Kia EV9 Sparks Interest in Electric Vehicle Platforms
It’s not shocking that interest in the electric vehicle platforms from traditional manufacturers is peaking with the announcement of the new 2024 Kia EV9 going into production.
The EV9 will be the first time we see Hyundai and Kia’s new E-GMP platform in use on a large SUV.
They’re all electric “skateboards”
At first sight, the Hyundai “skateboard” platform it doesn’t look different from Stellantis’ STLA, or “Stella,” platform that will underpin the new 2023 Ram EV truck, or General Motors Ultium, which powers the GMC Hummer EV. With heavy batteries down low in the floor, these kinds of platforms can achieve a lower center of gravity than traditional cars, and in vans a flat load floor.
Manufacturers of traditional cars and trucks have decided that modular platforms for EVs can be used in a variety of ways to underpin cars, trucks and SUVs. With a modular platform, manufacturers can add up to four motors, multiple batteries, independent suspension, and any body on top to meet the needs of each vehicle. Each company its own take on the electric skateboard idea.
Hyundai and Kia’s E-GMP electric vehicle platforms
The big idea behind Hyundai and Kia’s E-GMP is that it has a scalable wheelbase. That means that it can use the same platform for the seven-passenger EV9, or the compact and stylish Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The E-GMP can feature single or dual motors. But in the E-GMP’s case, the inverter and transmission are all on one unit. Already, it’s in use on the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6. The two sister companies are producing the Electric Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP, for their electric cars and SUVs.
GM’s Ultium platform
General Motors has said it will phase out its fossil-fuel-powered cars by 2035. In 2020 it announced the Ultium electric vehicle platform that will be the basis for its cars and trucks like the new Sierra EV and GMC Hummer EV. In the Hummer EV, the platform is proving to be heavy but powerful, launching the 9,000-pound truck with so much force it’ll hit 60 mph in about 3.0 seconds.
GM achieves its modular abilities with its platform with modular batteries. Each pack can be stacked vertically or horizontally, which means that packaging can be optimized for each vehicle.
Honda has partnered with GM and will use the Ultium platform for some of its EVs, too.
Stellantis’ STLA electric vehicle platforms
Stellantis, the company owns 14 brands that include Dodge, Ram, Fiat, and many more, has developed the STLA. Instead of making the platform modular like Hyundai, it crated four different platforms for four different sizes of vehicles. The STLA comes in small, medium, large, and frame. The small size is mainly for city cars, and has a 300-mile range. The medium and large sizes can both go 440 or 500 miles, respectively, on a full charge. While the frame platform doesn’t offer more mileage, it is beefier and carries the batteries low and within the frame rails, which could make a flat load floor in a Ram Van a possibility, and a low bed height achievable with trucks.
The new 2023 Ram EV truck will be underpinned by the frame STLA platform.
STLA uses one power inverter and a common microprocessor.
Ford’s GE and TE platforms
The new Ford F-150 Lightning is one of the most anticipated trucks in a decade. The truck sits on its own electric vehicle platform with two inboard motors powering the four-wheel-drive system. The batteries are a new lithium-ion battery pack that is shielded for off-road action, and mounted between the frame rails. The Mustang Mach-E rides on Ford’s GE platform, and the GE2 will underpin future models. The F-150 Lightning rides on the TE1 platform that could see future use in large SUVs as well. An all-electric Navigator, for example, could be on the horizon.
Ford has partnered with VW on the GE2, which could underpin a whole new generation of midsize and small cars and SUVs.