Hyundai has repeatedly stated its intention to get seriously involved in the development of next-generation aviation. Last year it established a subsidiary, Supernal, to manufacture vertical take-off aircraft (eVTOL). At the recent H2 Aero event hosted by the Vertical Flight Society, Hyundai announced its intention to expand its air transport program with hydrogen fuel cell aircraft.
Hyundai (and its Kia) and Toyota are leaders in the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle industry. While a significant part of the world favors battery solutions, Japan and South Korea are building a “hydrogen economy”. Companies have already developed and produced tens of thousands of hydrogen fuel cell power plant electric vehicles, and now Hyundai (Supernal) intends to project its experience to the small aircraft market. The company has already announced its intention to become a serious player in the aviation market. During H2 Aero, their spokesperson announced their intention to look for partners experienced in the field as the company needs more specific aviation experience.
Supernal has already shared information about its intention to produce battery-powered electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for urban use. However, eVTOLs are not typically designed for flights over 120 km at the regional level. That is why new solutions are required. T. n. eSTOL – Electric vehicles for short take-offs and landings, capable of flying distances of 200-1000 km and even further, and can serve as a replacement for less environmentally friendly air transport. At the same time, in comparison with eVTOL, “roof-to-roof jumping” is not provided – you will have to use small, but special platforms with runways.
Hyundai says hydrogen fuel cells are ready for commercial use, so the problem isn’t with the batteries themselves — solutions need to be developed to enable such technologies to be used in aviation. According to the company, the company produces around 10,000 hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles every year.
According to preliminary calculations, Supernal eVTOL devices will be ready for commercial use by 2028 and eSTOL by 2030. At the same time, the company notes that the market should be ready for commercialization – this requires an already prepared infrastructure.