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Hyundai Motor Group invests in EV company

Jan 17,2020
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Hyundai Motor Group’s president and research and development head Albert Biermann, right, and Avinash Rugoobur, chief strategy officer of Arrival, shake hands after signing a contract at Hyundai’s headquarters in Yangjae-dong, southern Seoul, on Thursday.[HYUNDAI MOTOR]
Hyundai Motor Group is investing about $111 million into Arrival, a London-based electric vehicle (EV) start-up, the company announced Thursday.

Hyundai Motor will invest 80 million euros ($89 million), while Kia Motors will commit 20 million euros, according to a statement released by the company.

Founded in 2015, Arrival develops a number of related products, including vans, trucks, electric components and sustainable energy solutions.

The partnership with the EV unit, Hyundai said, will help the automaker supply eco-friendly EVs in Europe, a region where demand for the vehicle category is strong.

“The eco-friendly vehicle market in Europe is expected to grow rapidly due to the introduction of further environmental regulations,” said Albert Biermann, president and the head of the 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,” Biermann said.

Arrival is best known for its flexible “skateboard platform,” a skateboard-shaped module of battery packs, an electric motor and other components. This allows for a wide variety of vehicle forms to be added on top, like moving refrigerators or logistics cars.

Hyundai said that the skateboard method will be used when Hyundai and Kia develop electric purpose-built vehicles (PBV). Introduced at the company’s booth at the CES 2020 trade show last week, PBVs can be used for everything from cafes to galleries.

“We are excited to come out of stealth mode with our partnership with Hyundai Motor Group, and our complementary expertise will allow us to rapidly design, build and roll out vehicles together,” said Avinash Rugoobur, chief strategy officer of Arrival.

The deal marks the latest in a series of investments into high-tech EV makers.

Just last year, Hyundai Motor Group invested $300 million into Bangalore-based Ola, India’s largest car-hailing company, joining Softbank and Tencent as shareholders.

At the time, the carmaker said it was seeking to “develop India-specific electric vehicles, infrastructure and mobility solutions.”

Hyundai explained that partnership reflects its commitment to transform from a traditional carmaker into a clean energy mobility company.

In line with its efforts, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Swiss hydrogen energy company H2 Energy to supply 1,000 large hydrogen trucks from 2019 to 2023.

Under the partnership, Hyundai Motor and H2 Energy will try to expand the use of hydrogen-powered trucks in Switzerland and in the rest of Europe

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]