Hyundai and Kia are investing €100m (£85m) in a partnership with British EV start-up Arrival to develop eco-friendly vans and other products for logistics, and ride hailing. Of the total investment, Hyundai will contribute €80m and Kia €20m.
In Europe, Hyundai and Kia are mostly known for their passenger cars, but in the rest of the world, Hyundai has an extensive range of commercial vehicles, from vans to lorries. The only LCV the brand currently markets in the UK is the iLoad medium van.
The new EVs will be based on Arrival’s scalable ‘skateboard’ platform and its in-house software, materials, components and other technologies. The company calls its vehicles ‘Generation 2’ vehicles, as they are developed from the ground up as electric vehicles, rather than based on an internal combustion vehicle platform and converted to use electric power.
Arrival was founded in 2015 and already has production plants and R&D centres in the UK, Germany, Singapore, Russia and the US. It’s carrying out pilot projects with a number of logistics companies, including Royal Mail.
By working with Arrival, Hyundai and Kia plan to supply eco-friendly vans and buses – built in volume and based on Arrival’s platform – to European logistics companies, as well as mobility companies that provide on-demand ride-hailing and shuttle services.
Hyundai and Kia’s plan to make electric vans ties in with their intention to make ‘purpose-built vehicles’ or PBVs, a type of autonomous shuttle for future mobility.
Albert Biermann, president and head of Hyundai’s research and development division, and Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Arrival, signed the contract at the headquarters of Hyundai and Kia in Seoul.
Biermann said: “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.”
Sverdlov added: “Arrival has created a game changing product category – Generation 2.0 electric vehicles.
“Hyundai and Kia have been making amazing vehicles with uncompromising quality and share our vision for an electric mobility future. Our strategic partnership with Hyundai and Kia means we will scale Generation 2 electric vehicles globally and importantly, in the very near future.”