Hyundai Motor Group, Seoul National University Open Joint Battery Research Centre

Mobility Outlook Bureau
27 Jul 2023
10:30 AM
3 Min Read

The centre aims to focus on advanced research into next-gen battery technologies that can increase EV driving distance and shorten charging time, research on battery condition monitoring technology and innovative process technology.

Hyundai Motor Group - Seoul National University

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

The JBRC began to take shape in November 2021, when the Group and Seoul National University signed a memorandum of understanding for the ‘establishment of a joint battery research centre and mid- to long-term joint research’ based on the consensus on realising 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 have seven laboratories and conference rooms for battery development, analysis, measurement, and process. This is the first time a research facility specialising in electric vehicle (EV) batteries has been built within Seoul National University.

Specifically, 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 minimise deterioration. In contrast, research will be conducted on sulfide-based anode materials, electrode/electrolyte coating methods, and ultra-high energy density cathode active materials in solid-state batteries.

A key feature of the JRBC will be its focus on theoretical research and 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.

The Group will have a fully-fledged support system to help the JRBC secure capabilities to develop next-generation batteries that lead the industry. The Group will invest over KRW 30 billion ($ 23.53 million) by 2030 to support the centre's smooth research activities. The investment includes the establishment of the centre and the preparation of experimental equipment.

In addition, researchers from Hyundai Motor and Kia will be dispatched to the centre to participate as members of the joint research team, maximising 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.

Hong Lim Ryu, President of Seoul National University, said, “The JBRC will be the starting point for battery technology with improved performance and robust safety in line with Hyundai Motor Group’s preemptive innovation in the field of electrification. We expect that the best faculty and graduate students will create synergy with Hyundai Motor Group’s competent researchers, laying the groundwork for various innovations ranging from the basics of batteries to applications.”

Euisun Chung, Chair, Hyundai Motor Group, said, “Our mission to develop a diverse range of mobility solutions equipped with advanced batteries is driven by our strong commitment to a sustainable environment for future generations. Through pioneering joint research and development efforts, we hope to empower all researchers to lead the way in propelling the transition to electrification of the mobility industry.”

Accelerating Development Of NextGen Batteries 

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 developing and mass-producing EVs, the Group is also actively seeking to secure bold investment and development capabilities in the key battery sector. In particular, the Group plans to encompass all areas of batteries by stabilising material supply, strengthening battery design and management capabilities and developing next-generation batteries.

Hyundai Motor will invest KRW 9.5 trillion ($74.51 billion) over the next ten years to actively improve battery performance, develop advanced technologies for next-generation batteries, and build infrastructure.

Compared 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.

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

Working with companies, such as Solid Power in the US, to secure solid-state battery elements and process technologies; Solid Energy System (SES) to develop lithium metal batteries, the Group continues to conduct joint research with startups and invest stakes for next-generation battery developments. The opening of the JBRC is an extension of the Group’s continued efforts to cooperate openly to benefit all.

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