Motional has selected the Hyundai Ioniq 5 for its forthcoming autonomous ride-hailing service. Motional, which is a joint venture between Aptiv and Hyundai, said the Ioniq 5 was chosen because it represents a “convergence of mobility’s two most transformative technologies — electrification and autonomy.”
Motional hasn’t said how many vehicles it would acquire, nor where it will eventually deploy them for its robotaxi service. The company is currently testing its fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Las Vegas, where it is also running an autonomous ride-hailing service with Lyft.
The Ioniq 5 was first unveiled by Hyundai last month, and won’t go on sale until later this year. Also, the vehicle won’t hit public roads as part of Motional’s fleet until after they’ve been retrofitted with the company’s hardware and sensor suite, and then put through a months-long testing regime on both public roads and a private, closed testing course.
The Ioniq 5 is said to have nearly 300 miles of range on a single charge and a two-way charging feature that Hyundai calls “vehicle-to-load,” which can supply up to 3.6kW of power. It will also be built on Hyundai’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that the automaker says will serve as the basis for an entire family of planned EVs.
Motional is the latest AV company to commit to an electric vehicle as its primary platform. Cruise, a majority owned subsidiary of General Motors, uses Chevy Bolts exclusively. Alphabet’s Waymo uses gas-powered Chrysler Pacificas while also phasing in a next-gen fleet of electric Jaguar I-Paces. Other companies, like Zoox, Nuro, and Aurora, have said they would use electric vehicles as part of their respective commercial services.
Motional as a joint venture was first announced in March 2020, when Hyundai said it would spend $1.6 billion to catch up to its rivals in the autonomous vehicle space. Aptiv, a technology company formerly known as Delphi, owns 50 percent of the venture. The company currently has facilities in Las Vegas, Singapore, and Seoul, and has also tested its vehicles in Boston and Pittsburgh.
Motional’s engineers were responsible for the world’s first robotaxi pilot in Singapore, as well as the first cross-country New York to San Francisco autonomous trip. Over the last two years, Aptiv’s fleet of safety driver-monitored autonomous taxis in Las Vegas (in partnership with Lyft) have completed over 100,000 trips. And the company recently tested its vehicles with a monitor in the passenger seat but without one behind the steering wheel.