Hyundai and Kia Motors are investing €100m (US$110m) in a development partnership with UK-based electric vehicle startup Arrival. Their aim is to bring small and medium-size electric vans and other products for logistics to the market, as well as on-demand ride-hailing and shuttle service companies.
The OEMs will jointly explore how they can develop Arrival’s scalable electric ‘skateboard’ platform, which can be adapted to different vehicle categories and types, for a new range of purpose-built vehicles.
Albert Biermann, president and head of R&D for Hyundai Motor Group, and Denis Sverdlovsk, CEO of Arrival, signed a contract at Hyundai and Kia’s HQ in Seoul. Of the total investment sum, Hyundai will contribute €80m (US$88.7m), Kia €20m (US$22.1m).
“The eco-friendly vehicle market in Europe is expected to grow rapidly due to the introduction of more environmental regulations. Through the joint development of electric commercial vehicles with Arrival, we will be able to gain a competitive advantage and progressively establish our leadership in the global eco-friendly vehicle market, with Europe at the forefront,” commented Biermann.
Arrival’s Sverdlovsk added, “Arrival has created a game changing product category of ‘generation 2.0’ electric vehicles. Our strategic partnership with Hyundai and Kia will enable us to scale generation 2.0 electric vehicles globally and importantly, in the very near future.”
Arrival’s skateboard vehicle platform with its modular component structure offers a cost-effective base, which incorporates a battery pack, electric motor and driveline components.
Hyundai and Kia aim to use the platform to develop vans and buses, which it hopes to supply to European logistics providers and mobility companies that provide on-demand ride-hailing and shuttle services.
Youngcho Chi, president and chief innovation officer at Hyundai Motor Group, said, “This investment is part of an open innovation strategy pursued by Hyundai and Kia. We will accelerate investment and cooperation with companies with advanced technology such as Arrival, to respond to the rapidly changing eco-friendly vehicle market.”
Arrival chief strategy officer Avinash Rugoobur commented, “We are excited to come out of stealth mode with our partnership with Hyundai and Kia, a globally respected OEM with brilliant products on the road, and our complementary expertise will allow us to rapidly transition to full scale global production.
“Accelerating electric vehicle adoption is good for everyone – for people, business and the planet and we are pleased to undertake this mission with our partners Hyundai and Kia.”
The partnership with Arrival will enable Hyundai to accelerate its ‘two-track’ strategy to deliver battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell solutions to the European commercial vehicle market. To further support that strategy, Hyundai recently established Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM), a joint venture with Swiss hydrogen energy company H2 Energy. It aims to export 1,600 hydrogen fuel cell trucks to Europe by 2025, following the first export to Europe, which took place on January 3 on a pilot program.