In recent weeks both Hyundai and Kia have laid out their plans for an electrified future. Combined, Hyundai Motor Group will be spending a not-too-shabby £66bn ($87bn) developing its range of cars. This will include Hyundai almost doubling its fleet of EVs and AFVs in the next five years through a £40bn investment, and Kia dropping £19.25bn on its goal to sell 500,000 EVs per year by 2025.
Partnering with Canoo will give the brands access to the company’s engineering services and enable them to develop a fully-scalable, all-electric platform to meet their specifications. The platform itself is of a skateboard design, which means it’s flat, and all the major components – like batteries, power inverters, motors and the like – are integrated and fulfil multiple functions. Volkswagen’s MEB platform is also a skateboard type, so it’s a tried, tested and proven vehicle architecture.
Canoo’s platform will provide numerous benefits for Hyundai and Kia in their drive towards an electric future. Using components to serve several functions reduces size, weight and complexity, and as the platform is self-contained, it in-turn increases potential cabin space. It’s scalable (one of the major benefits that VW is exploiting with all the various iterations of its ID. sub-brand) which means everything from small city cars through to larger SUVs or PBVs can be built on it. As a result, the development of EVs is simpler and, thanks to standardisation of components, cheaper – a benefit which can be passed on to consumers.
In theory, using scalable, standardised architecture will mean that Hyundai and Kia’s goal of 11 dedicated battery electric models for each brand by 2025 won’t be too difficult a target to hit.
“We were highly impressed by the speed and efficiency in which Canoo developed their innovative EV architecture, making them the perfect engineering partner for us as we transition to become a frontrunner in the future mobility industry,” said Albert Biermann, Head of Research and Development, Hyundai Motor Group. “We will collaborate with Canoo engineers to develop a cost-effective Hyundai platform concept that is autonomous ready and suitable for mass adoption.”
On the PBV side of things, both Hyundai and Kia are investing considerable money and energy into creating a variety of weird and wonderful vehicles. These range from ‘final mile’ autonomous vehicles that whisk you to an inner-city destination without the need to drive there, through to PBVs for logistics companies which may end up carrying your latest purchase from Amazon to a collection hub.
LA-based Canoo has been around since 2017 and was founded by former Faraday Futures executives Stefan Krause and Ulrich Kranz. With Krause since stepping down and under the leadership of Kranz, Canoo has been quietly making progress by concentrating its efforts first and foremost on its platform, and secondly on its inaugural vehicle, also named the Canoo.
Taking the form of a seven-seat microbus, which has more than a hint of VW ID. Buzz about it, the Canoo was developed in an impressive 19 months. It has a range of 250 miles and can be rapid-charged to 80 per cent in less than 30 minutes. However, Canoo’s ambition as a disruptive brand isn’t to sell the, erm, Canoo; instead it will enable people to have one through a subscription service which will include maintenance, insurance and all the rest of it.
If Netflix did cars, they’d probably be like this.
There’s already a waiting list for the 2021 launch of the subscription service, and given Hyundai Motor Group’s input, unlike so many ambitious EV start-ups Canoo has more than a fighting chance of doing rather well.
Canoo boss, Ulrich Kranz, is buoyed by the prospect: “We have been working diligently to develop a bold new electric vehicle and partnering with a global leader like Hyundai is a validating moment for our young company. It is a real honour for us to help Hyundai explore EV architecture concepts for their future models.”