Hyundai Motor Company was selected as the ‘Outstanding Firm’ at the Mobility Awards 2020 by Forbes, an American global economic magazine. Last year, it was recognized for being the most outstanding among all mobility companies in the world. For your reference, Forbes awarded grand prizes in a total of six categories, including the company of the year, people, and products, in various fields such as fintech, science, education, and celebrity, as well as the mobility industry.
Forbes read, ‘Sure, 2020 will be remembered as the year of the pandemic, but it was also a vibrant period in transportation’s ongoing revolution, with ambitious entrepreneurs rolling out innovations in electric vehicles, self-driving and sensor tech, and delivery services.’ This is why Hyundai winning the award becomes more meaningful than ever.
According to the magazine, ‘Korean automaker Hyundai Motor, along with its affiliate Kia, invested aggressively in advanced transportation throughout 2020. Led by new chairman Euisun Chung, the industrial powerhouse made big bets on hydrogen, battery-electric vehicles, self-driving tech, cutting-edge air-taxi developers, and startups like Arrival, and it even bought famed robot maker Boston Dynamics.’ The proactive actions to cope with the rapidly changing market conditions drew positive reviews.
Another organization highly appreciated Hyundai Motor’s activities last year; earlier, Interbrand, a global brand consulting firm, ranked Hyundai Motor Company in the fifth place in the automotive category for the first time in the top 100 brands worldwide. Interbrand praised Hyundai Motor Company’s active response to market changes, such as the launch of the electric vehicle brand IONIQ, and the expansion of hydrogen-electric vehicle sales. Forbes and Interbrand took a closer look at investment activities by sectors that they recognized as the key to raising the brand value of Hyundai, such as electric vehicles, hydrogen-electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and robotics.
Hydrogen energy accelerates the construction of an ecosystem with the start of a large hydrogen-electric truck
For Hyundai, 2020 was the first year to lay the foundation for the hydrogen economy. First of all, Hyundai launched Exient (fuel cell), the world’s first large-scale hydrogen-electric truck last year, and exported it to Switzerland and the Middle East, presenting a new paradigm in the global eco-friendly commercial vehicle market. If Nexo was a model that announced the role and significance of hydrogen-electric vehicles, the Exient Hydrogen Electric Truck, a commercial vehicle with much long-distance driving, is the vanguard of building a hydrogen ecosystem.
Furthermore, Hyundai has also formed cooperative relationships with government agencies and companies in each country to build a global hydrogen energy society. In the United States, the company has decided to cooperate with the Department of Energy, a federal ministry responsible for energy-related policies and future energy research and development. By sharing the empirical analysis data secured by the operation of hydrogen-electric vehicles and hydrogen charging stations, the company plans to develop their hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cell technology, and also to increase its utilization in other industries.
The automaker also decided to work with Australia’s largest research organization, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and Fortescue Metal Group Ltd, the world’s fourth-largest iron ore producer. By commercializing the technology to extract high-purity hydrogen from ammonia, it will enable the global supply of clean hydrogen and accelerate the popularization of hydrogen-electric vehicles. In addition, it plans to make hydrogen products and discover new businesses that utilize hydrogen infrastructure.
To expand the global hydrogen ecosystem, Hyundai Motor Company also joined with Ineos, a global chemical company in the UK. This is to promote the expansion of public and private sector projects through the hydrogen energy value chain. In addition, in China, the automaker has decided to build a hydrogen-electric commercial vehicle market with local partners in major regions such as Shanghai and Beijing. It is a strategy to accelerate the realization of a global hydrogen economy society through collaboration with major organizations and companies around the world.
Electric vehicles transforming into truly eco-friendly mobility
Hyundai Motor Company continues to invest in electric vehicles as well as hydrogen energy for the transition to eco-friendly mobility, because they will also be the core of future eco-friendly vehicles. Accordingly, Hyundai Motor Company is planning to release the Ioniq 5, the first model of the electric vehicle brand IONIQ in 2021. Ionic 5 is based on E-GMP, Hyundai Motor Group’s latest electric vehicle platform.
In addition, Hyundai Motor Company has cooperated without hesitation if it has advanced technology even if it is a small startup. For example, it has invested 80 million euros in British commercial electric vehicle startup Arrival (an additional 20 million euros for Kia) and is working together to facilitate production technology and a commercial electric vehicle van platform specialized for last-mile delivery.
Self-driving technology: Efforts to realize fully autonomous driving, the ultimate connected-car
Hyundai poured its heart to realize the future mobility of autonomous vehicles. A good example is Motional, an autonomous mobility company that was officially launched last year. Motional is a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv, which is to develop autonomous vehicles with world-class performance and safety. Hyundai Motor Company plans to develop and commercialize self-driving technology at Level 4 (based on the Society of Automotive Engineers in the U.S.) to respond to most situations on the road through Motional. It has already entered the testing phase last year and is expected to supply supporting technology to robotaxies and mobility companies in 2022.
In addition, Hyundai has solidified its relationship with Nvidia, a leading company in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) computing technology; for the field of connected cars, the automaker must take precedence over all others to realize autonomous vehicles. Since connected cars provide a variety of information and content, including real-time traffic information for navigation, it is an indispensable technology in future mobility using autonomous driving. Hyundai Motor Group and NVIDIA decided to expand cooperation to develop a computing system, a core technology for connected cars, to process large amounts of information simultaneously.
Robotics, a new concept of mobility that has never been realized
Hyundai is also actively developing a new concept of mobility that is different from the existing cars. It is in the process of devising new mobility that goes beyond the existing ideas and limitations through robotics technology. To this end, Hyundai Motor Company launched New Horizons Studio in September. New Horizons Studio is a future mobility development organization that embodies the key areas of future mobility. A typical example is robotics; New Horizons Studio is conducting a variety of research and development on a new concept of mobility that can make the whole life look better using robotics, and the first project is the Elevate concept.
In the same context, Hyundai recently acquired Boston Dynamics, the world’s best technology for robot development and manufacturing. Previously, the Hyundai Motor Group selected robotics as the field for future innovation growth and announced that 20% of its total business would be in the robotics field. With the addition of Boston Dynamics, Hyundai Motor Company is expected to continue its progress in future mobility, logistics, and humanoid robots.
Forbes Forecast 2021: The hydrogen age begins
Forbes praised Hyundai Motor’s innovation activities through an award that organizes the year 2020. The magazine believes that the automaker is preparing more thoroughly than any other companies in future technology fields such as hydrogen energy, electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and robotics. Forbes also added a forecast for 2021; ‘hydrogen is poised to make a big impact as a power source for heavy-duty vehicles and energy storage in 2021 and beyond. Improvements in fuel cells that turn the universe’s most abundant element into electricity―and more efficient ways to make hydrogen from water and renewable energy―have dozens of startups and giants making big plans for electric vehicles,’ added Forbes. Hyundai produced the world’s first hydrogen-electric vehicle as the ‘first mover’ of the hydrogen economy and is developing the core capabilities of hydrogen fuel cells.
Hyundai Motor Company’s plan for the hydrogen society is already being implemented step by step; it will establish an annual production system of 500,000 hydrogen-electric vehicles in 2030 and cooperate with governments and global companies. Therefore, 2021 is expected to be a year for further growth of the value of the company.
In order to become a future mobility solution provider, Hyundai Motor Company is devoting all its capabilities to electric vehicles, autonomous driving technology, and robotics along with hydrogen energy.