Hyundai, Kia, and LG Chem launch EV challenge

23 June 2020

23 June 2020

Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai), Kia Motors Corporation (Kia), and LG Chem are setting out to find the next big electric vehicle (EV) technology companies. The manufacturers are jointly sponsoring the global ′EV and Battery Challenge’ (EVBC), hoping to find 10 EV and battery start-ups for potential investment and collaboration.

EVBC builds on LG Chem’s 2019 battery challenge, which sought to discover innovative technologies in the battery business. Now the competition has been expanded to create more synergy within the EV sector. The project will be managed and facilitated by the international start-up support organisation, New Energy Nexus.

Highly-charged competition

The global competition offers start-ups the opportunity to showcase their new ideas and unique business models. EVBC will also allow Hyundai, Kia, and LG Chem a chance to identify and secure new technology capabilities which will deliver greater customer value.

Companies that have working prototypes and are building technologies in EV charging and fleet management, power electronics and components, personalisation services as well as battery management, systems, materials, recycling and manufacturing are all being encouraged to participate. Start-ups can apply online until 28 August.

Applicants that pass the first business and technology feasibility review will go on to sit virtual interviews in October. Finalists will then attend a two-day workshop in November at Hyundai’s Silicon Valley office. There, Hyundai, Kia, and LG Chem will verify the new technologies.

The chosen start-ups will have the opportunity to work closely with the three manufacturers to develop proof-of-concept projects. They will be able to do this while making use of the sponsors’ technical knowledge, resources and laboratories.

Widening collaboration

′We are widening our collaboration with start-ups that have promising and innovative ideas,’ said Youngcho Chi, president and chief innovation officer at Hyundai. ′We look forward to working with various start-ups that will lead the global EV market and next-generation battery innovation through a joint programme with LG Chem, which has world-class battery technology.’

′LG Chem is continuously striving to lead in battery technology development based on an open innovation approach,’ said Myung-Hwan Kim, chief production and procurement officer as well as head of the battery research center at LG Chem’s Energy Solution Company. ′We will foster potential start-ups in partnership with Hyundai and Kia, and strengthen our capabilities in the EV sector.’

′Both LG Chem and Hyundai Motor and Kia are leading the charge for better batteries and better mobility systems,’ said Danny Kennedy, chief energy officer at New Energy Nexus. ′Their joint effort to accelerate start-ups through the EV and Battery Challenge shows they are in it for the long game. We are proud to be working with such forward-thinking companies that are enabling a faster and cleaner energy transition.’

Charging forward

The automotive industry has recently seen a tangible push towards more eco-friendly modes of transport, with EVs gaining notable traction. In the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) there is increasing pressure for a green recovery and with it a greater need for the rapid development of EV technologies. This means high-performance, high-efficiency batteries are needed, which is leading manufacturers to join forces and invest in new technologies.

Hyundai and Kia are already investing heavily in electric technology. In January this year, they announced backing for UK electric van firm Arrival, while in February this year, they agreed a joint venture with Canoo to develop a skateboard EV platform. These kind of forward-looking investments are necessary as Hyundai Motor Group is planning to deploy 44 eco-friendly models by 2025, including 23 EVs.