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Hyundai revealed its E-GMP electric-vehicle platform, which will offer standard 800-volt charging.Courtesy of manufacturer

Hyundai’s moving fast into offering more electric vehicles in the next few years – up to 600 horsepower worth of fast.

The Korean automaker revealed its new E-GMP platform this week, which will help drive 23 new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for Hyundai, Kia and Genesis by 2025. It will support an all-new lineup of larger rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles with potential ranges of more than 500 kilometres and capable of recharging up to 80 per cent in 18 minutes.

The batteries themselves will be contained beneath the floor, similar to the “skateboard” designs of other automakers’ BEV platforms, but their energy density will be about 10-per-cent more efficient. This means there will be more room in the cabin of the vehicle, without a driveshaft or gasoline engine and transmission to take up space.

The E-GMP (Electric-Global Modular Platform) will offer standard 800-volt charging, similar to the Porsche Taycan, while also allowing 400-volt charging, using an inverter to boost to 800 V for stable-charging compatibility. This will take advantage of the higher capacities that are starting to be offered at fast-charging stations, including the 350-kW chargers being installed across Canada by Petro-Canada. Hyundai is also actively working on wireless-charging applications for the platform.

The stronger batteries will use a standardized module, and the more powerful motors will drive larger vehicles, including a seven-seat SUV that’s the equivalent of the current Hyundai Palisade. There will also be at least one performance model producing up to 600 hp, which will accelerate from zero-to-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and have a maximum speed of 260 km/h.

“This is all about precision and substantial driving performance, with the most efficient power-electric system in this platform,” said Albert Biermann, President of Hyundai Motor Group, in a Zoom presentation to journalists. “So to deliver in all aspects of driving level and performance, we thought it’s the right way to put the main motor on the rear axle, because this can also be a lot of fun.”

The new platform will use five-link suspension at the rear, which normally is reserved for larger vehicles, a motor that spins up to 70-per-cent faster than existing motors, and an integrated drive axle that combines wheel bearings with the drive shaft.

“We integrated it to improve stiffness and reduce weight,” said Young-Eon Ko, Vice-President of Hyundai’s Vehicle Architecture Integration Group. “It’s not about connecting the front and rear – it’s connecting to the wheel hub bearings.”

The extra power also means the E-GMP will be strong enough to charge other batteries and motors. It will include a charging control unit with a vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, capable even of charging another EV. It can supply up to 3.5 kW of power, which is enough to operate a mid-sized air conditioner and a TV for a day.

Hyundai's 45 Concept, first seen at this year’s Montreal and Toronto auto shows, is the basis of the Ioniq 5 crossover, which will go on sale next year.Courtesy of manufacturer

In the electric near-future, said Biermann, vehicles needing even more power, such as commercial trucks, are more likely to use hydrogen to power their electric batteries and motors. Hyundai is still actively working on the development of fuel-cell technology for them.

One advantage of the greater power potential is that it doesn’t always have to be applied to peak efficiency, said Biermann.

“Unlike the younger competitors in the EV business, on some of our models we are not focussing so much on aerodynamics. If you just focus on aerodynamics, then all the cars almost look the same. You can see them on the road already – they all look similar,” he said.

“But when our E-GMP vehicles will come on the road next year, you will see fantastic designs. We can afford to have maybe not the class-leading aerodynamics because we have such an efficient PE (power-electric) system. We have very creative engineering, so we can compensate a little bit for that.”

The first vehicle we’ll see with the E-GMP is the Ioniq 5, a mid-sized crossover based on the 45 Concept vehicle seen at this year’s Montreal and Toronto auto shows. That will come on sale next year, along with a new Kia model. The Ioniq 6 performance sedan is expected in 2022 and the Ioniq 7 full-size SUV in 2024.

Ioniq is now the dedicated nameplate for Hyundai’s fully-electric vehicles. Hyundai Motor Group owns Hyundai, Kia and Genesis, and the E-GMP will be used across the three brands, with the goal of selling a million BEVs globally by 2025.

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