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Hyundai partners with Canoo to develop EV platform for upcoming Hyundai, Kia models

Canoo is a young company. It has only been around for just over a year.

Photo courtesy of Canoo

Rivian has developed a large electric vehicle skateboard platform that can be used for a variety of vehicles. The company is using it on their own R1T and R1S and has sold it to Ford for use as the underpinnings for an all-electric F-150.

Hyundai Motor Group has announced a partnership with Canoo to jointly develop an electric vehicle (EV) platform based on Canoo's proprietary skateboard design for upcoming Hyundai and Kia models.

Cannoo skateboard Canoo's skateboard is designed to be suitable for mass market adoption.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

"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," said Albert Biermann, Head of Research & Development, Hyundai Motor Group. "We will collaborate with Canoo engineers to develop a cost-effective Hyundai platform concept that is autonomous ready and suitable for mass adoption."

The skateboard will be fully scalable all-electric platform to meet Hyundai and Kia specifications. It will fit a range of models from small-sized EVs to purpose built vehicles.

Platforms currently made by Canoo are designed to house most of the critical powertrain components of an electrical vehicle. Because the company focuses on minimalist functionality, they are able to create lower-cost skateboard than their competition. This design strategy fits into Hyundai's budget-focused business model.

Hyundai Motor Group recently committed to invest $87 billion over the next five years to foster alternative powertrain growth. As part of this drive, Hyundai plans to invest $52 billion in future technologies through 2025, while Kia will invest $25 billion USD in electrification and future mobility technologies, aiming for eco-friendly vehicles to comprise 25 percent of its total sales by 2025.

Canoo is relatively new to the market. The company unveiled its first electric vehicle (for subscription only) on September 24, 2019, just 19 months after the company's founding in December 2017. Canoo's first vehicle will launch in 2021.

Hyundai has partnered with Hyundai to help spread the word about the power of hydrogen.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Company

Hyundai Motor Company is convinced that the future of powertrains is hydrogen, not battery electric vehicles. To help promote their stance, and help others see that hydrogen is the way to go, Hyundai has enlisted the help of K-Pop supergroup BTS.

The company produced a five-minute film starring BTS and the pro-hydrogen messaging that made its world debut last night in Times Square one the billboard at the Marriott Marquis hotel. The film was screened recurrently for an hour between 7-8 p.m.

The film consisted of the seven members of BTS using hand-written messages to describe the beauty of Mother Nature and the importance of preserving and protecting the environment. Some of the imagery brought forth included forests, sky, snow, and waves.

That messaging was shown alongside the Hyundai Nexo, the automaker's hydrogen-powered SUV, which emits water vapor from its tailpipe instead of pollutants. The powertrain of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles don't require the level of highly pollutant mining that is required to produce battery electric vehicles like the Tesla Model X.

"With this captivating film, Hyundai Motor highlights its dedication to sustainable mobility and eco-friendly lifestyles," said Wonhong Cho, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Hyundai Motor. "We encourage our customers, fans and people around the world to take inspiration from the film to live in harmony with nature."

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BTS had previously been named Hyundai Global Brand Ambassadors. As part of their ongoing partnership with the brand, they arrived at the Grammy Awards on January 26 in a Nexo. They've also starred in a campaign for the Hyundai Palisade.

The power of hydrogen has started to become more of a talking point within the automotive industry. Toyota is also a big proponent of the fuel and has promised to built a 145-acre prototype city that runs on the gas a the base of Mt. Fuji. The Japanese company recently debuted the second generation of their Mirai sedan, which runs exclusively on hydrogen power.

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Nikola, a new vehicle manufacturer, recently debuted its hydrogen-powered pickup truck designed in tandem with Heavy D from the "Diesel Brothers" TV show, the Nikola Badger.

Starting February 26, seven different clips from the five-minute film – each featuring a BTS member and a special message about the environment – will be uploaded on Hyundai Motor's social media platforms: @hyundai.lifestyle for Instagram and @hyundaiworldwide for YouTube.

Until the end of April, fans can also upload their own pictures about protecting nature on their individual Instagram accounts with hashtags #MyCleanNature and #BecauseofYou, for a chance to win various offers and prizes. More information about the campaign is available on the company's website: www.hyundai.com/worldwide.

There have been four-, five, and six-speed transmissions. All the way up to 10-speeds. Now, there's the world's first predictive shifting technology that combines traditional transmission functionality with smart computing that takes into account road conditions and the flow of traffic to shit into the right gear. By optimizing gearing, vehicles can have improved fuel economy and less wear on a their mechanical elements including the brakes.

Called the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Connected Shift System, the technology employs intelligent software in the Transmission Control Unit that collects and interprets real-time input from underlying technologies, including 3D navigation equipped with a precise map of the road as well as cameras and radar for smart cruise control. The automakers say that the 3D navigation input includes "elevation, gradient, curvature and a variety of road events as well as current traffic conditions. This occurs while radar detects the speed and distance between the vehicle and others, and a forward-looking camera provides lane information."

Hyundai Kia  ICT Connected Shift System graph chart how it works The ICT Connected Shift System uses a variety of intelligent technologies to perform tasks.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Using these inputs, the system uses an artificial intelligence algorithm and shifts the gears accordingly. During testing, on curved roads the frequency of shifting was reduced 43 percent compared to vehicles without the system. It also reduced the frequency of brake usage by 11 percent.

Engine brakes are applied when an accelerator pedal is released when speed bumps are ahead, when downhill slopes emerge, and when the speed limit changes.

Currently, many vehicles feature a variety of drive modes that adjust shifting, suspension, and acceleration. This system is the first use of that technology with intelligent learning.

During the system development, the companies filed around 40 patents in South Korea and abroad.

The ICT Connected Shift System is just a step in the automakers' intelligent transmission technology development. They're working to develop the intelligence for the system to work with LTE and 5G communication to interact with traffic signals. However, this technology faces a major obstacle for use in daily driver scenarios because of the heavy investment required by municipalities to adopt that level of technology.

"Vehicles are evolving beyond simple mobility devices into smart mobility solutions," said Byeong Wook Jeon, Head of Intelligent Drivetrain Control Research Lab. "Even a traditional area of the automobile, such as the powertrain, is becoming a high-tech technology optimized for smart mobility through efforts to integrate ICT and artificial intelligence technologies."

The ICT Connected Shift System has not yet deployed to vehicles but the companies are planning to advance it in that direction as the technology evolves.