Supernal – Hyundai Motor Group’s advanced air mobility (AAM) company – unveiled S-A2, its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle product concept at CES 2024 on 9 January. The vehicle accommodates a pilot and four passengers.
S-A2 builds on the company’s vision concept, S-A1, which it debuted at CES 2020. Supernal is preparing its vehicle to enter the market in 2028.
“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.”
S-A2 is a V-tail aircraft designed to cruise 120mph at a 1,500ft altitude to meet typical city operation needs of 25- to 40-mile trips, initially. It features a distributed electric propulsion architecture and has eight all-tilting rotors. Supernal said that at entry into service, its vehicle will operate as quietly as a dishwasher: 65dB in vertical take-off and landing phases and 45dB while cruising horizontally.
The vehicle is designed with a priority on safety and a focus on sustainability and passenger comfort. Supernal shared it is engineered to achieve the global commercial aviation standard of safety, with a robust airframe structure including redundant components in critical systems such as powertrain, flight controls and avionics. The all-tilting rotor configuration is intended to power the vehicle through both the vertical-lift and horizontal-cruise phases of flight with marked efficiency.
“Supernal’s product concept vehicle is the result of the creativity and hard work of our world-class team,” said Ben Diachun, chief technology officer, Supernal. “S-A2 is designed to take full advantage of emerging electric powertrain advancements that will define the next generation of aviation. From here, we will develop this concept into a revolutionary commercial product.”
As Supernal continues to optimise its vehicle for certification, mass production and expanded use cases, the company is also focused on interior modularity and battery upgradability. This includes the ability to replace the battery module as technology advances.
Supernal’s engineering teams partnered with Hyundai Motor Group’s automotive designers on S-A2’s aesthetics. Different colour palettes and materials delineate distinct pilot and passenger sections of the vehicle. Aviation-grade, energy-absorbing components are integrated into the seat frames, and are intended to contribute to an overall clean, minimalist design. There will be lighting transitions throughout phases of flight to allow the cabin to feel larger and to provide visual cues, such as where to enter and exit the vehicle.
“S-A2 is a true representation of ‘auto meets aero’,” said Luc Donckerwolke, president, chief design officer and chief creative officer, Hyundai Motor Group. He added that the endeavour was “drawing on the competence of Supernal’s top aerospace engineers and Hyundai Motor Group’s world-renowned automotive designers to create human-centric design that maximises passenger experience and safety”.