Updated January 12th, 2024 at 16:15 IST

CES 2024: Hyundai's flying electric taxi to take off in 2028

The automaker's air mobility arm, Supernal, unveiled Supernal S-A2, an electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft

Reported by: Business Desk
Hyundai's electric taxi | Image:Hyundai Motor Group
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Air taxi: Hyundai Motor Group has announced plans to put its new S-A2 aircraft into production in 2028 during CES 2024, a large-scale trade event held in Las Vegas.

The development came ahead of expectations of a massive rise in electric aircraft demand, as an alternative to taxis in cities, the company said.

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The automaker's air mobility arm, Supernal, unveiled Supernal S-A2, an electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, as a  follow-up to the S-A1 first shown in 2020.

Image credit: Hyundai Motor Group 

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The electric-powered.air-taxi has a capacity of five passengers, including the pilot.

The Supernal project has been led by Hyundai President Jaiwon Shin, who spent most of his career at NASA.

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Shin said that projections of the aviation industry show that there is set to be a huge expansion of eVTOL aircraft in the future, as alternatives to taxis, according to media reports.

The market could need 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, as per an Auto Car India report.

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The South Korean-carmaker Hyundai has been aggressively pursuing air taxis, having spent around $1 billion on Supernal since its founding two years ago, according to a Bloomberg report.

Image credit: Hyundai Motor Group 

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Technical nitigrities

The S-A2’s USP is electrically-powered to ensure that it is quieter than traditional helicopters and light aircraft.

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Supernal states it as being as quiet as a dishwasher, at 65dB during vertical take-off and 45dB when cruising. It can cruise at 192kph and at altitudes of up to 1,500ft.

The new air-taxi is designed for shorter routes between 40-65km, and uses eight tilting rotors.

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The world's third largest automaker Supernal could equip the S-A2 with hydrogen fuel cell technology in future generations, as per the company.

The styling bit for the S-A2 has been led by Hyundai Group’s Design Chief, Luc Donckerwolke, who talks about it as “auto meets aero”.

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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.

Flight tests for the same will commence in 2025, while pre-production vehicles would undergo tests in 2026 and 2027.

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Published January 12th, 2024 at 16:14 IST