Hyundai and Kia Partner with Canoo for Its Skateboard EV Architecture
Startup Canoo gets a huge deal from a major automaker to co-develop its electric-car architecture
When we first saw the Canoo EV prototype in 2019, the car you can't actually buy, it was hard not to dismiss it as just another transportation pod from an unknown automotive startup. Recently, our pals at MotorTrend had the chance to ask Tesla co-founder Elon Musk for his thoughts on the newest player in the electric space. His response to the company planning to coax users into subscribing to—not purchasing—its car? To paraphrase, "Never heard of 'em." But one major automaker has heard of them, and is taking Canoo very seriously—so much so that it's partnering with the startup and plans to use its platform for future EVs.
That automaker is Hyundai Motor Group, parent company of the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands. Canoo and Hyundai will jointly develop an all-electric skateboard platform based on the one underpinning the Canoo EV pod. The scalable platform will be used for future electric Hyundai and Kia models as well as Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBVs, or mobility pods like the Canoo). The collaboration will produce a platform that can support EVs both large and small.
By partnering with Canoo for its flexible EV platform, Hyundai hopes to reduce costs and complexity across its EV lineup. As Volkswagen has demonstrated with its MEB architecture, common component sets offer designers and product planners a flexible blank canvas, meaning niche, low-volume products like sports cars and retro dune buggies become much more viable when they share bits with higher-volume efforts. Hyundai says the scalable platform will allow for "rapid response to changing market demands and customer preferences," too.
Hyundai Motor Group recently said it plans to invest $87 billion in future growth over the next five years, including $52 billion in future technologies for the Hyundai brand and $25 billion in electrification and future mobility for Kia. By 2025, Hyundai-Kia hopes eco-friendly vehicles, including EVs, will account for 25 percent of its total sales. So, while people might not have heard of Canoo before—not the watercraft, obviously—they probably will if this deal with Hyundai ultimately sees the company's platform underpinning potentially millions of Hyundai and Kia products.