Hyundai: Evolving Electric Vehicles in Manufacturing
Earlier this year, Hyundai began to work with electric start-up Canoo to provide engineering services to help develop a fully scalable, all-electric platform to meet Hyundai and Kia specifications. Hyundai aims for the platform to help facilitate its drive to deliver cost-competitive electrified vehicles - ranging from small-sized EVs to PBVs - that meet diverse customer requirements.
The South-Korea based car manufacturer, Hyundai, expects an adaptable all-electric platform using Canoo’s scalable skateboard architecture to allow for a simplified and standardised development process for Hyundai and Kia electrified vehicles, which is also thought to help reduce cost that can be passed along to consumers. In addition, Hyundai aims to reduce complexity of its EV assembly line, allowing for rapid response to changing market demands and customer preferences.
Hyundai plans to invest over US$87bn over the next few years to foster further growth. As part of the drive, Hyundai aims to invest around US$52bn in future technologies through 2025, while Kia is set to invest US$25bn in electrification and future mobility technologies, aiming for eco-friendly vehicles to consist of 25% of its total sales by 2025.
Albert Biermann, Head of Research and Development at Hyundai, commented: “We were highly impressed by the speed and efficiency in which Canoo developed their innovative EV architecture, making them the perfect engineering partner for us as we transition to become a frontrunner in the future mobility industry. We will collaborate with Canoo engineers to develop a cost-effective Hyundai concept that is autonomous ready and suitable for mass adoption.”
Elsewhere in 2020, Hyundai and Kia invested US$116mn in UK manufacturer Arrival. This partnership allows Hyundai and Kia to leverage Arrival technologies to develop electric vehicles.
Arrival is developing Generation 2 electric vehicles, which differ from Generation 1 as they are adapted from fossil fuel vehicles and have been designed from scratch. They are more efficient in terms of cost, design and efficiency, according to Arrival. They are assembled in micro factories, small factories that have a smaller footprint and are located near areas of demand which means they are cheaper to run and are more energy efficient.
“The eco-friendly vehicle market in Europe is expected to grow rapidly due to reinforcement of environmental regulations,” added Biermann. “Through the joint development of commercial electric vehicles with Arrival, we will be able to gain a competitive advantage and progressively establish our leadership in the global eco-friendly vehicle market.”
Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories
Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy
Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too.
"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "
In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).
By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."
2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction
Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.
2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening
Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year.
2017: Giga New York begins production
Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.
2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time
In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.
2019: Giga Berlin begins construction
Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.
2020: Giga Texas begins construction
The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.
2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction
Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.