Hyundai Taps California Firm for Joint EV Platform

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
hyundai taps california firm for joint ev platform

Developing a new vehicle platform in-house is an expensive affair, making the cost of producing an electric vehicle from the ground up a heavy weight to place on an automaker’s balance sheet. Margins for such vehicles are currently slim, if not nonexistent. No wonder everyone’s trying to free up cash.

And yet, because the world has decided EVs are the future, automakers can’t be without them. Ford recently partnered with Michigan startup Rivian to source a platform for an upcoming Lincoln crossover, and now Hyundai has followed suit.

Hyundai and Canoo. Best buddies.

It’s not entirely an off-someone-else’s-shelf proposition. Hyundai has forged an agreement with California-based EV tech startup Canoo to jointly develop a new EV platform from the firm’s existing “skateboard” architecture. Rivian, you’ll recall, has a skateboard of its own, and it’s not shy about letting others use it.

Last September, Canoo slid the platform beneath a box-like EV it intends to sell via a subscription model in 2021.

“As part of the collaboration, Canoo will provide engineering services to help develop a fully scalable, all-electric platform to meet Hyundai and Kia specifications,” Hyundai said in a release.

“Hyundai Motor Group expects the platform to help facilitate its commitment to delivering cost-competitive electrified vehicles — ranging from small-sized EVs to Purpose Built Vehicles (PBV) — that meet diverse customer needs.”

As Hyundai has earned a lasting reputation as a purveyor of value-laden models, a steep markup for a so-badged EV model wouldn’t jibe with the brand’s credo. The current Ioniq Electric is certainly among the cheapest EVs on the market, but one compact hatch — joined by the Kona EV subcompact crossover last year — won’t cut it going into the 2020s. Corporate sibling Kia Motors hosts a similar amount of electrification in its showrooms.

Both brands will have to up the ante to reach Hyundai Motor Group’s goal of drawing 25 percent of its sales from green vehicles by 2025.

The automaker said it “expects an adaptable all-electric platform using Canoo’s scalable skateboard architecture to allow for a simplified and standardized development process for Hyundai and Kia electrified vehicles, which is expected to help reduce cost that can be passed along to consumers.”

Hyundai didn’t mention when the first Canoo-based vehicle might make it to production.

[Image: Canoo]

Join the conversation
5 of 12 comments
  • R Henry R Henry on Feb 13, 2020

    Confused here. ...All this blather about "skateboards" and an accompanying illustration of what is most certainly a frame. Am I to understand that there is a going to be a resurgence of Body on Frame construction for EVs, or are these terms, and illustrations, being used as visual shortcuts for highly versatile, yet difficult to visualize unibody/monocoque style "platforms?"

    • See 2 previous
    • Bernardpaulmanley Bernardpaulmanley on Feb 14, 2020

      It is more than a frame. This is where the battery pack lives. I believe they need to be protected to from damage. Makes for lower center of gravity too.

  • R Henry R Henry on Feb 13, 2020


  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion:
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?