Hyundai Motor Co. (Hyundai) and its subsidiary, KIA Motors Corp. (Kia) have jointly made €100 ($110) million investment in a UK electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing startup, Arrival Ltd. on Thursday, January 16, 2020. The South Korean-based automobile companies have been recently focusing on EVs manufacturing startups. Last year, the two companies made $89 million investment in Rimac Automobili, a nine-year-old Croatian car manufacturing company that has plans to produce electric supercars in a partnership with Porsche AG.
Arrival’s Expansion and Competition
In a press release on Thursday, the Hyundai Group said that they were in a new partnership with a UK startup Arrival to make battery-powered delivery vans which would be started selling from 2021. The four years old startup which is based in London is a technology company that develops Generation 2 EVs and has set to produce commercial delivery vans in the coming years. The startup presently has 800 employees who widely operate in the five offices including Germany, Netherlands, Israel, Russia, and the US.
As a part to compete for the US startup, Rivian, which is backed by Ford Motor Co. and Amazon, Arrival joint the venture with Hyundai and Kia. Rivian had also announced last year about a contract deal for producing 100,000 electric delivery vans for the e-commerce giant which would start launching from 2021.
In a statement, Arrival said that it would work with Hyundai and Kia to develop a variety of electric vehicles, initially for the commercial market. Arrival stated, “Those vehicles will be built on Arrival’s modular vehicle platform or “skateboard” that bundles motor, batteries and chassis components, similar to the skateboard developed by U.S. startup Rivian.”
Using New Technologies for the EVs
Arrival’s vehicles would be built in small ‘micro-factories’ and equipped with advanced driving assistance technology which can be expected to be upgraded with self-driving systems in future production. For the project, the startup had already hired General Motors veteran Michael Ableson to lead its new operations in North American. The startup also previously mentioned that it would use BlackBerry’s QNX operating system for the safety features in its electric vehicles. In a statement, the company said, “Its prototype delivery vans are being tested by the Royal Mail, DHL, and UPS.”
Following the news of the partnership, Arrival released a press saying, “The investment marks the start of a strategic partnership between the automakers to jointly accelerate the adoption of commercial electric vehicles globally. Hyundai and Kia will use key Arrival technologies to help achieve their recently announced goal to develop mobility services and electrify their vehicle fleets.”
Of the total investment, Hyundai will contribute €80 million and Kia €20 million. As Hyundai Group stated, “The partnership with Arrival will help Hyundai and Kia meet rapidly growing demand in Europe for eco-friendly commercial vehicles, and accelerate the brands’ transformation from carmakers to clean-mobility providers.”
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