The Ultimate Foundation of Vehicles
The platform, simply put, is the skeleton of an automobile. Serving as the foundational structure on which the vehicle is built, it has massive implications on the car’s driving performance, safety, and interior design—the very quality of the car. It also has tremendous implications on the cost-effectiveness of production as well, together making it an essential strategic weapon for car manufacturers preparing their future blueprints.
With many countries setting increasingly rigorous emission standards to decrease their carbon footprint, EV-only platforms have emerged to facilitate the inevitable rise of electric vehicles. Having already seen success with the lighter-yet-sturdier, safer-yet-faster 3rd-generation platform, Hyundai Motor Group has outdone itself once more in creating the E-GMP, an EV-exclusive platform that will fulfill the group’s agenda for 2025 global leadership in vehicle electrification.
FutureA Platform to Drive the Market
Pioneer of the New Electric Age
In 2019, Hyundai Motor Group underwent an organizational restructuring of its R&D groups; the goal was to diversify the vehicle lines to meet the increasingly divergent consumer demands and to ensure quality and reliability while maintaining cost-effectiveness. The new organizational hierarchy arranged the R&D groups in a “triangular formation” that clearly assigned vehicle-architecture-specific roles to individual groups, from basic R&D and parts development to finished product and quality control. Highlighted amid this upheaval, though, was the need for platform versatility: one skeleton should underlie a variety of cars suiting many different consumer tastes. Engineers saw the platform as an innovation that would drive the diversifying market of the future.
The 3rd-generation platform, built with cutting-edge technologies throughout the package, body, and chassis, is a clear upgrade over the previous generation and reveals the promise of developing an architecture that will serve as foundation for the future of mobility.
No longer just a futuristic vision, vehicle electrification is here, now. Hyundai Motor Group has announced that it will develop 23 EV lines by 2025, and the EV-exclusive platform E-GMP is the bedrock on which those plans will be realized. The IONIQ brand, the group’s EV-exclusive brand line scheduled for launch in 2021, will debut with 3 EV lines across small/midsize sedan/large SUV segments.
Kia Motors are also in the midst of executing the mid-long-term strategy ‘Plan S,’ shifting its direction to next-gen-mobility and EV-based business models. The company has announced a plan to increase its proportion of EV sales to 20% by September of 2025; it has also unveiled 7 model sketches of EVs that will see sequential releases through 2027.
TECHNOLOGYCore Technologies of 3rd-gen Platform
The platform determines several crucial elements of vehicle architecture, such as suspension/powertrain placement, weight distribution, and the location of the center-of-gravity. As such, it serves arguably the most important role in building a fine car, one with superior driving performance, fuel economy, ride comfort, interior spaciousness, and attractive design. The 3rd-generation platform, released in 2019, was developed with the target models (and their concepts, design, and specifications) in mind from the beginning. The biggest change was the adoption of the lower-floor design, which has the engine room, seat positions, underfloor, and luggage room placed lower than before. The vehicle height was lowered, and so was the front overhang, and the resulting long wheel-base completed a sporty, stylish design with a spacious interior.
KEY TECH1. Innovative Performance-increasing Design
The low-floor design is the defining characteristic of the 3rd-generation platform. With sporty styles becoming mainstream in the global auto market, the 3rd-generation platform lowered the vehicle height and moved the cowl point back, making for a dynamic, sporty design befitting the trends. Moreover, the parts were rearranged closer to the center-of-gravity, thereby reducing the angular momentum. Heavier parts, in particular, received more meticulous rearrangements to improve driving performance and safety, and the seats in the cabin were lowered as well to improve ride stability and interior spaciousness.
The underbody package likewise received changes to realize a more stylish design and spacious interior. Specifically, the exhaust system was made linear by optimizing the arrangement of the parts, and the floor was flattened to ensure some design flexibility.
Finally, the engine room was redesigned into a multi-skeletal structure that improves both shock absorption and energy efficiency. The structure more evenly distributes the shock from a crash across itself and thus protects a single part from receiving disproportionately large impact. The powertrain was moved back, and the battery and the air cleaner’s positions were similarly optimized to improve the vehicle’s fuel economy and thermal performance.
2. Lighter, yet Safer
The 3rd-gen platform seeks to be lightweight and sturdy at the same time. This competing dilemma was resolved largely by achieving structural optimization. The stiffness of the parts that mount the chassis was reinforced, as well, to dramatically improve ride comfort and NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness) performance—altogether forming a foundation of a fun-to-drive and ultra-convenient car.
Obviously, safety is a paramount concern in any platform. We are pleased to have fundamentally eliminated one large source of danger in small overlap crashes. During a small overlap crash, most vehicles end up rotating significantly. But the 3rd-generation platform prevents such rotations by managing to change the vehicle’s yaw to slide away, making it the world’s highest-performing platform for crash safety in the mid-size sedan segment.
Crash safety performance is correlated with the front overhang, the distance between the front axle and the front bumper. To secure a larger ‘crash space,’ it is necessary to increase the front overhang, but it has been seeing a decrease in recent years, with sporty stylings, interior space, and lightweight designs taking precedence. But even while following such a trend, the 3rd-generation platform delivers an excellent crash safety performance. The engine room was redesigned into a multi-skeletal structure that diversifies the pathways of shock absorption, which more efficiently distributes the shock load throughout the vehicle. Hot-stamped ultra-high-tensile steel plates, applied to the cabin body, further serve to protect the passengers.
3. Dynamic, yet Comfortable
The 3rd-generation platform’s chassis sought to optimize the suspension system to maximize the vehicle’s driving performance—on this platform, a car ought to drive dynamically, responsive to the subtlest touch of the driver, and yet also deliver a superbly comfortable ride.
To this end, the suspension’s front/rear-wheel system arrangements were optimized to improve the vehicle’s stability and agility during high speeds or through curves; specifically, the front suspension had its caster trail and angle adjusted (for stability and comfort’s sake), while the rear suspension adjusted the location of the arm for wheel control and increased the steering gear ratio (for improving responsiveness).
Moreover, the stiffness of the subframe and the crossmember was increased to improve the vehicle’s durability and NVH performance. The front subframe was redesigned from an H-shape into a sharp(#)-shape; the H-shape has the front body joint receive most of the lateral force transmitted to the wheels, whereas the sharp-shape distributes that force evenly to the front and the rear, resulting in the aforementioned durability and NVH improvements.
The 3rd-generation platform’s chassis minimizes the need for the development of new parts and instead focuses on the rearrangement of existing parts to facilitate the development of diverse vehicle models. Indeed, it is the improved interface and the standardization of front/wheel suspension modules that allow for the efficient modular assembly, transport, and process standardizations from the design stage.