Supernal LLC Unveils New Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Vehicle Concept, S-A2, for Affordable Air Travel

Supernal LLC Unveils New Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Vehicle Concept, S-A2, for Affordable Air Travel

Supernal LLC, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) company, has unveiled its latest electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle concept, the S-A2. This pilot-plus-four-passenger vehicle is designed to provide safe, efficient, and affordable air travel for everyday passengers.

Building on the success of its previous concept, the S-A1, which was unveiled at CES 2020, the S-A2 combines innovative aerospace engineering with Hyundai Motor Group’s automotive aesthetic design to create a new mode of transportation for urban areas. Supernal aims to achieve commercial aviation safety levels and make its vehicles affordable for manufacturing as it prepares 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.”

Technical Components

The S-A2 is an aircraft designed with a V-tail, capable of cruising at 120 miles-per-hour at a 1,500-foot altitude. It has been created to fulfill the requirements of typical city operations, with an initial focus on 25- to 40-mile trips. The vehicle is equipped with eight all-tilting rotors and features a distributed electric propulsion architecture. Upon entry into service, it is expected to operate as quietly as a dishwasher, with noise levels of 65 dB during vertical take-off and landing phases and 45 dB while cruising horizontally.

The primary focus during the design of the S-A2 has been on safety, sustainability, and passenger comfort. The vehicle meets the global commercial aviation standard of safety, with a robust airframe structure that includes redundant components in critical systems such as powertrain, flight controls, and avionics. The all-tilting rotor configuration will enable the vehicle to power through both vertical-lift and horizontal-cruise phases of flight with unique efficiency. In addition, the vehicle will be manufactured using Hyundai’s mass production capability to deliver superior quality while also being cost-effective.

“Supernal’s product concept vehicle is the result of the creativity and hard work of our world-class team. S-A2 is designed to take full advantage of emerging electric powertrain advancements that will define the next generation of aviation,” said Ben Diachun, chief technology officer, Supernal. “From here, we will develop this concept into a revolutionary commercial product.”

Supernal is optimizing its vehicle for certification, mass production, and expanded use cases. The company is focusing on interior modularity and battery upgradability, allowing for the replacement of battery modules as technology advances.

Aesthetic Design

Supernal’s engineering teams have collaborated with Hyundai Motor Group’s automotive designers to enhance the aesthetics of the S-A2 vehicle. The design focuses on blending functionality with style to create an attractive AAM passenger experience. The vehicle features different color palettes and materials to distinguish between pilot and passenger sections. Aviation-grade, energy-absorbing components are integrated into the seat frames, contributing to the overall clean, minimalist design. Additionally, lighting transitions throughout the phases of flight create visual cues, such as entry and exit points, and make the cabin feel more spacious.

“S-A2 is a true representation of ‘auto meets aero.’ 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 maximizes passenger experience and safety,” said Luc Donckerwolke, president, chief design officer and chief creative officer, Hyundai Motor Group.

Drawing on experience designing efficient “smart cars” and award-winning electric vehicles, Hyundai Motor Group incorporated passenger experience and design best-practices into S-A2.

Supernal at CES 2024

The S-A2 is currently being displayed at the Supernal Vertiport exhibition located in the Diamond parking lot beside the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This exhibition showcases Supernal’s holistic vision for AAM by placing the S-A2 in an operational setting. Visitors have the opportunity to see the vehicle product concept, take a simulated flight above the city of Los Angeles, learn about potential flight networks, and understand how vertiports and other transportation modes will create quicker and easier metropolitan journeys.

Vertiports play a crucial role in AAM commercialization as they serve as the origin, transfer and destination points for eVTOL aircraft operations and existing modes of transportation. Quiet electric flight makes it possible for vertiports to be located in cities, at airports, and other places, seamlessly integrating with existing transit options. Combined with air traffic control improvements and advanced micro-weather forecasting, the S-A2 and vertiports will facilitate mobility much beyond what existing and projected ground infrastructure can deliver.