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Hyundai’s E-GMP electric platform brings premium technologies to affordable electric cars

The first two electric cars presented by the Korean group Hyundai-Kia They are built on the same platform. The E-GMP (electrical global modular platform) architecture will be the basis of all its electric cars, 11 in total between now and 2030. In addition to its modularity and versatility, Hyundai includes in it technologies that until now have only been seen in premium (and expensive) electric cars: an 800-volt electrical system and power electronics based on silicon carbide chips. All of them in cars that aspire to conquer the general market with affordable prices.

It is not particularly surprising to see how the most important technological innovations are implemented in very high-end electric cars. It is the case of 800 volt electrical system including the Porsche Taycan, or the Lucid Air inverter based on chips from Silicium carbide. But it is true that a general manufacturer, such as the Hyundai-Kia group, includes all these technologies in its electric cars, thanks to the fact that they will all be based on the same platform, the E-GMP, on which it will also build its most economical models.

Hyundai is gradually phasing out the first generation of its electric technology that is present in its first two electric cars, the Ioniq and the Kona. A strategy identical to that of Kia with the Soul EV and with e-Niro. Instead, the E-GMP electric platform will be the basis for its entire model range, 11 in total by 2030. Its goal is for 12% of sales worldwide to be 100% electric models, which It will mean 1.87 million vehicles each year circulating on the roads.

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The Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 are the first electric cars from the Korean group to implement the E-GMP platform.

The advantages of this platform lie in the use of space by lengthen the wheelbase, enlarge the passenger compartment and the trunk and offer a completely flat floor inside. This translates into greater comfort for the occupants but also into better weight distribution, a lower center of gravity and, ultimately, better driving dynamics. The structure also offers greater safety, by increasing rigidity and efficiency in absorbing the energy of an impact, both for the occupants and for mechanical elements such as the battery.

Can include an electric motor on the rear axle for single wheel drive versions or add another in the front for all-wheel drive versions. Together with the transmission and inverter, it forms a single, light and compact module that reduces the space required for mechanical components. The battery, which is located between the axles, has an independent cooling system and the modules will be standard for all the models in the group, with bag-type cells packed according to the final capacity that is desired.

The Ioniq 5 had the honor of becoming the brand new second-generation technology of the Korean group. Take advantage of the flexibility of the E-GMP architecture to offer rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive versions. With the highest capacity battery, now 77.4 kWh, it can offer 171 kW (229 hp) and 507 kilometers of autonomy in the rear-wheel drive versions and 242 kW (325 hp) and 454 kilometers in the all-wheel drive version.

motors and inverters

Hyundai has minimized autonomy reduction caused by adding all-wheel drive including a disconnect system for the front drivetrain, so it doesn’t force parasitic drag when idle. Ryan Miller, head of development for electrified powertrains, puts it this way: “If you don’t, you’ll lose five to six percent of the power. Additionally, the 800-volt battery pack has 7% more energy density than a 400-volt battery.”

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The rear motor of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 incorporates a silicon carbide inverter in the upper part.

As the architecture stands, the Ioniq 5’s rear motor/inverter combination has an efficiency of 95%. To help achieve this high figure, the Ioniq 5’s rear-mounted inverter features silicon carbide technology, while the AWD model’s front-mounted inverter is conventional silicon. This reduces the cost of also implementing silicon carbide in the front drive, which is less important when it comes to overall performance, Miller explains.

The engines themselves also contribute to reaching these figures. Are from high speedsince they are capable of turning at 15,000 rpm, they have hairpin type windings that raise the density of copper and are oil cooledinstead of using water as in previous Hyundai electric motors. “This cooling system significantly improved performance, since using water does not reach the heat extraction capacity at times when high power is demanded.”

Miller admits that the Ioniq 5 will seldom need that high demand for power on a sustained basis. However, “there are models on the way that will offer great towing capacity,” he clarifies, probably referring to a larger SUV and an electric pick-up that will arrive in time.

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According to Hyundai, the Ioniq 5 can be recharged with an 800-volt charger and 250 kW of power in just 18 minutes.

The battery and the 800 volt system

The 800 volt battery pack makes the experience of using an electric car easier, since the technology allows rapid recharging, minimizing downtime for this operation so that they are not an obstacle. According to Hyundai, the Ioniq 5 can be recharged with an 800-volt charger and 250 kW of power in just 18 minutes.

But in addition, the Ioniq can also be charged at conventional 400-volt, 150-kW charging stations. faster than cars with 400 volt batteries, because it can support the maximum power of the station from the beginning, when the battery is still very low on charge. According to Miller, electric cars with 400-volt batteries “need to accommodate, so they charge at much lower rates when the battery is very low.”

The price of technology

In return, 800 volt technology is more expensive, so it is at least surprising that Hyundai can implement it in its most affordable models. Switching to this cutting-edge technology presents a number of significant challenges. “It wasn’t an easy road,” Miller acknowledges. “There are a lot of challenges in the supply chain when you are first to market.” Some components that are readily available for 400-volt systems are more difficult to find for 800-volt systems. “This is the case with air conditioning compressors and inverters,” adds Miller.

One of the biggest problems is in the silicon carbide rear shuttle. Not only because of its ability to handle 800 volts, but also because of its ability to boost power from 400 volt charging stations to the 800 volt battery pack. “There were a lot of sleepless nights developing that,” Miller said.

Achieving this efficiency is already a success, says Miller, but it is still possible to improve further by working on other aspects such as aerodynamics and battery technologythanks to new material developments and packaging changes.

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