Canoo, Hyundai Partner on Electric Vehicle

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Hyundai has its sights set squarely on the electric vehicle start-up world. Despite designing and building its own EVs – including the Ioniq Electric and the Soul EV from corporate sibling Kia – the South Korean automaker announced today that it will co-develop a new all-electric platform for future EVs with the Los Angeles-based Canoo. The new platform will be used in both Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

  • Today’s announcement is the second this year where Hyundai and Kia say they will work with a start-up to develop EVs.
  • Hyundai recently said it would invest 100 million euros into the relatively unknown EV start-up Arrival and that Hyundai and Kia would jointly develop electric vehicles using Arrival’s platforms.
  • The appeal seems to be the skateboard architecture both Canoo and Arrival have to offer.

Canoo Electric Vehicle SkateboardCanoo’s electric vehicle “skateboard” packages the entire battery pack and electric drive system within a rolling chassis. (Photo: Canoo)

Strange bedfellows

On the face of it, the pairing is surprising. Canoo, founded in 2017, is still testing its first vehicle, a pod-shaped EV that was designed for the company’s subscription-only service model. It’s unlikely Hyundai or Kia would want to offer a such a bean-like car, but Canoo has made it clear that the self-contained skateboard platform can be used with any style of cabin design – and therein lies the opportunity.

Something about the underlying design must be solid, as Hyundai says it was impressed with how quickly Canoo developed its innovative EV architecture. Hyundai Motor Group’s head of research and development, Albert Biermann, called Canoo “the perfect engineering partner for us as we transition to become a frontrunner in the future mobility industry,” in the statement announcing the new partnership. Biermann said Hyundai and Canoo engineers will collaborate to develop a “cost-effective Hyundai platform concept that is autonomous ready and suitable for mass adoption.”


Canoo can expect a lot more attention for its upcoming subscription EV thanks to this new partnership, and if Hyundai is right that the start-up offers something that its own engineers cannot, then it will benefit from the deal as well. How this interacts with the similar partnership with Arrival is something we’ll look into down the road.

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