UK advanced mobility specialist Urban-Air Port is strengthening its partnership with South Korean car maker Hyundai’s air mobility division in a project to build 65 urban airports for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles around the world.
The project tightens the existing partnership between two leading pure players in the advance aerial mobility (AAM) sector. Urban-Air Port is one of the rare companies focusing exclusively on electric vehicle infrastructure, with Hyundai’s aerial vehicle program working to get its first air taxis into operation by 2028. The pair has an ongoing partnership building an eVTOL hub in the West Midlands city of Coventry that’s set to open for demonstration purposes later this year. The new venture plans to build 65 similar operational electric craft ports around the globe, starting with an additional facility in Coventry.
The initiative is interesting in placing emphasis on eVTOL infrastructure rather than craft development. Billions of investor dollars are being pumped into business preparing AAM vehicles, particularly air taxis, through Special Project Acquisition Company (SPAC) deals taking them public. This week German group Lilium began trading shares after investors approved its SPAC plans earlier in the month. Joby debuted on Wall Street in August. Nearly $5 billion has been pumped into vehicle manufacturers so far this year, with some estimates saying new infusions will surpass $1 trillion over the next two decades.
All that activity, however, has left infrastructure development hanging, receiving just $150 million in funding this year. That could prove a potentially disastrous oversight should eVTOL companies find themselves ready to begin service without anywhere to take off or land – an eventuality the Urban-Air Port deal with Hyundai clearly wants to avoid.
“The sector is soaring and we know that a future with electric flying vehicles and drones in cities is going to be a reality soon,” says Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air Port “But it can’t happen if we don’t have the infrastructure on the ground and in the air to make it happen. Urban-Air Port will change the way we travel forever – unlocking clean urban air transport for everyone, improving connectivity in congested cities, cutting pollution, and boosting productivity.”
Urban-Air Port has designed ultra-compact, off-grid hubs that can be set up and operated in even crowded cities. The facilities have everything eVTOL or drone craft need to take off, land, load or unload cargo, and rapidly recharge. They are also conceived to welcome electric vehicles, e-buses, and scooters.
“Urban Air Mobility will be integral to how we get from A to B this century,” says Pamela Cohn, COO and US general manager for the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group. “(Hyundai) has a bold vision for future mobility and is committed to making the human and technological investments needed to usher in a new era of transport. Urban-Air Port is key to opening up safe, affordable, zero-emission mobility, which will take urban air mobility from science fiction to tangible reality.”
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