The E-GMP will be the basis of Hyundai and Kia’s next-gen electric cars
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
Hyundai has officially taken the wraps off its electric vehicle development plans, and revealed that the next-generation Hyundai Motor Group EVs will be built around its new E-GMP platform.
The brand also announced that it aims to have 23 electric vehicles in its lineup by 2025, and up to half of the projected new models will be built on the E-GMP platform.
In a virtual press conference led by Hyundai head of R&D Albert Biermann, and the senior vice president of the Vehicle Architecture Development Center Fayez Abdul Rahman, the brand outlined its plans for the all-electric, modular E-GMP chassis.
What is the E-GMP?
It’s Hyundai’s own modular platform that’s been optimised for building full electric vehicles on. Think of it as a big, flat deck with front and rear wheel suspension components bolted on at both ends, and you have a good idea of what it looks like.
Within the very stiff and well protected deck are all the battery packs the car will need. The electric motor to drive the wheels will primarily be mounted in a rear-midship configuration, meaning that it’ll be at the back of the car, but still ahead of the rear wheels.
Current petrol and diesel powered cars tend to feature more complicated chassis parts and packaging issues, as you need to fit a large engine, gearbox, and fuel tank into a strong frame that has torsional rigidity but still have interior space for passengers.
A fully electric car only needs to fit battery packs and the motor assembly into a platform to be viable.
Other brands have shown off variations of this ‘skateboard’ platform in the current-generation electric cars, but Hyundai has gone further to explain why its E-GMP platform will be efficient, cost-friendly, and versatile.
Just how versatile is the E-GMP platform?
It’s made of essentially three sub-assemblies: the front steering and suspension unit, the middle deck, and the rear suspension along with the motor mounts. It’s incredibly flat like a bed frame, and on top of this a car designer can theoretically sculpt anything he fancies.
By varying the length and widths of the three main sub-assemblies, Hyundai claims that the same architecture can be used to build anything from compact hatchbacks to large SUVs.
Young Eun Ko, Hyundai’s VP of Vehicle Architecture and Platform Development, explained, “The E-GMP platform is highly versatile and can be quickly reconfigured to meet market needs, allowing us to accelerate the initial design phase of a vehicle. While they will all use a standardised electrical power transfer system, the actual battery chemistries are not fixed. We can use any viable battery chemistry in the E-GMP platform.”
The architecture is by default rear-wheel drive, though a four-wheel drive version is also viable. Hyundai states that it chose the rear-wheel drive route by default because the system is capable of some very high performance figures.
Albert Biermann was once the VP for BMW’s M division from 2008 to 2014, so he knows a thing or two about powerful rear-wheel driven cars. Now the head of R&D at Hyundai, he elaborated, “As it stands, the E-GMP platform has a maximum possible length of around five metres and a maximum wheelbase of more than three metres. Maximum power from Hyundai’s high output electric motor is rated at 600 horsepower at this stage, so the brand’s roadmap does include some high performance electric cars in the near future. A front-wheel drive system cannot put this much power to the ground, so in the interests of driving dynamics, we start from a rear-wheel drive model and will expand from there.”
Note that this doesn’t actually mean that we will only see 2WD electric cars first before 4WD. What Biermann points out is that the system is optimised for both rear and four-wheel drive, right from the get-go. 4WD systems will have dual motors, with a second unit mounted ahead of the passenger compartment to drive the front wheels
How safe is it?
Detractors of electric cars often point to the danger of having a full deck of highly flammable chemicals beneath the passenger compartment. As to this, Young Eun Ko noted, “The front and rear crumple zones, like that of current mass production cars, are retained in this system. The battery case and deck is made out of very strong hot stamped steel with reinforcement bars at key points, and the entire battery case is permanently connected to the centre of the vehicle so that it will not detach in an accident.”
Like much of the competition, the design allows for the use of individual battery pouches to power the motor. In the rare event of individual battery pack failure the faulty units can be replaced without major hassle. The platform is also future-proofed to accept solid state batteries.
How can the E-GMP platform improve cabin ergonomics?
Current vehicles with internal combustion engines are typically a jumble of pipes, tanks, and shafts that need to be routed with some compromise while designing a car.
An all-electric platform has no exhaust pipe, so the centre transmission hump that runs lengthwise in most cars can be totally eliminated. The absence of an engine in the front, along with its associated plumbing, allows designers to physically move the air-conditioning condenser out from the cabin, freeing up more interior space.
Hyundai has in fact stated that on E-GMP cars the air-conditioning system will reside under the bonnet rather than behind the dashboard, which allows designers to dramatically reduce the thickness of the centre console.
How much power does it have?
Of course the answer is that it will vary depending on the application, but for most standard setups it is expected to have a range of around 500km. A powerful multi-charging system will allow for an 800v charge input, which can theoretically put in an 80 percent charge in just 18 minutes.
Once again, it is up to individual countries to build charging infrastructures to keep pace with technology, but the E-GMP platform is built with some future proofing in mind.
While no specific power figures were revealed, it was noted that in performance configuration an E-GMP based car can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in less than 3.5 seconds.
Another interesting point is that the platform has also been designed to work as a massive powerbank, allowing users to power various electrical devices from the car’s battery pack anywhere you go. It can also be used in reverse charge mode to recharge another car.
What cars will use the E-GMP platform?
The Hyundai Motor Group has announced an ambitious plan to sell one million BEVs worldwide by 2025. It includes cars from its Kia and Genesis brands as well so that may not be such a far off figure to achieve.
The first E-GMP platform vehicle is expected to go into production by mid-2021, and while manufacturing is currently taking place only in South Korea, Hyundai has stated that it is not ruling out the possibility of building them in its other factories round the world.
Hyundai had earlier launched its dedicated Ioniq BEV brand in August 2020, and planned for the Ioniq 5, 6 and 7 to be built by 2024. It has been officially confirmed that the Ioniq 5 will be built on the E-GMP platform, and it is likely that the later models will be too.
Kia has also recently announced that it will build seven dedicated BEV models to be released sequentially by 2027 and given the longer timeframe, we expect that most of them will be built on the E-GMP platform as well.