Hyundai-Kia collaborate with Arrival

South-Korean manufacturers Hyundai and Kia have bought into UK electric van start-up Arrival, with a £100m investment. Through the partnership, Hyundai and Kia plan to introduce competitively priced small and medium-sized electric vans.

Founded in 2015, Arrival is a London-based company that has a production facility in Oxfordshire and plans to launch its first models in 2021. The brainchild of Denis Sverdlov, a Russian billionaire, Arrival has 400 employees in the UK and has always sighted a collaboration with an established manufacturer as the key route to success.

This follows on from other partnerships between new start-ups and traditional OEMs like Nikola and Iveco, and Ford and Rivian. The arrangements work well for all parties, with the start-ups benefiting from huge cash injections and the manufacturers gaining fast-track technical expertise in the area.

What’s in it for Hyundai and Kia?

Electrification has posed quite a stumbling block for Hyundai and Kia. Compared with European, American and even Japanese manufacturers, the South Korean manufacturers are a few steps behind, and the realisation is starting to set in that this could prove costly in the coming years as electric vehicles become more mainstream.

“The eco-friendly vehicle market in Europe is expected to grow rapidly due to the introduction of further environmental regulations”, explained Albert Biermann, President and Head of Research and Development Division for Hyundai Motor Group.

“Through the joint development of electric commercial vehicles with Arrival, we will be able to gain a competitive advantage and progressively establish our leadership in the global eco-friendly vehicle market, with Europe at the forefront.”

The Arrival deal follows on from Hyundai-Kia’s £80m investment in Croatian EV firm Rimac last year but, as part of its ‘two-track’ strategy, the Korean manufacturer is also looking at hydrogen fuel-cell commercial vehicles. Through a partnership with Swiss-based H2 energy, Hyundai aims to export 1,600 hydrogen fuel cell trucks to Europe by 2025 – the first of which took place this month.

Hyundai-Kia and Arrival arrangement details

While details of the arrangement remain sketchy, it’s imagined the alliance will be confined to Europe although where exactly the Hyundai and Kia vehicles will be built is also to be confirmed. Hyundai and Kia invested £80m and £20m respectively.

“Arrival has created a game changing product category – Generation 2.0 electric vehicles”, Denis Sverdlovsk, Chief Executive Officer of Arrival. “Hyundai and Kia have been making amazing vehicles with uncompromising quality and share our vision for an electric mobility future. Our Strategic Partnership with Hyundai and Kia means we will scale Generation 2 electric vehicles globally and importantly – in the very near future.”