Hyundai and Kia have announced an investment of €100 million (£85.2 million) in a new partnership with UK-based electric vehicle startup Arrival to develop small and medium-sized electric vans.
Through the partnership, Hyundai and Kia plan to introduce competitively priced small and medium-sized electric vans and other products for logistics and on-demand ride-hailing and shuttle service companies.
The partnership with Arrival will help Hyundai and Kia meet rapidly growing demand in Europe for eco-friendly commercial vehicles and accelerate the brands’ transformation from car makers to clean-mobility providers.
Albert Biermann, president and head of research and development division for Hyundai, and Denis Sverdlovsk, chief executive officer of Arrival, signed a contract for the investment and joint development of electric vehicles at the headquarters of Hyundai and Kia in Seoul. Of the investment, Hyundai will contribute €80 million; Kia €20 million.
“The eco-friendly vehicle market in Europe is expected to grow rapidly due to the introduction of further environmental regulations,” said Biermann. “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.”
Arrival has production plants and R&D centres in the US, Germany, Singapore, Russia and the UK. The company operates a ‘skateboard’ vehicle platform with a modular component structure, a cost-effective base that incorporates a battery pack, electric motor and driveline components.
Fully scalable to accommodate multiple vehicle types, the platform can be used to accelerate vehicle development to meet diverse customer needs. Currently, Arrival is carrying out pilot projects with multiple logistics companies in Europe using cargo vans manufactured with the technology.
By working with Arrival, Hyundai and Kia plan to supply eco-friendly vans and buses – built in volume and based on Arrival’s platform – to European logistics companies and mobility companies that provide on-demand ride-hailing and shuttle services.
Hyundai and Kia recently announced the development of a fully electric purpose-built vehicle (PBV). Hyundai presented its PBV concept as one of the smart mobility solutions at CES 2020 earlier this month. At its CEO Investor Day on January 14, Kia also announced its plan to develop a PBV for shared-service companies and logistics companies.
Youngcho Chi, president and chief innovation officer at Hyundai 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.”
Avinash Rugoobur, Arrival’s chief strategy officer, added: “We are excited to come out of stealth mode with our partnership with Hyundai and Kia… and our complementary expertise will allow us to rapidly transition to full scale global production.”
The partnership with Arrival enables Hyundai to accelerate its ‘Two-track’ strategy to deliver battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell solutions for the European commercial vehicle market. To further support that strategy, Hyundai recently established Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility, a joint venture between Hyundai and 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 on 3 January as part of a pilot programme.