Hybrids & Electrics

Hyundai and Samsung Team up on Electric Future

The electrification of the automotive industry is happening extremely fast. Some of the credit for that goes to Tesla. The company’s presence jump-started the electric car industry. Consequently, electric battery tech for the average consumer has become a lot more affordable and prevalent. Now, almost every automotive manufacturer is looking at electric options for their lineup, including Hyundai. In fact, this electric push may be why Hyundai and Samsung are teaming up.

A blue Hyundai Kona Hybrid sits in a driveway lined with palm trees.
2020 Hyundai Kona Hybrid | Hyundai Motors

It was not the first meeting for Hyundai and Samsung

After Hyundai and Samsung initially met in May, ZDNet published an article that stated, 

“A Samsung spokesman said the conglomerate’s all-solid-state batteries were structurally sturdy and stable, adding that the company hopes for expanded collaboration between the two business groups in the mobility sector.”

Now, after the second meeting on Tuesday, the Korean media are speculating that the electric vehicle battery business will be one of Samsung’s next growth segments. So, the focus on electrification was apparent again. According to the Korea Times, 

“Though they didn’t elaborate on the details, industry officials said the two leaders’ series of meetings have major implications in the automotive and related industries given Samsung and Hyundai used to be archrivals in the business landscape.”

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For the second meeting, Lee Jae-Yong, the leader of Samsung Group, and Chung Euisun, Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman, met to discuss opportunities to collaborate. More specifically, but still somewhat vague, the two were looking at cooperating in the electric vehicle, self-driving technology, and urban air mobility segments. 

Hyundai’s electrification plans

Hyundai already has plans to have 23 electric vehicles by 2025. They also plan on selling one million of them by the end of the same time frame. It is speculated that the two companies were in discussions to solidify and stabilize the supply chain related to battery production ahead of the big electrification push. It is also speculated that the companies may venture together in infotainment system hardware. 

Samsung SDI has seen some effects of the Coronavirus shut down. But, overall, It has survived the outbreak well. According to Analyst Kim Ji-San with Kiwoom Securities, 

“Despite stagnant demand for its EV batteries, the company has been weathering the pandemic reasonably well thanks to its European buyers who are making plug-in-hybrid electric vehicles. After falling into a contraction in the European market in April due to massive shutdown measures, the firm started to see growth in May.”

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Urban air mobility

No further information was provided regarding the discussions, nor was there any detail around the urban air mobility segment mentioned earlier. We do know, however, that Hyundai would not be the first manufacturer to look to the airOther manufacturers and service providers have looked at providing a personal air taxi service in one form or another. AudiFordPorsche, Uber, Terrafugia are among them. But, we will have to wait for more detailed information for Hyundai’s take on the segment since no detail has made its way public yet.

In the meantime, the fact the two large manufacturers are continuing to have follow-up meetings implies that there is forward progress happening to an electric project, at minimum, or multiple projects. The somewhat mysterious nature of the meetings is not unusual, though. Businesses do not like to show their entire poker hand before the appropriate time. Trade secrets and corporate espionage are a big deal that businesses take seriously. So, they do not want any loose lips to sink their ships.  Whatever the case, electrification is happening fast and Hyundai is taking steps to be a player in it.