Hyundai Promises New EV Platform That Won't Have Terrible Range

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

If you feel like you’ve had your fill of news relating to electric cars, you’re not alone. Sadly, that’s just about all the industry is willing to let out of the bag right now. Whether you’re trying to pump staffers for information using sweet talk or waggling a crowbar in front of their face, they don’t have much else to discuss ahead of the holidays.

But that doesn’t mean there can’t be good news. Hyundai Motor Group, one of the few manufacturers that (mostly) hasn’t left us clenching our teeth when announcing decisions, has announced it’s building an all-new, electric platform that won’t have a laughably pathetic rang e. Unveiled in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) promises sports-car levels of acceleration, outstanding flexibility, and production models boasting ranges in excess of 300 miles.

While perhaps not the 400+ miles we’d all like to see on a vehicle type that can take hours to charge, it’s a step in the right direction and we doubt the brand is envisioning something with steep pricing. As things currently stand, the Kona Electric comes in Hyundai’s most-expensive product at $37,190 before destination. Other models, including the brand’s PHEV Sonata sedan, Ioniq EV, and eight-passenger (gasoline) Palisade SUV, all cost thousands less. The only exception is the $58,735 Nexo Fuel Cell — which is powered by hydrogen, exclusive to California, and probably not on your radar.

However, it and the rest of Hyundai’s offerings utilizing non-traditional powertrains may soon see themselves outclassed. The automaker said E-GMP had been designed specifically to deliver long-range, dynamic driving, and minimal energy consumption. Hyundai estimated ranges of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) on a full battery and 80-percent recharge times in as little as 18 minutes — assuming you can find the applicable fast charger.

That’s pretty good and will be great if those figures are consistent with an array of desirable models utilizing the E-GMP architecture. Better still, Hyundai said it was targeting the platform for larger products and suggested something roughly the size of the 196-inch-long Palisade was already under consideration. But the first unit to tap into the new architecture (which uses an entirely new battery pack and motor) will be the midsize Ioniq 5 crossover scheduled to debut next year. It’s to be followed by a related Kia SUV before branching out into other segments and the Genesis nameplate. If engineers can maintain anything close to the 310-mile range, it would easily outclass the present e-offerings from numerous high-end European brands. Meanwhile, General Motors’ modular Ultium system is promising ranges of up to 450 miles — but only on vehicles equipped with especially large (see: more expensive) battery packs.

The only overt downer is the estimates being on the WLTP test cycle, meaning they’ll translate into something smaller once the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency runs its own analysis. We’re also always a little skeptical of estimates in general since they never seem to get any larger over time.

Dynamics are said to be improved by a new five-link rear suspension and Hyundai’s integrated drive axle — which it claimed would be the first to be mass-produced. From what we can tell, the axle integrates wheel bearings into the driveshaft and creates a smoother experience. As such, all E-GMP products will be rear-wheel drive by default. But Hyundai says it’ll also be building twin-motor vehicles with AWD.

That rear bias is also supposed to help the manufacturer build performance-oriented EVs, one of which is already rumored to be in development. Under idyllic circumstances, the company estimated E-GMP is capable of 0-100 kph (0-62mph) in less than 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 161 mph.

[Image: Hyundai Motor Group]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Redgolf Redgolf on Dec 03, 2020

    "because I will probably rent for long trips anyway." My thoughts also! Plus the wife hates road trips.;-(

  • Ajla Ajla on Dec 03, 2020

    Comparing DOT holiday driving statistics in nonCovid years to the size of the rental fleet, there aren't enough rental cars (or ariplanes) to go around. The rental car idea also won't work out if new ICE cars are banned between 2030 and 2035, although ideally the ranges on affordable EVs will be in the 400+ mile level by then. Obviously YMMV but I like taking road trips with my personal car, it is one of my buying criteria. Plus, even if I did decide to make the lifestyle change and rent a car for any longer trips that means I'd want something like an EV Evora as my personal car not a practical thing like a Model Y. I can accept needing to charge a 300 mile EV during trips but I need to be very confident that finding an available and functioning plug will be easy.

  • Geozinger Put in the veggie garden (Western Michigan, we still can get frost this late in the year) finished the remainder of the landscaping updates and hand washed both my beater Pontiac and the Town and Country! Going to the beach today...
  • Rochester I wouldn't obsess over the rate of change, it's happening whether we want it or not.
  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.