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Hyundai Motor Group and Seoul National University open joint battery research center; focus on Li-metal and solid-state

Hyundai Motor Group announced the inauguration of its Joint Battery Research Center with Seoul National University (SNU). This collaborative effort between the Group and SNU aims to advance battery technologies and foster industry-academia cooperation to establish global leadership in the battery field.

The Joint Battery Research Center began to take shape in November 2021, when the Group and Seoul National University signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a joint battery research center and mid- to long-term joint research based on the consensus on realizing carbon-neutrality and creating a battery research ecosystem.

To foster close cooperation among researchers, the new research facility will secure a dedicated space for battery-only research within the expanded Institute of Chemical Processes of Seoul National University, spanning three floors (901 m2). It will consist of seven laboratories and conference rooms for battery development, analysis, measurement, and process. This is the first time that a research facility specializing in electric vehicle (EV) batteries has been built within Seoul National University.

With the opening of the Joint Battery Research Center, the Group will work with top battery experts in Korea to lay the groundwork for research and development of battery-related technologies. The Joint Battery Research Center aims to focus on advanced research into leading next-generation battery technologies that can dramatically increase EV driving distance and shorten charging time, as well as research on battery condition monitoring technology and innovative process technology.

Specifically, a total of 22 joint research projects will be carried out in four divisions, including:

  • lithium-metal batteries;
  • solid-state batteries;
  • battery management systems (BMS); and
  • battery process technology.

A total of 21 professors and master’s and doctorate-level talents from eminent Korean universities will participate in the research. 14 of the 22 research projects will be related to lithium-metal and solid-state batteries, focusing their core capabilities on developing next-generation batteries.

In the field of lithium metal batteries, research will be conducted on high-durability lithium-electrolyte material element technology and shape analysis to minimize deterioration, while in the field of solid-state batteries, research will be conducted on sulfide-based anode materials, electrode/electrolyte coating methods and ultra-high energy density cathode active materials.

A key feature of the Joint Research Battery Center will be its focus not only on theoretical research, but also research and development that considers mass production. In the case of general industry-academia research, additional time and cost are inevitable to apply the results to mass-produced products.

To that end, the Joint Battery Research Center has the same level of research infrastructure as the state-of-the-art equipment applied to the Hyundai Motor and Kia R&D centers, such as precision battery analysis equipment, high-precision rheometers, cell manufacturing equipment, and impedance measuring devices, so that the university’s research results can be quickly applied to products.

The Group has appointed Professor Jang Wook Choi as the head of the Joint Battery Research Center. Professor Choi will oversee the overall research projects and management of technology development.

The Group will have a fully-fledged support system to help the Joint Battery Research Center secure capabilities to develop next-generation batteries that lead the industry. To support the center’s smooth research activities, the Group will invest more than KRW 30 billion (US$23.5 million) by 2030. The investment includes the establishment of the center and preparation of experimental equipment.

In addition, researchers from Hyundai Motor and Kia will be dispatched to the center to participate as members of the joint research team, maximizing research synergy through close communication and sharing of expertise. Through consultations and seminars on battery technology, insights and development directions will be discussed, alongside a consultative body that will be formed regularly to share information on global battery industry trends and results.

Above all, the Group expects to pave the way for South Korea to become one of the world’s leading battery technology houses by fostering outstanding talent in the battery sector. Meanwhile the Group is also actively promoting next-generation talent by operating various industry-academic cooperation programs in collaboration with eminent universities in Korea.

Hyundai Motor Group accelerates development of next-generation batteries, including solid-state, aiming to produce 3.64 million EVs by 2030.

Hyundai Motor Group recently announced through Hyundai Motor’s CEO Investor Day that it plans to secure global top-tier leadership by producing a total of 3.64 million EVs by 2030.

Based on its long-standing experience in developing and mass-producing EVs, the Group is also actively seeking to secure investment and development capabilities in the key battery sector. In particular, the Group plans to encompasses all areas of batteries by stabilizing material supply, strengthening battery design and management capabilities and developing next-generation batteries.

Hyundai Motor will invest KRW 9.5 trillion (US$7.4 billion) over the next 10 years to improve battery performance, develop advanced technologies for next-generation batteries, and build infrastructure.

In comparison to 2018 prices, the cost of batteries will be lowered by 75% in 2026, and 45% in 2030 to enhance the affordability and practicality of EVs. Around 2025, lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are jointly developed with battery companies, will be applied to new EVs for the first time.

In order to accelerate the development of lithium-metal and solid-state batteries and verify their mass production capabilities, Hyundai Motor and Kia’s Uiwang Research & Development Center will complete construction of the Next-generation Battery Research Building next year. The batteries developed in the new building will be used for various mobilities, beyond EVs, such as robotics and advanced air mobility (AAM).

The Group is also focusing on securing battery management capabilities that can optimize EV performance. The Group will push to implement EVs with longer driving ranges, longer life cycles, and safety by upgrading battery management systems (BMS) as well as battery conditioning technologies, such as battery preheating and cooling.

In the mid- to long-term, the Group will additionally establish a system to recycle waste batteries and recycle raw materials to protect the environment and secure sustainable raw materials. The Group plans to complete a sustainable ‘battery life cycle’ in which batteries are safely recovered and raw materials are extracted and reused for battery manufacturing.

The Group is steadily expanding external cooperation to secure battery capabilities, by establishing joint ventures with major battery companies, such as SK On and LG Energy Solution, to ensure stable supply and demand of batteries.

Working with companies, such as Solid Power in the US, to secure solid-state battery elements and process technologies and Solid Energy System (SES) to develop lithium-metal batteries, the Group continues to conduct joint research with startups as well as investing stakes for next-generation battery developments.


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