Hyundai co-develops skateboard EV platform


Hyundai has revealed that it is jointly developing an electric vehicle (EV) platform with Canoo, a Los Angeles-based company creating EVs for a subscription-only business model. The platform will be based on Canoo’s proprietary skateboard design and form the basis for upcoming Hyundai and Kia models.

As part of the collaboration, Canoo will provide engineering services to help develop a fully scalable, all-electric platform to meet Hyundai and Kia specifications. Hyundai Motor Group expects the platform will enable it to offer competitively priced EVs, ranging from small-sized EVs to purpose-built vehicles (PBVs).

Canoo’s skateboard platform houses the most critical components of the vehicle with a strong emphasis on functional integration, meaning that all components fulfill as many functions as possible. This design reduces the skateboard’s size, weight and total number of parts, which ultimately provides more interior cabin space and reduces costs. The Canoo skateboard is a self-contained unit that can be paired with any cabin design.

According to Hyundai Motor Group, it expects an adaptable all-electric platform using Canoo’s scalable skateboard architecture to allow for a simplified and standardised development process for Hyundai and Kia electrified vehicles, which is expected to help reduce costs. Hyundai Motor Group also expects the platform will enable it to reduce the complexity of its EV assembly line, allowing for rapid response to changing market demands and customer preferences.

Canoo’s first vehicle design being prepared for beta testing

With this collaboration, Hyundai Motor Group is doubling down on its recent commitment to invest US$87 billion over the next five years to foster future growth. As part of this drive, Hyundai plans to invest US$52 billion in future technologies through 2025, while Kia will invest US$25 billion in electrification and future mobility technologies, aiming for eco-friendly vehicles to comprise 25% of its total sales by 2025.

Hyundai and Kia have both recently announced plans to develop fully electric PBVs. Hyundai presented its first PBV concept as a key pillar of its smart mobility solution strategy at CES 2020 in January. At its CEO Investor Day on January 14, Kia announced its plan to develop PBVs tailored for shared-service companies and logistics companies.

“We were highly impressed by the speed and efficiency in which Canoo developed its innovative EV architecture, making it the perfect engineering partner for us as we transition to become a frontrunner in the future mobility industry,” said Albert Biermann, head of R&D at Hyundai Motor Group.  “We will collaborate with Canoo engineers to develop a cost-effective Hyundai platform concept that is autonomous ready and suitable for mass adoption.”

Canoo who?

Canoo unveiled its first EV for subscription only on 24 September 2019, just 19 months after the company’s founding in December 2017. Canoo’s proprietary skateboard architecture directly houses the batteries and electric drivetrain, enabling a rethinking of EV design.

Canoo reached the Beta testing phase of its platform within 19 months of inception, and the company recently opened the waiting list for its first vehicle. The proof of concept of Canoo’s backbone architectural systems is the culmination of the efforts of more than 300 experts, with the first vehicle expected to launch in 2021.

Canoo’s first design is a multi-purpose vehicle. Its skateboard platform could just as easily form the basis for a sports coupe or light commercial vehicle

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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