Hyundai reinvents the electric platform
Hyundai and Kia’s new scalable EV platform is ready to catapult both brands into the EV stratosphere, catching the eye of Cupertino.
Project Titan, the in-house name for Apple’s long-mooted electric car, lives. And Hyundai Motor Group is giving the tech giant a helping hand. Cupertino’s project to make an EV hit the headlines as Hyundai let slip in January that it was in the ‘early stages’ of a partnership with Tim Cook’s technology behemoth, together with other partners, with the latest reports hinting that Kia will be working closely with Apple. If Apple is indeed joining up with Hyundai, just what is it that’s made the car maker’s new E-GMP platform so attractive?
The product of four years of intense development, the Electric Global Modular Platform is designed to be pulled, stretched and customised for a raft of very different EVs – while keeping costs as low as possible. That part is nothing new; VW Group, BMW and Geely (to name a few) have been rolling out similar solutions. But this platform has to last, work for all markets, and be future-proof.
With all that in mind, E-GMP’s electric motor, transmission and inverter slot together like 3D Tetris, and they’re pushed low into the chassis for the lowest possible centre of gravity. The performance benefits continue: E-GMP uses an integrated drive axle and there’s robust five-link rear suspension for superior comfort and handling.
The batteries, cradled in a high-strength steel frame, use 40 per cent fewer parts than HMG’s current range and have 10 per cent better energy density than any Hyundai or Kia EV on the road today. In order to streamline production, they use a standardised pouch design, making them easily configurable to the demands of future models.
E-GMP vehicles will be driven by a high-powered, rear-mounted motor as standard, though a front motor will also be offered for all-wheel drive. The reason for a rear-orientated set-up comes down to performance; unlike the VW
Group, which is placing high-performance EVs on a separate PPE platform, HMG wants to use the E-GMP for everything, so a default rear motor gives the most flexibility. ‘We are also working already on some more interesting, challenging high-performance applications,’ R&D chief Albert Biermann reveals, ‘and this is why we decided on putting the motor on the rear.
‘We will go almost up to 600 horsepower, in certain models, at a certain stage,’ explains Biermann. ‘With the front-wheeldrive architecture, maybe then high-performance driving is a little bit more limited.’
That’s not to say four-wheel-drive E-GMP models won’t be fun. HMG engineers have deployed a disconnector on the front axle that can detach from the front motor when required, either for performance or eciency reasons.
And Hyundai Motor Group is confident E-GMP will also have more mundane stats to back up the fun. The platform’s battery is capable of up to 311 miles of range, and when charging from an 800-volt source, an 80 per cent charge takes as little as 18 minutes, while a 62-mile charge takes just five minutes. It’ll also accept a lesser 400-volt power source without the need for an adaptor – a world-first. Essentially, the E-GMP re-routes 400-volt power through the motor and inverter where it’s stepped up to charge the 800-volt battery.
Designed-in, omni-directional charging capability means E-GMP vehicles will eventually be able to act as an energy management solution, charging with sustainable energy during the day, and then powering homes at night.
And solid-state power is also on the cards. ‘We are developing EV batteries. In our Namyang R&D centre, we have a dedicated lab that has been working on solid-state batteries for quite some time,’ reveals Biermann. ‘We have a road map to follow, and the possibility is high that E-GMP will benefit at some point from a solid-state battery.’
Future-proof, flexible and powerful? Truly E-GMP looks like a good fit for Apple’s Project Titan.
‘We’re working on some more interesting and challenging high-performance applications with up to 600bhp’