Hyundai, Rolls-Royce to Develop Flying Cars
The companies are also working to bring a joint fuel-cell electric propulsion system to the market
Hyundai and Rolls-Royce have announced that they will work together to bring all-electric propulsion and fuel cell technology to aero taxi in the future. The Korean carmaker and the British airline – a separate entity from the ultra-luxury car maker of the same name – have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate in the urban air mobility (UAM) and regional air mobility (RAM) markets. . The partnership was announced at the Farnborough Air Show in Hampshire, England, with an MOU detailing several key objectives, including working together to develop propulsion and propulsion systems for Hyundai’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) division; cooperation on the industrialization of Rolls-Royce propulsion and propulsion systems for the AAM market; and the development of electric propulsion systems based on hydrogen fuel cells as a power source for Hyundai’s RAM platforms. Perhaps the most interesting element, however, is the intention to bring an integrated fuel cell electric propulsion system to the wider AAM market, with a promise to demonstrate an aircraft using the technology in 2025. The use of a hydrogen fuel cell system in an all-electric aircraft propulsion system is attractive because it is a silent, zero-emission onboard source that enables scalability and long-range delivery. Hyundai is one of the leading proponents of hydrogen fuel cell technology in the automotive world, and in 2013 was the first automaker to produce a fuel cell electric vehicle with the ix35 FCEV, also known as the Tucson FCEV in some countries. In selected markets, it now offers the Nexo SUV with fuel cells. It has made no secret of its desire to become a major player in AAM, and earlier this year it confirmed a massive $5 billion investment in the US that will include further research in the field. In addition, the Supernal aerospace group presented an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) concept at Farnborough, which was clearly influenced by car design. Supernal aims to launch commercial services for UAM companies in US cities by 2028. “We are delighted to partner with Rolls-Royce to leverage its expertise and certification in the aerospace industry,” said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group. “Hyundai has successfully delivered hydrogen fuel cell systems to the global automotive market and is now exploring the possibilities of electric and hydrogen propulsion technologies for the integration of aviation. We believe this is a key technology that will support the global aviation industry’s goal of zero-carbon flying by 2050. “This collaboration supports our shared ambition to lead the market in advanced aero-mobility,” said Rob Watson, President of Rolls-Royce Electrical. “It is also a demonstration of Rolls-Royce’s role in providing solutions that enable passengers to travel sustainably and help achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.” Meanwhile, Hyundai has also agreed to an MOU with French aerospace equipment manufacturer Safran to identify and explore additional opportunities in the AAM sector.