Hyundai Motor, Rolls-Royce team up for air mobility
Published : Jul 19, 2022 - 17:12
Updated : Jul 19, 2022 - 17:12
Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East (left) and Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun pose for a photo at Supernal’s booth at Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire, England on Tuesday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Group said Tuesday that it would collaborate with global aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce to deliver all-electric propulsion and hydrogen fuel cell technology for advanced air mobility (AAM).

AAM is a future mobility concept that integrates transformational aircraft design and flying tech. It has been the Korean carmaker’s recent focus for future mobility business. It created Supernal, an AAM-dedicated company based in US, last year. 

According to Hyundai Motor Group, the partnership with Rolls-Royce will enhance the carmaker’s hydrogen fuel cell technologies and commercialization capability, by leveraging the British firm’s expertise in aero-engine manufacturing.

The two firms met at the 2022 Farnborough Airshow which kicked off Monday in the UK. Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun was present at the partnership ceremony. Chung also met with executives from global aviation companies like Boeing, the company said. 

Under the agreement, the two companies will collaborate on technology development, such as building an electric propulsion system based on hydrogen fuel cells as an energy source for Hyundai’s regional air mobility models.

According to the company, using a hydrogen fuel cell system in an all-electric aircraft propulsion system is significant as it makes zero emissions, no noise and has a reliable on-board power source that enables scalability in power offerings as well as long distance flight range. 

They will also deliver a demonstration of a jointly built fuel-cell electric aircraft by 2025. 

Such an agreement comes as both companies share a vision of leading the way in the AAM market delivering battery-electric and fuel cell electric solutions to the urban air mobility and regional air mobility models and advancing sustainable aviation, Hyundai Motor Group said. 

“We are pleased to partner with Rolls-Royce to draw upon their aviation and certification expertise to accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion systems,” said Hyundai Motor Group’s AAM division head Shin Jae-won. “Hyundai has successfully delivered hydrogen fuel cell systems to the global automotive market and is now exploring the feasibility of electric and hydrogen propulsion technologies for aerospace integration. We believe this to be the key technology to support the global aviation industry’s goal to fly net zero carbon by 2050.”

Earlier this year, Hyundai Motor Group unveiled its AAM business road map, which encompasses the UAM and regional air mobility segments to offer eco-friendly air mobility solutions for people within and between cities. Hyundai Motor Group’s US-based Supernal unit is aiming to begin commercial services of UAM businesses in the US in 2028 while Hyundai Motor Group plans to launch regional air mobility services in the 2030s. 

By Kim Da-sol (