Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation are investing US$110m in a new partnership with Arrival, a UK-based electric vehicle startup.
Through the partnership, Hyundai and Kia plan to introduce competitively priced, small and medium-size electric vans and other products for logistics and on-demand ride-hailing and shuttle service companies. Arrival’s scalable electric platform can be adapted for multiple vehicle categories and types, which Arrival, Hyundai and Kia will explore for development of a range of purpose-built vehicles (PBVs).
According to Hyundai and Kia, the partnership with Arrival will help meet rapidly growing demand in Europe for eco-friendly commercial vehicles and accelerate the brands’ transformation from car makers to clean-mobility providers.
Albert Biermann, president and head of the Research and Development division for Hyundai Motor Group, and Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Arrival, signed a contract for investment and the joint development of electric vehicles at the headquarters of Hyundai and Kia in Seoul. Of the total investment, Hyundai will contribute 80%, Kia 20%.
“The eco-friendly vehicle market in Europe is expected to grow rapidly due to the introduction of further environmental regulations,” said Biermann. “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.”
Arrival’s Sverdlov added, “Arrival has created a game changing product category – Generation 2.0 electric vehicles. Hyundai and Kia have been making amazing vehicles with uncompromising quality and share our vision for an electric mobility future. Our strategic partnership with Hyundai and Kia means that we will scale Generation 2 electric vehicles globally and – importantly – in the very near future.”
Fully scalable to accommodate multiple vehicle types, Arrival’s ‘skateboard’ platform can be used to accelerate vehicle development to meet diverse customer needs. The company is carrying out pilot projects with multiple logistics companies in Europe using cargo vans manufactured with the technology.
In the spirit of ‘open innovation’, Hyundai and Kia are exploring partnerships with various businesses, “to build a leadership position in the rapidly expanding global EV market”. In May 2019, Hyundai and Kia invested US$90m in Rimac, a Croatian high-performance electric vehicle company, focusing on collaborative research to secure capabilities to lead the global high-performance EV market. In September 2019, Hyundai and Kia also invested in Ionity, claimed to be Europe’s largest high-power electric vehicle charging network, and set the stage for sales expansion of EVs within Europe.