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Hyundai, Kia, LG Chem ready to invest in electric vehicle start-ups

Typically biggies are very supportive with the smaller companies. If the small entrepreneurship looks promising or sometimes even if it holds promise for a future tech partnership, they pick up stakes. We saw Hero MotoCorp do it with Ather and with the likes. The three big Korean companies, Hyundai, Kia and LG Chem, are now on a similar path. The brands are jointly competing in the EV and Battery Challenge (EVBC). That competition will be overseen by New Energy Nexus. It is on a regional basis and will be chosen for 10 worthy startups. Then the three will go ahead sponsoring or collaborating with those companies. The start-ups would be given access to the labs, knowledge and infrastructure of the Koreans. In return, these new innovations would be absorbed by the Korean companies and thus give their customers added value through enhanced goods.

The contest is open to all startups having a working prototype. Participation is welcomed to those who look at vehicle management as well as energy management, EVs, personalisation, manufacturing as well as recycling. The contest is available at evbatterychallenge.com from June 22 to August 28 and anyone interested can apply. The submissions are then sorted out by New Energy Nexus staff. Participants who pass the feasibility tests and technology tests will be further advanced. Virtual interviews are set to take place in October. A two-day workshop for these participants will be held in November at the Silicon Valley office of Hyundai CRADLE. Officials from all three companies will then assess the entries and secure their prospects.

It seems that LG Chem has been doing this from quite some time and held a similar contest also last year. Within this market, the battery maker looks closely at new talent and innovations. Myung-Hwan Kim, Chief Production & Procurement Officer and Head of the Battery Research Center at LG Chem ‘s Energy Solution Company said he is looking to foster relationships with these startups with Hyundai and Kia, depending on the potential.

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