In September 2019, Hyundai and Kia decided to make a strategic investment in IONITY, which specializes in supplying high-speed charging infrastructures for EVs in Europe. And the European Commission of EU finally approved it a year later, and Hyundai and Kia acquired a 20 percent stake in IONITY, which makes Hyundai and Kia have the same shares as the four automakers – BMW Group, Daimler AG, Volkswagen Group, and Ford. These companies jointly promoted the establishment of IONITY, marching for their increased EV sales in Europe.
“With the addition of Hyundai and Kia, we welcome aboard a committed partner with international experience in the field of electric mobility,” says Michael Hajesch, CEO of IONITY. “From today, we will jointly pursue the goal of educating people about e-mobility and promoting innovations in this area in order to make traveling with electric vehicles the new normal, especially on long journeys.”
Ultra-fast charging: Essential for the era of EVs
According to the report ‘Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020’ by energy market researcher Bloomberg New Energy Finance in May, EVs, which recorded only thousands of annual sales worldwide in 2010, marked sales of about 2 million units in 2019, and expected to further increase to 6.1 million units by 2023. The high-speed charging technology is indeed one of the areas where automakers are focusing on development to lead the fast-growing EV market.
Currently, it is true that charging an EV takes more time than filling up an internal combustion engine. As more people use EVs, there will be more charging stations needed; there also could be a long line at the charging station. After all, it is essential to develop ultra-fast charging technology and facilitate the stations in order for the EV market to continuously grow with the current trend. When such technology is introduced, the charging time will be drastically reduced, which will greatly improve convenience for the users. In addition, a single charging station with ultra-fast charging technology will be able to fill more EVs per hour, making the infrastructure much more effective.
IONITY Introduces High-Power Charging Facility in Europe
IONITY, which Hyundai and Kia have made strategic investments in, is a joint venture for supplying high-power chargers co-established by carmakers such as BMW Group, Daimler AG, Volkswagen Group, and Ford in 2017, and builds/operates a high-power charging network along highways in 24 European countries, using state-of-the-art technology with a charging capacity of up to 350 kW. As a commitment to sustainability, all IONITY chargers deliver 100% renewable energy. It currently operates 298 high-power charging stations and plans to install a total of 400 high-power charging stations by 2022, including 53 under construction. The high-power charging station is being installed on highways, one in every 120 kilometers. It is estimated that the convenience of using EVs for long-distance travelers on highways will be greatly improved as more high-power chargers get installed to increase accessibility to charging stations for EVs.
In addition, along with the EVs with the high-800V system that will be released by global automakers including Hyundai and Kia starting next year, it is expected that the 350kW high-power charging facility that IONITY is building will open an era of high-speed charging for EVs. Normally, it takes about an hour to charge up to 80% of electric vehicles (based on the battery capacity of 64kW) that have a 400V voltage system with a rapid 50kW to 150kW charger. If an EV equipped with an 800kW high voltage system could use a 350kW high-speed charging facility, it will take only 18 minutes to charge 80% of the battery, which makes it significantly shorter than the current charging time for a regular EV. As EVs with 800V high voltage systems are about to be released, it is becoming important to establish 350kW high-power charging infrastructures so that they will increase the convenience of charging.
Hyundai and Kia to expand their market share in the European EV market through investment in IONITY
Europe is the largest EV market for Hyundai and Kia. Between January and September this year, Hyundai and Kia sold 62,276 EVs in Europe, which is an 87.1 percent increase from 33,276 units in the same period last year. Hyundai Motor Company’s sales reached 35,578 units this year, a 55.9 percent increase from 22,816 units during the same period last year. Kia Motors’ EVs, which hit 10,460 units in the same period last year, sold 26,698 units this year, marking a 155.2 percent increase.
With Hyundai/Kia gaining stakes in IONITY, customers using Hyundai and Kia’s EVs will be able to conveniently use IONITY’s high-power charging facilities installed throughout Europe’s highways. The charging facilities of IONITY are evenly distributed throughout Europe, which offers not only high accessibility but also the convenience of high-power charging. Moreover, as Hyundai/Kia are set to unveil their new EVs with an 800V charging system based on the E-GMP platform in 2021, cooperation with IONITY is expected to create greater synergy. Hyundai/Kia will be able to continue to grow continuously in the European EV markets, thanks to the convenience of the high-power charging system.
“By investing in IONITY, we are now part of one of the most comprehensive charging infrastructure networks in Europe,” says Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President and Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group. “We are committed to providing holistic solutions to make it easier than ever for people to make the switch to eco-mobility.”
High-power charging stations also in South Korea and North America
Meanwhile, such high-speed chargers are under construction not only in Europe but also in South Korea and North America. In Korea, Hyundai has built two charging stations in Goyang Hyundai Motor Studio and plans to facilitate more across the country in the future. In North America, Volkswagen Group built super-fast chargers at the Maricopa County Test Center in Arizona in June this year in cooperation with Electric America, a solar power charging station manufacturer for EVs. Twenty-five 50 to 350 kW chargers have been installed at the station, and EA plans to expand its high-speed charging stations within the U.S.
EVs with 800V High-Voltage System
Meanwhile, people are focusing on the next-generation EVs that could utilize the high-speed 350kW charging facilities that IONITY and other providers created in Europe, South Korea, North America, and other major markets. Hyundai is also planning to launch the Ioniq 5 in 2021 with an 800V high voltage system as its first masterpiece of IONIQ, an EV-dedicated auto brand. The Ioniq 5 is a medium-sized Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) based on the ‘EV Concept 45’. The company also plans to release a mid-sized sedan based on the concept vehicle ‘Prophecy’ in 2022, and another large SUV in 2024.
Kia is also planning to release a series of next-generation EVs equipped with an 800V high voltage system, starting with its electric CV, which is scheduled to be released in 2021. In addition, Hyundai/Kia plan to launch 23 electric vehicles by 2025 to lead the EV market, and these companies aim to increase their market share to 10 percent by supplying 1 million units of EVs across the world by 2025.