled for December 2024, the ambitious plan is to initiate commercial services four years later, as Shin revealed in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg News in Singapore this week.

The major hurdle in the development of electric air mobility remains the challenge of advanced battery technology, which accounts for up to 40% of an eVTOL craft's overall weight, according to Shin. Addressing this concern remains pivotal for the successful implementation of these revolutionary modes of transportation.

Supernal's collaboration with the Washington, DC-based firm will involve the submission of an application to the US Federal Aviation Administration in the forthcoming months for eVTOL certification. Considering the nascent stage of the industry, Shin stressed the necessity for close cooperation between companies and regulatory bodies to establish standardized protocols and frameworks.

Supernal's recent endeavors include the establishment of engineering headquarters in Irvine, California, and a research and development facility in Fremont, reflecting the company's rapid expansion. With a workforce that has doubled in size, currently comprising nearly 600 employees, Supernal is actively recruiting individuals from renowned entities such as Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., and Tesla Inc. to bolster its innovative team.

With Hyundai, Kia, and Hyundai Mobis Co. having collectively invested approximately 1.2 trillion won ($920 million) into Supernal since its inception two years ago, the company is firmly positioned to spearhead the transformative advancements in the air mobility sector. While no immediate plans for an initial public offering (IPO) are in place, Supernal continues to secure robust financial backing from Hyundai to fuel its pioneering ventures.

In addition to its strategic partnership with Korean Air, Supernal remains committed to exploring air mobility solutions tailored to the South Korean market. The introduction of vertical mobility vehicles for cargo transportation is anticipated to pave the way for the gradual integration of passenger services.

With urbanization rapidly intensifying on a global scale, Supernal envisions a swift transition toward the adoption of eVTOL taxis, akin to the widespread acceptance of mobile phones and elevators. Leveraging Hyundai's extensive mass-production expertise, Supernal is poised to meet the escalating demand for alternative public transportation solutions, as the world braces for unprecedented urban growth in the coming decade. With targeted efforts focused on overcoming remaining technological and regulatory challenges, the projected commercial launch in 2028 signifies an optimal timeline for the widespread deployment of these cutting-edge air mobility solutions.

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