South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor Group said Wednesday it has signed a deal with US electric vehicle startup Canoo to develop an electric vehicle platform for its upcoming models.
Hyundai said it expects the new platform using Canoo's scalable skateboard architecture to allow for a simplified and standardized development process, which in turn would lower the prices of vehicles made by its two flagship units -- Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.
Canoo's proprietary skateboard architecture directly houses the batteries and electric drivetrain, a design that provides more interior cabin space and a more cost-effective EV offering.
Albert Biermann, head of Research & Development at Hyundai Motor Group, said Hyundai will collaborate with Canoo engineers to develop a cost-effective Hyundai platform concept that is autonomous-ready and suitable for mass adoption.
"We were highly impressed by the speed and efficiency in which Canoo developed their innovative EV architecture, making them the perfect engineering partner for us as we transition to become a frontrunner in the future mobility industry," Biermann said in a statement provided by Hyundai.
Ulrich Kranz, head of Canoo, said that the partnership with a global leader like Hyundai is a validating moment for a young company like his.
"It is a real honor for us to help Hyundai explore EV architecture concepts for their future models," Kranz, a Canoo co-founder and former BMW executive, said in the same statement.
Canoo unveiled its first electric vehicle for subscription in September last year, just 19 months after the company's founding in December 2017.
The deal is the latest in a series of moves by Hyundai Motor Group to increase investment in next-generation vehicle technologies through partnerships with overseas startups.
Parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis Co. has announced a plan to invest $50 million in U.S. light detection and ranging company Velodyne Lidar for autonomous driving technologies.
Hyundai Mobis also joined Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors in September to invest a combined $2 billion in a 50:50 joint venture with Ireland-based autonomous vehicle startup Aptiv to develop a self-driving platform with Level 4 to 5 autonomous technology by 2022 and supply it to global carmakers.
At Level 4, a vehicle can drive itself under limited conditions and will not operate if all required conditions are not satisfied.
At Level 5, a vehicle's automated driving features function in any conditions.
In January, Hyundai Motor Group said it will invest more than 100 trillion won ($87 billion) in the next five years to increase its presence in future mobility markets.
Hyundai Motor Group plans to launch 44 electrified vehicles, including 11 all-electric models, by 2025. (Yonhap)