Hyundai Motor Group announced on July 19 that it signed a business agreement with Rolls-Royce, a British aircraft engine manufacturer, to bring all-electric propulsion and hydrogen fuel cell technology to the advanced air mobility market.
The partnership will leverage Rolls-Royce’s aviation and certification capabilities and Hyundai Motor Group’s hydrogen fuel cell technologies and industrialization capability. 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 (UAM) and regional air mobility (RAM) markets and advancing sustainable aviation.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Rolls-Royce and Hyundai Motor Group includes five strategic aims:
— Collaborating on the technology development and requirements of power and propulsion systems for Hyundai’s Advanced Air Mobility Division.
— Collaborating on the industrialization of Rolls-Royce power and propulsion systems for the AAM market.
— Development of electric propulsion systems based upon hydrogen fuel cells as an energy source for Hyundai’s RAM platforms.
— Delivering a joint fuel-cell electric aircraft demonstration by 2025.
Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Eui-sun and Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East visited the Supernal booth at the Farnborough Air Show in England and signed the MOU.
Shin Jai-won, president of 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. 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.”
The benefits of using a hydrogen fuel cell system in an all-electric aircraft propulsion system is that it is a zero-emission, silent and reliable on-board power source that enables scalability in power offerings as well as long distance flight range. Hyundai will work with Rolls-Royce to bring hydrogen fuel cells, storage systems and infrastructure to the aerospace markets, and advance this technology into Hyundai’s RAM vehicles and Rolls-Royce all-electric and hybrid-electric propulsion system offerings.
Hyundai Motor Group earlier this year announced its AAM business roadmap, which encompasses the UAM and RAM 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 RAM services in the 2030s.