Source: ORNL Release | June 8, 2015

Hyundai Motor Company and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed an agreement intended to strengthen the automaker’s U.S. research and development portfolio.

Hyundai Motor Company and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. will be identifying and providing R&D needs of the automotive industry; providing feedback and evaluation technology concepts; consulting with ORNL on R&D topics related to the industry; and developing potential Hyundai-sponsored projects to be carried out under separate, legally binding agreements.

As the world’s fifth largest automaker, Hyundai Motor Company employs more than 30,000 in the U.S., and more than 700,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles are made in the U.S.

Through this agreement, Hyundai Motor and UT-Battelle, which manages ORNL for DOE, will also work to identify R&D funding opportunities of mutual interest and coordinate meetings to exchange information. Hyundai sees ORNL as providing significant expertise in diverse areas.

“This collaboration with ORNL will firm and accelerate our technology development as Hyundai strives to become the globe’s leading automaker,” said Tae Won Lim, vice president and head of Hyundai Motor Group’s Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute. “The U.S. market is strategically very important, and our goal is to be relentless in the pursuit of new competitive technologies.”

The first collaboration is scheduled for this fall with a workshop on materials development and multi-material joining methods. Additional research areas will be explored as the partnership matures. ORNL will also provide coordination with other national laboratories to pursue best technology and technical expertise.

The agreement also states: “Guided by its global corporate principles for localization, Hyundai Motor Company is expanding its product development, design, R&D, manufacturing and consumer services in the U.S. to better serve the local customers’ needs and to meet the U.S. government regulation requirements on fuel efficiency and safety.

“Toward this end, Hyundai Motor Company is seeking to establish long-term collaborative R&D relationships with national laboratories and other research institutes and organizations in the U.S.”

Claus Daniel, deputy director of ORNL’s Transportation Program, noted that the laboratory has a long history of working with the automotive industry to develop and commercialize advanced materials and manufacturing technologies.

“ORNL has the nation’s largest concentration of open source materials research spanning all the materials science and engineering disciplines from fundamental materials science to alloy development, synthesis, manufacturing, testing and characterization,” Daniel said. “We expect this relationship with Hyundai to bring vehicles to life from design, engineering and production in the U.S., which is consistent with the mission of ORNL and the Department of Energy.”

The MOU is an expression of intent and does not create a legally binding obligation, nor does it commit funds from either party.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the DOE’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science.energy.gov/.