Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary Supernal revealed its proposed S-A2 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle on 9 January during consumer electronics show CES in Las Vegas.
The piloted, four-passenger V-tail aircraft will operate with a distributed electric propulsion system driving eight tiltrotors, Supernal says. It is designed to cruise at 104kt (193km/h) and will be optimised for flights between 40km (25mi) and 64km.
The design builds on the S-A1, which was unveiled at the same event in 2020.
Washington, DC-headqaurtered Supernal does not specify a maximum range for its aircraft, but emphasises that it is focused on “interior modularity” and the ability to replace battery modules as technology advances.
Chief executive Jaiwon Shin told FlightGlobal in October that the option of upgrading the battery pack without re-certification of the aircraft will set the SA-2 apart in a crowded field of eVTOLs.
“For the longer term I think that will be much more economical…and make it attractive to upgrade,” he said.
Like several other eVTOL developers, Supernal touts the low-noise impact of its proposed aircraft. “At entry into service, Supernal’s vehicle will operate as quietly as a dishwasher – 65dB in vertical take-off and landing phases and 45dB while cruising horizontally,” it says.
The S-A2 is designed with safety and efficiency in mind, Supernal says.
”Engineered to achieve the global commercial aviation standard of safety, it has a robust airframe structure including redundant components in critical systems such as powertrain, flight controls and avionics. The all-tilting rotor configuration will power the vehicle through both the vertical lift and horizontal cruise phases of flight with unique efficiency.”
The start-up adds that it will leverage Hyundai’s mass manufacturing capabilities when the time comes to scale production of its eVTOL, and that the company will draw on its experience designing ”smart cars”.
Supernal intends to complete a first flight with a technology demonstrator by the end of 2024 and assemble a production prototype by 2026. Assuming no delays in certification, it expects to enter the US market in 2028.