JAIWON SHIN/BEN DIACHUN
Key cog in Orange County’s nascent flying taxi industry, literally taking off. Supernal is working on building an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle – known in the industry as eVTOL – that will carry four to five passengers in and near urban areas to begin with.
BEFORE: Supernal launched as Urban Air Mobility Division of hyundai Engine Band at the CES 2020 tech show in Las Vegas. Its headquarters are in Washington, DC, but the technical brains behind its aircraft will be in OC. The company last year chose Irvine for its engineering headquarters and aims to field flying taxis in 2028. It initially leased 106,600 square feet of high-end office space in the Spectrum. Irvine to hold this division, and is now in the early stages of a major hiring push for the expected group of 300 people.
NOW: The company has added an additional 80,000 square feet of office space at another nearby facility irvine Co.-owned earlier this year. “We’re working on technology at Supernal to power a whole new dimension of mobility,” Diachun, the company’s chief technology officer, told The Business Journal.
FUTURE: Regulatory certification of Supernal vehicles is expected in 2024.
IN THEIR WORDS: “Technology talent is key to making advanced air mobility a reality, and that makes Irvine an ideal location for our engineering headquarters,” said Diachun, who was appointed to the role of director. technical in early 2021. He previously served as CEO and Chairman at Openeran aerospace startup in Palo Alto.
Head of a young aerospace company looking to build an electric air taxi for urban areas. Six initial places of society, Butterfly Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles are expected to be significantly quieter than conventional helicopters and as efficient as fixed-wing aircraft in forward flight. They are designed to have a range of over 100 miles, the ability to recharge quickly between trips, a top speed of around 200 miles per hour, and seat five passengers plus a pilot.
SO: Overair’s technology has been in development since 2004, under the direction of the parent company Karem Plane of Forest Lake. The consumer-focused business was spun off in early 2020 from Karem Aircraft, founded by the legendary Predator drone designer abe Karem— to allow the Lake Forest firm to concentrate on its military work.
Prior to its rebranding last year, Overair raised $25 million in funding, led by the Korean Hanwha Group.
NOW: Late last year, the company signed a 109,000 square foot lease to more than double its footprint in Santa Ana.
The new lease is for the entirety of 3030 S. Susan St., an industrial building located a few blocks from Segerstrom High School, between Harbor Boulevard and Fairview Street. It sits across from Overair’s current headquarters at 3001 S. Susan St., which is approximately 94,000 square feet. Overair moved into its original facility about a year ago.
COMING: “We are on track to create 1,000 manufacturing and engineering jobs in Orange County over the next three years as we focus on bringing electric mobility solutions to market,” Tigner said late last year.
IN THEIR WORDS: “There’s a group of companies that are all in competition with each other, although I will say that at least in the short term it’s much more collaborative than competitive,” Tigner said. “The potential market is much, much bigger than any company can fill.”