Hyundai, Kia's Future EVs Will Get Rivian-Like Skateboard Platforms
It's a modular, cost-effective approach being adopted by many automakers nowadays.
It's not just Rivian, Ford, and Lincoln products that'll be riding on proverbial electric "skateboards." Hyundai and Kia announced Wednesday that they will adopt this style of electric vehicle platform too, using an architecture developed in part by EV startup Canoo.
Canoo stated in a release that it "will provide engineering services to help develop a fully scalable, all-electric platform to meet Hyundai and Kia specifications." This architecture mirrors Rivian's well-known "skateboard" platform by concentrating drivetrain components such as the battery and motors in the floor of the vehicle. This gives any model built on either platform a low center of gravity and maximizes interior space, and because of how modular and scalable this system is, it allows an automaker to produce a wide variety of products and body styles at minimal cost.
Rivian will utilize this flexibility to produce at least four products on the basis of its own "skateboard"—electric delivery vans for Amazon, a Lincoln SUV, its own R1S SUV, and the R1T pickup, which enters production later this year. Hyundai and Kia didn't specify when its first Canoo-influenced EVs will hit the market, or how many are in the works, though Canoo announced last year that it plans to offer an electric microbus built on this platform via subscription as soon as 2021.
The Drive approached Hyundai for details on its Canoo partnership last week at the Chicago Auto Show, but the automaker was unable to comment as of that time. A Hyundai spokesperson has since confirmed to us that the company's first dedicated-platform EV—whose reveal is slated for 2021—will have no direct relation to the Canoo partnership. This product will bring Hyundai one step closer to its goal of having 44 electrified (that means hybrid or fully electric) models on the market by 2025. Additionally, a parallel Kia product thought to be a midsize or larger crossover based on last year's Imagine by Kia concept will follow in 2021 according to Autocar.
"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," commented Albert Biermann, erstwhile head of BMW's M division, now head of research and development for 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."
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