Due for production within months, Hyundai Motor Group’s modular EV platform will be a vital component of improving the business case for future models, as Alex Grant explains.
The Start of Something
Prioritising reduced costs, the E-GMP (Electric Global Modular Platform) is designed around common parts and massive economies of scale, and production is imminent. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV, previewed by the ‘45’ concept, is due to reach Europe mid-2021, followed by a Kia coupe-SUV that’s likely to adopt styling cues from the Imagine show car. A range of 11 E-GMP derived electric cars is planned group-wide by 2025, including Europe-bound models under the Genesis luxury brand.
However, this isn’t at the expense of other electric solutions. B-segment and smaller EVs will continue to use platforms shared with hybrid and combustion engine vehicles, while Hyundai is developing a lighter, more energy-dense hydrogen fuel cell stack which can be used for road, rail and marine applications. By 2030, it’s aiming to produce 700,000 per year.
The platform’s backbone is a scalable, modular battery pack beneath the cabin. It features a more compact cooling system and new materials to improve efficiency, extending the range by 5% for a given energy capacity and enabling ultra-fast charging at up to 240kW. Depending on application this will provide up to a 310-mile range, with 60 miles recovered per five minutes plugged into a compatible charging point.
To support the growing EV range, Hyundai Motor Group has partnered with the Ionity pan-European ultra-fast charging network and has launched services enabling customers to ‘roam’ between charge providers using a single account. Unusually, vehicles on the E-GMP platform will feature a 240-volt outlet for equipment such as fridges or power tools. This can also charge other electric cars at up to 3.5kW, equivalent to a domestic wallbox.
The E-GMP is based on the increasingly common ‘skateboard’ layout, comprising a flat battery pack under the cabin and electric drive units either at the rear or both axles. Using the latest battery technology, the pack is mounted lower which frees up cabin space and – though details haven’t been announced yet – this will allow more flexible seating positions too.
It’s also a good basis for high performance, with a low centre of gravity, a better front/rear weight balance and low overhangs all contributing to a sporty drive. The drive unit is integrated into a sophisticated five-link suspension system to improve comfort, and uses a compact, high-revving motor capable of accelerating from 0-160mph on one gear ratio. Four-wheel drive versions will feature a second motor at the front, which can be de-coupled from the wheels to improve efficiency.