Hyundai hoping new platform will make it an EV leader

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Words: Matthew Hansen
4 Dec 2020

While most are transfixed by Tesla’s battle with the likes of Porsche and Audi, don’t forget that there’s a hearty fist-fight going on among the mainstream brands, too, in the hopes of getting ahead of the rest when it comes to electric vehicles.

Hyundai is better placed than most, thanks to its hydrogen fuel-cell Nexo and its current EV offerings — the Kona EV and Ioniq Electric. And now the firm has unveiled its new bespoke battery electric vehicle (BEV) platform; the E-GMP.

The unveiling of a platform designed specifically for electrification helps tackle one of the elephants in the room when it comes to EVs; this being the current costs required to take platforms previously designed for internal combustion engine vehicles and convert them.

These platforms almost always come with some kind of compromise, sometimes in the form of reduced cabin space, sometimes in the lack of room for larger batteries or larger electric motors. Hyundai and General Motors are two of the mainstream groups to have unwrapped an EV ‘skateboard’ platform for future vehicles, and expect more to come in short time.

The E-GMP is a rear-driven (and all-wheel drive capable) platform, and one that Hyundai claims is likely to increase the driving range of its next-gen EVs. The Korean firm also boasts that the platform brings potential for “powerful driving performance” (we’ll be the judges of that one, Hyundai), more cabin space, and improved safety. Expect it to underpin all of the brand’s future EVs sold under the Ioniq sub-brand.

Along with independent rear suspension, the platform also features what Hyundai calls the world’s first integrated drive axle. This combines wheel bearings with the drive shaft for better ride quality and stability, it says. Ultra high-strength steel and hot-stamped steel has been used in its construction, with the architecture designed specifically to direct energy from the electric system and battery in the event of a crash.

Read more: Hyundai aiming to be the biggest electric car brand in Europe

“Today our front-wheel driven Hyundai BEVs are already among the most efficient ones in their segments,” said Albert Biermann, president and head of Hyundai research and development. “With our rear-wheel driven based E-GMP, we are extending our technological leadership into segments where customers demand excellent driving dynamics and outstanding efficiency.”

On top of the aforementioned benefits, perhaps the biggest benefit of any skateboard-like platform is ease of development costs. While EVs are notorious at the minute for how much they cost to develop, cut and paste skateboard platforms can absorb development costs with ubiquitous usage.

Another area that’s getting cheaper over time in EVs is powertrain. Hyundai’s E-GMP reveal also included the unveiling of a new power electric system. This is a single module that encompasses motor, EV transmission, and inverter. Hyundai boasts that the compact size of the unit provides efficiencies in weight and space, but over time it will also be more efficient for price, too.

This is achieved while simultaneously improving upon range, too. Hyundai claims that vehicles based on the new architecture will be capable of over 500km on a fully charged battery, and be capable of rapid charges to 80 per cent in just 18 minutes thanks to available 800V and 400V charging functionality.

“E-GMP is the culmination of years of research and development and brings together our most cutting- edge technologies. Our BEV line-up will evolve and be strengthened by this innovative new platform,” added Fayez Abdul Rahman, Hyundai senior vice president of architecture development.

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