Hyundai’s First BEV Airport to Take-Off in UK

A scheme for small urban all-electric powered air travel championed by Hyundai will see its first working airport built in the UK.

Urban Air Port Air-One has been selected as a winner of the UK government’s Future Flight Challenge to develop aviation infrastructure and systems that enable the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles. Air-One claims to be a world-first fully-operational hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, such as cargo drones and air taxis, to be launched in Coventry later this year.

The airport follows Hyundai’s smart city concept at CES 2020 which imagined an urban ecosystem of various personal micro transportation solutions working in harmony both on the road and in the air. Now Urban Air Port could be a step towards that dream as it develops fully autonomous innovative zero emission infrastructure for future air mobility. The Air-One project hopes to bring industry, government and the public together to demonstrate how to unlock the potential of sustainable urban air mobility to reduce congestion, cut air pollution and decarbonize transport.

NASA predicts that urban-air mobility in the US alone could be worth up to $500Bn in the near-term and states that a significant barrier to market growth is the lack of infrastructure. The Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group has chosen Urban Air Port as its priority infrastructure partner to support the global growth of this new sector. It plans to create its own eVTOL aircraft and support the broader urban air mobility eco-system. Hyundai Motor Group is supporting the development of Air-One as part of its plan to commercialize its aircraft by 2028.

The physical footprint of an Urban Air Port is 60% smaller than a its most likely competitor, the traditional heliport. Backers say the sites can be installed in a matter of days, emit net zero carbon emissions and can be operated completely off-grid, meaning they do not always have to rely on a suitable power connection.

It is designed to support any eVTOL aircraft and complements other modes of sustainable transport as a hub for electric vehicles, buses or scooters. The design enables Urban Air Ports to be moved to alternative sites as and when the air-mobility sector expands. This design also means the sites are also enabled to handle disaster emergency management able to rapidly deploy drones and other eVTOL to collect and transport emergency supplies, equipment and people where needed.

Pamela Cohn, Chief Operating Officer for the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group, said: “As we advance our eVTOL aircraft program, development of supporting infrastructure is imperative. Air-One® is a unique project that is set to help lead the way in developing a robust, accessible and intermodal infrastructure network for future mobility. We are excited to be part of this partnership in the UK, and look forward to working together to create community impact and opportunity through safe, affordable, and human-centered mobility solutions.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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