Hyundai to replace Ioniq 5’s E-GMP platform with IMA by 2025, for 50% higher range, 40% lower cost
Hans · Mar 4, 2022 03:35 PM
The biggest difference between the Japanese and the Koreans is speed of execution, and related to that – their openness to drop something that they have invested a lot of money in to, if the benefits are obvious.
If Japanese business culture is defined by kaizen (continuous improvement), then Korean business culture is defined bypali pali (faster, faster). There's not much deep thought or philosophy behind Korean industries. It's all about trying to beat the Japanese by being better and faster than them, while staying ahead of the Chinese.
The most expensive cost in developing a new vehicle is its platform. It’s also why manufacturers try to spread out the cost by building multiple derivative models off the same platform. This way, the same basic architecture can spawn different models, allowing the manufacturer to sell more cars to a wider group of customers.
Typically, vehicle platforms – a loosely used term for a structure that defines where key hardware like steering rack, suspension, seatbelts, wire harness, crash protection structure are mounted – have a lifecycle of around 10 years.
The Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) was first announced in December 2020, before hitting the market in February 2021, first in the Ioniq 5, followed by the Kia EV6 in March, and the Genesis GV60 in September.
The most important feature in E-GMP is its dual 400V / 800 V support for ultra-fast DC charging. It’s something not even Mercedes-Benz or BMW can offer. The next closest example is the Porsche Taycan.
But even the Taycan can’t match Hyundai’s E-GMP’s V2L (vehicle-to-load), a feature that transforms a Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis EV into a giant power bank on wheels, capable of supplying up to 3.5 kW of power – enough to power a mid-sized air-conditioner and a 55-inch TV for 24 hours, delivered in either 110V / 220V.
On Wednesday, Hyundai announced that by 2025, it will replace the existing E-GMP platform with a new Integrated Modular Architecture (IMA).
The decision to replace E-GMP with IMA came less than 2 years after the former’s market introduction, that’s quite an intense pali pali going on in the background.
The announcement came from Hyundai Motor Company’s CEO Chang Jaehoon, at the company’s 2022 CEO Investor Day’ virtual forum.
Since it’s an announcement by Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) rather than the Hyundai Motor Group (CEO Chung Euisun), no reference was made for Kia but logically, the platform should also be extended to Kia, just like E-GMP.
Hyundai says IMA is an evolution of E-GMP, the difference being E-GMP is a standard chassis while IMA extends standardization to battery systems and motors (five options available) too.
HMC says “Unlike the existing BEV development system, which has different types of battery packs for each model, IMA can be equipped with standardized battery packs to attach flexibly regardless of the model to improve cost efficiency. Through the cell-to-pack system, the new architecture can secure sufficient energy density and shorten charging time.
“Standardized five type of motors also will be installed on IMA according to model needs. This modular motor system can secure competitiveness in terms of cost and weight as well as motor efficiency.”
CEO Chang explained that IMA is actually a group of platforms, consisting of IMA-eM for passenger cars and IMA-eS for purpose built vehicles (imagine an electric Staria that’s factory modified to be a school bus, or ambulance, etc).
For IMA-eM platform cars, support for B-pillarless design and swing door, along with swivel front seats are mentioned – easy-access features that will be appreciated by the elderly / wheelchair-bound.
More importantly, the new platform will improve driving range (Hyundai describes it as AER, for all-electric driving range) by 50 percent over the Ioniq 5, and reduce cost by 40 percent, due to new different cell-to-pack standardized battery format, more on that later.
Not much was mentioned about IMA-eS but CEO Chang says it’s a skateboard-type platform optimized for delivery vehicles and ride hailing. A rolling box was used as a visual for the presentation.
With IMA, Hyundai will also be replacing its current cell-to-module battery system for a standardized cell-to-pack setup.
The basics of EV battery construction’s hierarchy goes like this - cell to module to pack.
By skipping the middle ‘module’ stage and jumping directly into packs, manufacturers say they can pack more cells within the same pack, and eliminate unnecessary connectors to reduce weight.
Depending on model, one of 9 types of cell-to-pack batteries – including lithium cobalt manganese (NCM) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) ones – will be used.
Moving forward, Hyundai will be work on an even more advanced cell-to-frame type battery, meaning that the battery will be part of the vehicle chassis, as opposed to being bolted onto the chassis.