Farnborough Air Show

Rolls-Royce and Hyundai to Advance Hydrogen Propulsion

 - July 19, 2022, 1:11 PM
Hyundai-backed Supernal is exhibiting a mockup of a four-passenger, hydrogen-powered eVTOL aircraft under development. (Photo: David McIntosh)

Hyundai Motor Company is teaming with Rolls-Royce to deliver electric propulsion for new advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicles based on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Applications will likely include the four-passenger eVTOL model now under development by the Korean automaker’s Supernal division.

Under a memorandum of understanding, the aircraft engine maker and Hyundai aim to be ready to conduct a joint fuel-cell electric aircraft demonstration in 2025. The partners want to develop new powertrains both for Hyundai’s planned eVTOL aircraft, which will operate regional routes of up to around 60 miles and serve other AAM applications.

The partners signed the agreement during this week’s Farnborough Airshow with top-level leadership present. They included Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East and chief technology and strategy officer Grazia Vittadini, as well as Hyundai Motor Group executive chair Euisun Chung, Hyundai’s AAM business unit president Jaiwon Sun, and the division's vice president, Jaeyong Song.

Rolls-Royce’s electrical division is already developing an electric propulsion system for Supernal’s rival eVTOL developer Vertical Aerospace. It also has begun work on a 1-MW turbogenerator to support various hybrid-electric applications.