Namyang R&D facility drives Hyundai’s stunning rise in global EV market

Hyundai Motor's IONIQ electric vehicle (EV) undergoes a power system test at the carmaker's Namyang R&D Center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor’s IONIQ electric vehicle (EV) undergoes a power system test at the carmaker’s Namyang R&D Center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

By Lee Min-hyung

Hyundai Motor Group’s Namyang R&D Center deserves much of the credit for the carmaker’s stunning rise in the global electric vehicle (EV) industry, as all of the group’s product testing starts at the state-of-the-art facility.

Established in 1995 in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, the facility now serves as the group’s research hub particularly for EVs and future mobility. It handles every single process for the development of new vehicles, encompassing design, engineering, testing and evaluation for all commercial and passenger vehicles of Hyundai Motor and Kia.

The carmaker introduced four core testing and analysis labs for EVs as well as conventional vehicles powered by internal combustion engines during a press tour on Wednesday.

First, the commercial system test hall conducts a total of around 300 tests for vehicle development and evaluation. The 4,400-square-meter lab tests the durability of each vehicle under diverse harsh circumstances.

For instance, a robot tests the durability of vehicular doors. The specially designed robot repeatedly opens and closes the doors of a vehicle with similar strength of a human being for months on end, 24 hours a day. This is aimed at ensuring their doors are sturdy enough.

The carmaker also introduced its EV power system test facility which focuses on improving the quality of EVs by developing EV motors and inverters and maximizing their performance when equipped in its EVs.

“We conduct tests on not just a single motor but also for its application for EV mass production,” said Kwak Ho-chul, a senior researcher at the carmaker’s electrification test team.

Hyundai Motor Group also underscored its research prowess in EV batteries. Batteries are undoubtedly the most crucial part of EVs, accounting for almost half of most EV prices in general.

At its battery analysis lab, the group analyzes battery cells and conducts research on materials to be applied for next-generation EV batteries. Battery research is underway in special conditions where temperature and humidity remain steady, as EV batteries are very sensitive to moisture.

“We carry out our battery research in a dry room, so as to generate more accurate and reliable data when we disassemble battery cells under the conditions,” said Lee Jae-wook, leader of a battery materials analysis team.

Last but not least, the carmaker showed its environmental test facility for conducting overall performance tests under extreme weather conditions. It can test vehicle performance under such conditions as extreme cold and hot temperatures.

It replicates weather conditions with a system to adjust indoor temperatures from minus 40 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius and humidity from 5 percent to 95 percent.

“A group of global carmakers, companies and government organizations around the world visit our test center for its uniqueness and technological prowess,” said Lee Gang-woong, a senior engineer at the carmaker’s driving test team.

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