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New Innovation Centre for Automotive Technologies in Singapore

PM Lee Hsien Loong made a speech at the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre Groundbreaking Ceremony on 13 October 2020, in the presence of Mr Sung Yun-mo, Minister of Trade, Industry & Energy, Republic of Korea and Mr Chung Eui-sun, Executive Vice Chairman, Hyundai.

He opened by mentioning the history Hyundai has with Singapore. “Singapore’s relationship with Hyundai goes back a long way. It started when Hyundai Engineering and Construction (HDEC) helped us reclaim land at Pulau Tekong in 1981, nearly 40 years ago.”

“As for Hyundai Motor the first Hyundai cars appeared on our roads in the mid-1980s.”

“First Facility of its kind in the world”

The Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre is the first facility of its kind in the world. It will allow Hyundai to develop new automotive technologies, including the production of electric cars. The new facility will be located in Jurong Innovation District, which already houses a vibrant ecosystem of researchers, technology partners and factories of the future.

The PM added “In fact, you will be neighbours with the NTU Smart Campus, which aims to be a living testbed of tech-enabled solutions like electric vehicles. I hope that this will make it easier for your discussions to bear fruit, and for Singapore technology to power Hyundai cars all over the world.”

The new Innovation Centre will enable Hyundai to pilot new manufacturing models, to meet the demand for mass personalisation of cars through small-scale factories in urban areas. It is an investment of almost $400 million, and may produce up to 30,000 vehicles per year by 2025, five years from now.

Singapore’s drive for autonomous and electric vehicle roll out

Singapore has also been developing plans for autonomous and electric vehicle research and development.

“Singapore’s goal is to have all our vehicles run on cleaner energy by 2040, in line with our Paris Agreement commitments, so that our air is cleaner, and Singaporeans can have a better quality of life. Earlier this year, we announced plans to catalyse Electric Vehicle demand, and to build Electric Vehicle infrastructure like charging points ahead of demand. Now we are taking another step to anchor the value chain here with Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre, as the first Electric Vehicle manufacturing facility in Singapore.”

“Automotive activities are becoming viable in Singapore once again. Electric Vehicles have a different supply chain, fewer mechanical parts and more electronics, which plays to Singapore’s strengths. That is why global companies producing automotive electronics like Delphi and Infineon are already in Singapore and have been here for some time.”

“We hope this will open up new growth areas for our economy, and create exciting jobs for Singaporeans, for example Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) engineers, data scientists, cobot technicians and digital supply chain strategists. These job titles did not even exist a few years ago, but these jobs are now on the cutting edge, and demand new skills. Young Singaporeans may not have these skills in the first instance, but they will learn from the engineers that you bring here from Korea and elsewhere in the world, as we did in the past. And over time, I am confident that we will build up a Singaporean workforce with these skills.”

The Prime Minister noted that the HMGICS is an important milestone in the economic relationship between Singapore and South Korea. It will pave the way for more Korean companies to invest in Singapore, partner with local suppliers and SMEs, and collaborate with universities and research institutes.

He added that Government authorities and agencies such as EDB, JTC, ESG and A*STAR will all work closely with Hyundai to support these partnerships. He said that “Hyundai Motor is already in discussions with NTU and A*STAR, for example, to use AI in autonomous driving.”

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