Hyundai signs development deal with another electric vehicle start-up

12 February 2020 - 08:04 By Reuters
Hyundai has announced that it will jointly develop electric vehicles with California start-up Canoo.
Hyundai has announced that it will jointly develop electric vehicles with California start-up Canoo.
Image: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co broadened its future transportation portfolio with an agreement to jointly develop electric vehicles with California start-up Canoo, the companies said on Tuesday.

It was the second such deal announced in recent weeks by Hyundai and sister company Kia Motors Corp, which in mid-January said it would invest $110m (about R1,6bn) in UK start-up Arrival and jointly develop electric commercial vehicles.

In Seoul, a Hyundai spokesperson said the automaker's partnership with two-year-old Canoo would focus on smaller electric passenger vehicles about the size of its Accent compact.

Like Arrival, Canoo has developed a “skateboard”, a low-rise platform that bundles batteries and electric motors with such chassis components as steering, brakes, wheels and tyres, on which a variety of body types can be built.

Late last year, Canoo revealed its “post-SUV” model, based on its electric-vehicle skateboard and intended to be marketed to individuals and fleets by subscription.

Hyundai has been investing heavily in recent months in a variety of future transportation ventures, notably a $4bn (about R59bn) joint venture with auto supplier Aptiv, announced in September, to develop self-driving vehicles and systems.

Those investments are part of a sweeping five-year, $87bn (roughly R1,2tn) plan to ramp up the automaker's expertise and activity in electrification, automation and related services.

Previously, Hyundai and Kia had made a number of transportation-related investments, including in Silicon Valley self-driving start-up Aurora and ride-service start-ups Ola in India and Grab in Singapore. Hyundai and Kia last year invested $89m (about R1,3bn) in Rimac Automobili, a nine-year-old Croatian company that aspires to build electric supercars and which is also backed by Porsche AG.