Hyundai Motor Group has publicly announced its urban air mobility division, Supernal, this week. The division will be based on Washington DC and is tasked with bringing an eVTOL product to market with public and private stakeholders.
“In adding a new dimension to mobility, we are on a mission to transform how people and society move, connect, and live,” said Jaiwon Shin, chief executive officer of Supernal and president of Hyundai Motor Group, in a press release.
Supernal has made its intentions clear, they will not be the first to market. Instead, the company is targeting a conservative 2028 for first commercial flight of its eVTOL prototype. In doing so, Supernal hopes to take on lessons from eVTOL companies with early success and find winning configurations.
“We are working to build the right product and the right integrated market, and we will leverage Hyundai Motor Group’s scaled manufacturing expertise to ensure AAM reaches the right price point and is accessible to the masses,” Shin said.
Hyundai has been no stranger to the aerial mobility space. Since 2019, the company has been working on concept vehicles and hopes to begin pursuing US certification in 2024. Currently, the leading prototype is S-A1 which will be all-electric, autonomous, and capable of accommodating four to five passengers.
The company is also making strides in the supporting verticals for eVTOL technology. They envision an entire ecosystem which will integrate aerial mobility into existing transportation networks. Last year, Hyundai partnered with the city of Los Angeles and Urban Movement Labs to lay the foundation for a model policy toolkit and vision for engagement with the public sector.
“We have a responsibility to ensure AAM integrates with and augments existing transit options and effectively serves local community needs,” Shin said. “Developing the market — from the vehicle to critical infrastructure networks and public acceptance — takes thoughtful and strategic coordination. Everything needs to align at the same time for AAM to reach its full promise.”
Why it matters: Hyundai spinning off its aerial mobility industry into the United States and taking a conservative go-to-market strategy shows where its priorities lie. The company is strategically allowing other companies to enter first, in order to determine winning approaches by observing initial entrants. This strategy has been used in other industries such as electric ground-based vehicles, where major name brand manufacturers are now starting to release commercial products in emerging markets years after the initial entrants. Expect more news as Supernal pursues certification and takes on the crowding aerial mobility space.