Supernal is teaming with Electric Power Systems to boost battery technologies for eVTOL air taxis. The companies plan to work together to accelerate the development of lightweight eVTOL batteries and to enable longer, more affordable air taxi flights while continuing to improve vehicle performance as the urban air mobility market matures.
“Advanced air mobility requires an expansive value chain, and many aspects—from battery power to digital infrastructure and passenger experience—require improvements and cross-chain integration to enable progress,” said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. “We are humbled and excited to work with Electric Power Systems and develop game-changing technologies that will revolutionize air travel and increase human possibility.”
Supernal and EP Systems formalized their new partnership on July 20 during a ceremony at the Farnborough International Airshow, where Supernal had a cabin concept for its SA-1 eVTOL on display.
Utah-based EP Systems develops energy storage systems for electric aviation, and the company provides electric propulsion products and charging stations for the automotive, marine, and defense industries as well. The company’s high-power batteries are being used in several flight demonstrators, including NASA’s X-57 and Boeing’s Cargo Air Vehicle (CAV).
Established in 2020 as a subsidiary of the South Korean automotive group Hyundai, Supernal has been developing a five-seat eVTOL air taxi called SA-1, which it plans to bring into commercial service by 2028. The company has said it expects to start the FAA’s type certification process in 2024. And earlier this year, Supernal announced plans to introduce a hydrogen-powered eSTOL aircraft in addition to the SA-1.
Supernal’s SA-1 will initially be flown by a pilot and will seat four passengers, although the company plans to eventually switch over to autonomous flights with a six-passenger version of the vehicle. The company has chosen Miami to be one of the first cities to adopt its air taxi services.
The battery-powered SA-1 eVTOL aircraft will be designed to cruise at up to 180 mph (290 km/h) and an altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 feet (300 to 600 meters), with a range of about 60 miles (100 km) on a single charge. It will take about five to seven minutes to recharge between flights, Supernal has said. While the company has not revealed many details about the SA-1’s design, plans call for a distributed electric propulsion system with multiple rotors and propellers, which the company claims will reduce noise and increase safety.