SK Innovation will become the exclusive battery cell supplier for Hyundai Group electric cars – specifically for the first model based on the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which is to roll off the assembly line from 2021.
The deal was revealed by the Japanese news agency NNA with reference to industry circles. SK Innovation is to supply battery cells for around 500,000 vehicles for the planned electric crossover from Hyundai, which will be the first electric vehicle to be based on the E-GMP platform and is to be produced in Ulsan, South Korea, from the first quarter of 2021. It has now also been confirmed that this electric vehicle will be the first Hyundai model to be equipped with 800-volt battery technology.
According to media reports from October, Hyundai is also considering introducing the new electric crossover first in Europe before it is launched in South Korea and the USA. As a result, Hyundai sees better sales opportunities for the electric car in Europe than in its home market – and the new model could then help meet the CO2 requirements.
In terms of appearance, the model will be based on the concept car 45 presented at the IAA. As recently as June, Business Korea reported that Hyundai plans to complete a prototype by December this year and present the vehicle in the summer of 2020. It remains unclear as to whether this will happen. The range for the compact SUV at the time was 450 kilometres, which is the same range as the Kona Elektro with its 64-kWh battery.
Meanwhile, according to an industry representative quoted by NNA, Hyundai and Kia have completed the basic design work for the E-GMP platform. They have now completed initial tests at their research centre in Hwaseong, southwest of Seoul. At the same time, several subsidiaries of Hyundai Motors are preparing for the future large-scale electric car production. Hyundai Kia, for example, has started developing thermal management modules for electric vehicles. At the same time, Hyundai Mobis laid the foundation stone for a new plant in Ulsan in August, where components for electric cars are to be manufactured based on the E-GMP platform.
For SK Innovation, the supply agreement with Hyundai is an essential domestic deal. The Group had already been selected as a battery supplier by Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis. However, it is also clear that Hyundai, like most OEMs, will sooner or later rely on several suppliers to ensure a stable battery supply.