Hyundai unveils S-A2 electric air taxi at CES 2024, says electric air taxi business will launch in 2028

Flying cars have always captured humankind’s imagination. Originally a thing in sci-fi, several real-world concepts have come to light during the 20th and 21st century. And while we are yet to see a commercially viable real-world ‘flying car’, that hasn’t stopped automakers to continue pushing the concept and see if a viable product can be drawn out. One such automaker is Hyundai, which is trying its hands into the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) space.

The Korean auto giant took a significant step forward with the unveiling of Supernal’s latest eVTOL prototype, the S-A2, at CES 2024. This prototype is a follow-up to the S-A1 introduced in 2020.

While the air taxi industry, once touted with optimism, faces challenges—Uber’s air taxi network has been sold, and commercial services struggle to materialize—Hyundai remains undeterred. Supernal, Hyundai’s eVTOL division, presents the S-A2 as a “product concept” slated for production by 2028. Supernal’s S-A2 boasts impressive specifications, designed for urban air mobility with a cruise speed of 120mph and an altitude capability of 1,500 feet. The electric aircraft is configured to accommodate short-distance trips of 25 to 40 miles—typical of routes between downtown areas and airports, catering to the needs of affluent business travelers.

“From the beginning, Supernal has been on a mission to create the right product and the right market at the right time,” said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. “The unveiling of S-A2 demonstrates our unwavering commitment to deliver on that mission with a safe, efficient vehicle design that provides a clear path to market entry. By leveraging our talented 600-person team, the vast technical and business capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and trusted aviation suppliers around the world, Supernal is ready to deliver a new era of flight.”

The design focuses on minimizing noise pollution, a common concern with traditional helicopters. Supernal claims the S-A2 will “operate as quietly as a dishwasher,” emitting 65 decibels during vertical takeoff and landing and reducing to 45 decibels during horizontal cruising. In comparison, helicopters generate between 96 and 107 decibels. The S-A2 features an innovative design with eight tilt rotors and an egg-shaped cabin, resembling prototypes from other industry players like Joby Aviation, Wisk Aero, and Archer Aviation. Supernal, however, emphasizes its commitment to revolutionizing air mobility, with Hyundai’s design chief Luc Donckerwolke describing the S-A2 as “auto meets aero.”


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