Hyundai, Kia and top Korean universities to spur EV material tech | Autocar Professional

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Hyundai Motor Company and Kia are to conduct joint research with Korea’s top universities to secure competitiveness in electrification parts material technology.

On May 21, the two automakers announced that they have established the ‘Hyundai Motor Group Magnetic Materials Joint Research Laboratory (Joint Research Laboratory)’ at Yonsei University located in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, to improve the competitiveness of permanent magnet technology, which is a key component of electric vehicles.

The joint laboratory aims to secure technologies that can replace and recycle rare earth materials, which are key raw materials in the era of electrification.
As the transition to electrification accelerates, the demand for rare earth elements such as neodymium permanent magnets used in key components of EV motors is also increasing, but due to environmental pollution that occurs during the production stage, some countries are tightening regulations on the import and export of rare earth elements. As a result, securing magnetic material technology that can replace existing materials and recirculation technology that can recover and recycle used parts is emerging as an important task.

With this latest move, Hyundai Motor and Kia and the seven Korean universities are accelerating the internalisation of magnetic material technology to respond to resource supply and demand risks and secure leadership in electric vehicle material technology.

Hyundai and Kia will operate a joint laboratory for three years with seven universities, including Yonsei University, Seoul National University, Sungkyunkwan University, Pusan National University, Pukyong University, Chungnam National University, and Hyundai NGB, an industry-academia cooperation institution, to support research activities.

The Joint Laboratory will conducts tasks such as
– Research on non-rare earth magnetic materials that can replace rare earth materials,
– Rare earth element recycling research that recovers and recycles rare earth elements at the motor level, and
– Magnetic property evaluation research that can advance the magnetic measurement of materials.

In particular, researchers from the Hyundai Motor and Kia Basic Materials Research Center plan to participate in each project to accelerate joint research and create synergy in convergence technologies.

Hyunsoo Sohn, Head of Hyundai Motor and Kia Energy Materials Laboratory, said, “It is significant in that it is the first joint research laboratory to be established in the field of magnetic materials among the joint laboratories established by Hyundai Motor and Kia.” He added, “We will actively cooperate with this project to accelerate the internalization of magnetic material technology, which is a key component of electrification.”

Lee Woo-young, a senior professor at Yonsei University’s Joint Research Laboratory, said, “Future mobility is attracting attention as a very important technology field that will determine national competitiveness in the future” and “the joint laboratory will serve as a solid foundation for domestic technology to lead the world in the field of motor magnetic material technology, which is the core of mobility.”

Meanwhile, Hyundai and Kia are continuing to cooperate with leading universities in the home market and abroad to secure future mobility competitiveness, such as establishing a joint laboratory for ultra-high-resolution radar and an on-chip LiDAR.

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