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Hyundai and Kia's E-GMP promises over 310 miles of range and charging in 18 minutes

Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) has lifted the lid on its first dedicated EV platform. Called the E-GMP and due to hit the road in 2021, it will underpin Hyundai and Kia's next generation of EVs, offering more range, ultra-rapid charging and a world-first 400V and 800V bi-directional charging system

We've known the broad details of the E-GMP platform for some time, but now Hyundai has given us the full rundown of what to expect. The group has applied the lessons learned from its current range of EVs, such as the Kia e-Niro and Kona Electric, which are among the most efficient out there, to the new platform whilst throwing in a feast of the latest technology and advances in packaging.

The first cars to get the E-GMP platform will first roll off the production line in 2021 and will include the debut of Hyundai's IONIQ sub-brand, with the IONIQ 5 mid-size SUV (and its Kia equivalent) coming first. From there, E-GMP will underpin 23 new EVs before 2025, helping to fulfil HMG's goal of selling a million EVs per year by then.

New electronic architecture

Arguably the biggest technical advancements being brought in with E-GMP are under the skin. First and foremost, cars based on the platform will be rear wheel drive as standard. Dual motor, four-wheel drive variants will be introduced down the line, wherein a front motor can be called into action intelligently enhancing performance without too much impact on efficiency.

Batteries will be built from standard sized modules, packed in different quantities to create overall battery capacities depending on vehicle requirements. The cells themselves are up to 10 per cent more energy dense than the existing technology from HMG and E-GMP cars and capable of over 310 miles on a charge based on the WLTP test.

Power from the battery is sent to a brand new power electric system which combines the motor, transmission and inverter in a single compact module. Silicon carbide semiconductors (as seen in Toyota's new Mirai) have been adopted throughout the system, increasing efficiency by around 3 per cent and upping driving range by as much as 5 per cent.

World-first multi and bi-directional charging

As ultra-rapid charging becomes more widespread through companies like IONITY – of which Hyundai and Kia are major backers – the need for 800V on-board infrastructure is increasing. At this voltage, the full extent of IONITY's 350kW charging network, which will total 400 pan-European stations by 2022, can be exploited.

However, regular 400V systems still cater for rapid charging of between 50 and 150kW so HMG has created a simple way of getting around this: incorporate both 400V and 800V into the E-GMP platform as standard.

A world-first, the system uses both an inverter and the motor to regulate charging capacity. At the highest 350kW level, E-GMP-based cars will be able to charge to the recommended 80 per cent in as little as 18 minutes with 62 miles added in just five minutes.

Another innovation on the platform is bi-directional charging, enabled by a brand new 'Integrated Charging Control Unit' (ICCU) which replaces the more traditional single direction on-board charger. The ICCU will enable a new 'vehicle to load' (V2L) function, whereby power can be drawn straight from the battery to power other things at 110/220V and up to 3.5kW. It will even charge another EV, though HMC hasn't stated whether it will allow for V2G.

Flexibility for space and performance

Alongside all the technical developments crammed into the E-GMP platform is a greater level of modularity allowing for everything from performance EVs to large SUVs to be based on the system. HMG is promising performance of 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds and a maximum speed of 161mph in the most extreme guise.

Like in Volvo's XC40 Recharge, the battery support structure is now integral to the platform's strength, offering greater crash protection as well as freeing up other areas of the car to become energy load paths and energy-absorbent sections. As well as safety benefits, the flat floor, rear-drive packaging and long wheelbase have given greater flexibility and space for cabin configurations playing to Hyundai's ‘smart living space’ mantra.

On the road next year

In early 2021 we expect to see Hyundai launch the IONIQ 5 small SUV as the first car on the platform, followed by the IONIQ 6 saloon in 2022. Read more about Hyundai's launch plans here. It is expected that the current EV range including the Hyundai Kona Electric and Ioniq, as well as the Kia E-Niro and Soul, will remain on sale well into next year, if not beyond.

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