Hyundai and Kia make UK investment with EV deal

16 January 2020

16 January 2020 Hyundai and Kia are to invest in a UK-based electric vehicle (EV) start-up, giving a significant boost to the country’s automotive industry. The carmakers will put €100 million into Arrival, a business that produces a ′skateboard’ EV platform with a modular component structure, a cost-effective base for manufacturers that incorporates a battery pack, electric motor and driveline components. 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. Arrival’s scalable electric platform can adapt for multiple-vehicle categories and types which the three companies will explore for development of a range of purpose-built vehicles (PBV). Increased interest The partnership with Arrival will help Hyundai and Kia meet rapidly growing demand in Europe for eco-friendly commercial vehicles, and can help to accelerate the brands’ transformation from carmakers to clean-mobility providers. ′The eco-friendly vehicle market in Europe is expected to grow rapidly due to the introduction of further environmental regulations,’ says Albert Biermann, president and head of Research and Development Division for Hyundai Motor Group. ′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.’ Founded in 2015, Arrival has production plants and R&D centres in the US, Germany, Singapore, Russia and the UK. Its platform can 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. Investment boost Since the UK’s Brexit referendum, investment in the country’s automotive industry has stalled. From over £2.5 billion (€3 billion) in 2015, in the first six months of last year, just £90 million (€105 million) was pumped into the country’s manufacturing, research and development. Therefore, Hyundai and Kia’s investment in Arrival almost matches the total investment from January to June 2019, a significant development and one that could signal an end to the dry spell of available funds for the country. With the Brexit process expected to finally complete by the end of January, carmakers may feel confident in increasing investment in their plants, research facilities, or as Hyundai and Kia have done, back new start-ups to help boost their plans. The move also backs the country’s belief that it can become a leader in electric-vehicle technology. There are several research institutes and ongoing studies tostimulate the market, through better batteries and charging infrastructure. Kia recently announced its plan to transition to an electric-only manufacturer and mobility provider. The two Asian carmakers have also shown their EV credentials by investing in Ionity, the manufacturer-backed rapid-charging provider with plans for EU-wide facilities.