Hyundai Motor Group marked a momentous occasion as it officially inaugurated its Joint Battery Research Center in collaboration with Seoul National University (SNU). This joint effort represents a significant step forward in pushing the boundaries of battery technologies and promoting fruitful industry-academia cooperation to establish a dominant global position in the battery field.
The opening ceremony took place at SNU’s main campus, graced by distinguished guests, including Euisun Chung, Executive Chair of Hyundai Motor Group; Yong Wha Kim, President and Chief Technology Officer of Hyundai Motor Group; Heung Soo Kim, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Strategy Office of Hyundai Motor Group; and Chang Hwan Kim, Senior Vice President and Head of Battery Development Center of Hyundai Motor Group.
On behalf of Seoul National University, Hong Lim Ryu, President of SNU; Yoo Suk Hong, Dean of Seoul National University College of Engineering; Seung Hwan Ko, Associate Dean of Research Affairs of the College of Engineering; Jong Chan Lee, Head of the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering; and Jang Wook Choi, Head of the Joint Battery Research Center and Professor at the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, also graced the inauguration ceremony.
This collaborative endeavor stands as a testament to the dedication of both Hyundai Motor Group and Seoul National University to spearhead innovation in the battery industry, promising a future of groundbreaking advancements and sustainable solutions.
Speaking in a congratulatory speech at the event, Hong Lim Ryu, President of Seoul National University, said: “The Joint Battery Research Center 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.”
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung highlighted, “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.”
In November 2021, Hyundai Motor Group and Seoul National University took a significant step forward in their collaboration by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a Joint Battery Research Center. This initiative was driven by a shared commitment to achieving carbon neutrality and fostering a battery research ecosystem.
The Joint Battery Research Center, now operational, is housed within the Institute of Chemical Processes at Seoul National University, spanning three floors with a dedicated space of 901 m2 solely dedicated to battery research. The state-of-the-art facility comprises seven laboratories and conference rooms, designed to facilitate battery development, analysis, measurement, and process. Notably, this marks the first time a specialized research facility for electric vehicle (EV) batteries has been established at Seoul National University.
With the Center now in operation, Hyundai Motor Group collaborates with esteemed battery experts in Korea to pave the way for cutting-edge research and development in battery-related technologies. The primary focus of the research will be on next-generation battery technologies, aiming to significantly enhance EV driving range and reduce charging time. Additionally, the Center will explore battery condition monitoring technology and innovative process techniques.
The research projects at the Joint Battery Research Center are categorized into four divisions: lithium metal batteries, solid-state batteries, battery management systems (BMS), and battery process technology. A total of 22 joint research projects will be undertaken, with the participation of 21 professors, master’s, and doctorate-level talents from eminent Korean universities. Among these projects, 14 will be dedicated to the development of next-generation lithium metal and solid-state batteries, harnessing their core expertise in this area.
In the realm of lithium metal batteries, the research will focus on high-durability lithium-electrolyte material element technology and shape analysis to minimize deterioration. Simultaneously, the solid-state batteries division will explore sulfide-based anode materials, electrode/electrolyte coating methods, and ultra-high energy density cathode active materials.
This collaborative effort between Hyundai Motor Group and Seoul National University at the Joint Battery Research Center represents a vital milestone in advancing battery technologies, ushering in a new era of more efficient and sustainable EV solutions.
The Joint Battery Research Center stands out for its comprehensive approach, not limiting itself to theoretical research but also focusing on research and development with mass production considerations. Unlike typical industry-academia research collaborations that often require additional time and costs to apply research findings to mass-produced products, this Center ensures a seamless transition from research to product implementation.
To achieve this seamless integration, the Joint Battery Research Center is equipped with cutting-edge research infrastructure, comparable to the state-of-the-art equipment utilized in Hyundai Motor and Kia R&D centers. This includes precision battery analysis equipment, high-precision rheometers, cell manufacturing equipment, impedance measuring devices, and more. By providing these facilities, the university’s research outcomes can be swiftly translated into practical applications in products.
Heading this ambitious initiative is Professor Jang Wook Choi, a distinguished expert in battery science, appointed as the Center’s head. With his guidance, the Center will oversee and manage the overall research projects and technology development.
Hyundai Motor Group is fully committed to supporting the Joint Battery Research Center in developing industry-leading next-generation batteries. With a considerable investment of over KRW 30 billion by 2030, this support will cover the establishment of the Center and the procurement of essential experimental equipment.
Furthermore, to foster collaboration and synergy, researchers from Hyundai Motor and Kia will actively participate as members of the joint research team at the Center. This close communication and sharing of expertise through consultations and seminars on battery technology will lead to valuable insights and development directions. Additionally, a consultative body will be formed regularly to exchange information on global battery industry trends and research outcomes.
Through these efforts, the Group envisions paving the way for South Korea to become a global leader in battery technology. The Center’s emphasis on nurturing outstanding talent in the battery sector will contribute significantly to this goal. Concurrently, Hyundai Motor Group actively promotes next-generation talent by collaborating on various industry-academic programs with prestigious universities in Korea. By combining research excellence, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and expert collaborations, the Joint Battery Research Center strives to spearhead advancements in battery technology and secure a prominent position in the international arena.
Hyundai Motor Group is accelerating its efforts to develop next-generation batteries, including solid-state technology, with a bold vision to produce a total of 3.64 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030, aiming to secure global top-tier leadership in the automotive industry.
Drawing upon its extensive experience in EV development and production, the Group is actively investing in and enhancing its capabilities in the critical battery sector. This strategic approach encompasses all aspects of batteries, from material supply stability to bolstering battery design and management capabilities, and ultimately advancing the development of next-generation battery technologies.
Over the next decade, Hyundai Motor will invest KRW 9.5 trillion to significantly improve battery performance, develop advanced technologies for next-gen batteries, and establish essential infrastructure. The Group has set ambitious targets to reduce battery costs by 75 percent by 2026 and 45 percent by 2030, compared to 2018 prices, to enhance the affordability and practicality of EVs. By around 2025, new EVs will incorporate lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries, developed in collaboration with battery companies.
To expedite the development and verify the mass production capabilities of lithium metal and solid-state batteries, Hyundai Motor and Kia’s Uiwang Research & Development Center will complete the construction of the Next-generation Battery Research Building in the coming year. These batteries will not only power EVs but will also find applications in other mobility sectors, such as robotics and advanced air mobility (AAM).
Another crucial focus area for the Group is to enhance battery management capabilities, optimizing EV performance with longer driving ranges, extended life cycles, and improved safety. This involves upgrading battery management systems (BMS) and implementing innovative battery conditioning technologies like preheating and cooling.
In addition to technological advancements, Hyundai Motor Group is dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability. To achieve this, the Group plans to establish a comprehensive system for recycling waste batteries and reclaiming raw materials, creating a sustainable ‘battery life cycle’ wherein batteries are safely recovered and raw materials are reused in battery manufacturing.
To secure a stable supply of batteries, the Group is actively engaging in external collaborations, forming joint ventures with major battery companies like SK On and LG Energy Solution. Collaborations with companies such as Solid Power and Solid Energy System (SES) are aimed at securing solid-state and lithium metal battery elements and process technologies through joint research and investment in startups.
The establishment of the Joint Battery Research Center is a testament to the Group’s commitment to open cooperation, benefitting the broader battery research ecosystem and driving progress towards a sustainable and electrified future in the automotive industry.