NAVIGATING THE PATH AHEAD WITH NEXT-GENERATION BATTERIES

SEOUL, Feb. 2, 2024 — Most automakers today rely on procuring batteries from EV battery manufacturers. But Hyundai Motor Group (the Group) strives to take a more proactive approach than this by actively collaborating with battery manufacturers from the development stage. 


In this process of collaboration, battery manufacturers primarily concentrate on advancing battery technology, while the Group, which directly interacts with consumers, looks at developing battery technology that realizes customer value — batteries that are safe, easy to maintain and can be integrated into vehicles at the most reasonable price range.


Meticulous Coordination


When developing EVs, the Group first sets various performance targets for driving range, efficiency, power performance and charging time. It then determines factors like design, weight and aerodynamic coefficient, and accordingly calculates the required performance for components like electric motors, inverters and battery systems.


Just as the engine needs to be well-matched with the transmission in internal combustion vehicles, EVs also require meticulous coordination of drivetrain components such as electric motors, inverters and battery systems. This is so because each component has a close influence on one another. For instance, the inverter converts the battery’s direct current into alternating current to assist the operation of the electric motor, and the output of the electric motor is influenced by the voltage and current of the battery.


The Group’s battery roadmap, therefore, takes various factors into consideration while seeking to maintain technological leadership through ongoing research and development in all areas.

240202_NAVIGATING THE PATH AHEAD WITH NEXT-GENERATION BATTERIES_2

 

Investing in Innovation and Collaboration


In January 2022, the Group opened the HMG Battery Development Center, an integration of all the Group’s organizations related to battery development, including design, testing and advanced development. Over the following decade, the Group vowed to invest KRW 9.5 trillion for comprehensive research on cell and system design, hardware and software battery management system (BMS) as well as battery safety enhancement for EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids.


The HMG Battery Development Center sets its goal on becoming the “farthest, fastest and safest Smart Battery Solution Provider,” in line with the wider Group’s goal to become a “Smart Mobility Solution Provider.” Various external collaborative efforts are being undertaken in pursuit of this objective.


In partnership with Seoul National University, the Group launched a joint battery research center to conduct research on the advanced development of BMS and next-generation batteries. The Group is also collaborating with start-ups and major battery manufacturers like SK on and LG Energy Solution to foster joint research and secure manufacturing process technology.


As a result of recognizing the importance of a stable material supply for battery development and production, the Group has built a battery cell joint venture factory in Indonesia, allowing for convenient exports to the ASEAN region.


Further plans are in place to pursue supply contracts for lithium and establish a sustainable battery life cycle through waste battery collection and material recycling.

240202_NAVIGATING THE PATH AHEAD WITH NEXT-GENERATION BATTERIES_4

 

Breaking Barriers


Looking to the future of EV batteries, the Group is cooperating with specialized companies from around the world to advance the development of lithium-ion batteries. Research spans across improvements in stability, increased energy density for extended driving range, expanded output to shorten charging time and a reduction in production costs for wider distribution.


However, increasing the capacity of lithium-ion batteries alone is not enough to lead the future EV market. In this respect, the Group is accelerating the development of core technologies for next-generation batteries, focusing on three main directions.


The first is to increase the energy density of the battery cell, which means developing lithium metal battery technology that replaces graphite with lithium metal as the cathode material, which can theoretically store 10 times more energy than lithium-ion batteries.


The second endeavor centers around price reduction, where cobalt-free batteries can be a good illustration. Cobalt, although vital for durability, increases overall battery costs due to its high price. Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries are a prominent example of cobalt-free batteries. The Group aims to commercialize LFP batteries through joint research around 2025 to secure price competitiveness in the EV market.

240202_NAVIGATING THE PATH AHEAD WITH NEXT-GENERATION BATTERIES_3

 

The third development concentrates on the advancement of high-safety batteries to address the vulnerability of safety that comes with increased energy density. The development of solid-state batteries and research on thermal runaway prevention technology are expected to greatly change the course of battery technology.


The Group plans to pilot-produce EVs with all-solid-state batteries in 2025, with full-scale mass production to follow around 2030. The development of these next-generation batteries will play a crucial role in shaping the future of mobility, not only in EVs but also in robotics and advanced air mobility (AAM) applications.