Hyundai, Kia, Partners with Canoo for EV Platform Architecture

Canoo's first electric vehicle
Canoo's first electric vehicle set to launch in 2021.

South Korea’s largest automobile manufacturer, Hyundai Motor Group, announced that it signed an agreement with electric vehicle (EV) startup Canoo as part of an $87 billion (103 trillion won) effort to invest in future technologies.

Hyundai announced last December that it would invest over 100 trillion won ($87 billion) spanning the next five years. The company will spend 20 trillion won ($17.4 billion) a year annually to further its leadership and growth in future mobility technologies, notably “eco-friendly vehicles.”

Hyundai will borrow Canoo’s signature chassis design for the Korean company’s electric vehicle platform. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Canoo’s “skateboard” architecture houses the electric drivetrain and batteries in a chassis underneath the company’s first electric SUV’s cabin. The architecture under the vehicle, which looks more like a microbus, is what Hyundai is interested in accessing.

Canoo’s “skateboard” architecture.

Hyundai and Kia will rely on the architecture developed by Canoo to give them an edge responding quickly to the ever-changing industry and customer preferences. With the platform, the companies hope to reduce the cost and complexity of manufacturing.

According to the contract announced last Tuesday, Hyundai Motor Co. and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. will gain access to Canoo’s proprietary “skateboard” platform design. Hyundai and Kia will use the platform mainly to power small-to-mid-sized electric passenger cars for their electric vehicles as well as their so-called “purpose-built vehicles (PBV).”

Hyundai’s PBV, introduced last month at CES 2020, is a pod-like vehicle that can function in various ways in transit, such as a clinic or restaurant. The vehicle’s concept is much like Toyota’s e-Palette vehicle, which can ideally be modified to serve as a restaurant, retails shop, or shuttle for people.

Canoo, established in 2017, started as Evelozcity in California, Los Angeles. Founded by Stefan Krause and Ulrich Kranz, the startup rebranded as Canoo in the spring of 2019. Last September, the company revealed its first electric vehicle, which is expected to hit the roads by 2021. Canoo’s first vehicle will only be available through a subscription with the company recently opening the waitlist for its first vehicle.

Albert Biermann, head of R&D at Hyundai Motor Group, said that the company is highly impressed by the efficiency and speed in which Canoo developed its innovative EV architecture. He added that Canoo’s innovation makes them the perfect engineering partner for Hyundai as it transitions into becoming a leader in the future mobility industry.

Images taken from Canoo’s website.

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