Kia-Hyundai’s ambitious electric vehicle push
Korean motoring giant Kia-Hyundai looks to be well placed for the coming electric revolution, hailing from the world’s second-largest battery-manufacturing country after China. Along with that home field advantage, the group’s electric commitment has intensified with an investment plan amounting to $87 billion over the next five years.
The Kia brand expects to sell at least half a million EVs by 2025 with 11 new zero-emission models scheduled. Without a fossil-fuel powertrain on-board the vehicle architecture for EVs can be designed with considerably more scaleability and simplification. For the new ‘skateboard’ platform the Koreans teamed up with Canoo, a Los Angeles based company noted for its subscription-only electric vehicle launching in 2021.
For Kia and Hyundai, Canoo will provide the skateboard integrating all critical vehicle components such as the battery pack and electric drivetrain. Freed from the constraints of traditional car propulsion systems, the electric vehicle manufacturing method enables designers to challenge traditional car designs. Canoo’s flat platform can additionally facilitate car bodies ranging from small compacts to large family crossovers for significant production savings.
Back in January Hyundai already announced a plan to developed vehicles for shared-service and logistics companies, and now prior to the Geneva motor show next month, the brand has teased a fetching concept car called the Prophecy which could be on its way to showrooms.
At last year’s Geneva motor show, it was Kia’s turn to show off – the Kia Imagine concept represents a production car that will top the brand’s electric range when it goes on sale, offering up to 500km of driving on a full battery charge.
For drive components, the Koreans turned to Croatian startup Rimac, a company making waves with its 1 900-horsepower Concept Two zero emissions hypercar. Hyundai invested around $90 million into Rimac, and they aren’t the only big-timers to place their trust in the Croatians – last year Porsche increased its own stake in Rimac to 15.5%, and other high profile clients include Jaguar, Aston Martin and Swedish brand Koenigsegg.
The Koreans will split responsibilities between the two brands, with Hyundai investing $52 billion towards future technologies and Kia investing $25 billion in electrification and future mobility, aiming for eco-friendly models to comprise 25% of total group sales by 2025.