Kia wants to get into purpose-built electric vehicles
- Kia plans to build a bespoke electric vehicle (PBV) factory, which it seeks to offer from 2025.
- The automaker plans to use its eS skateboard platform to design a variety of utility vehicles for businesses, ranging from delivery vehicles to mobile stores.
- Kia plans to offer advanced self-driving capabilities in this upcoming PBV lineup, which will include delivery robots.
Kia already has the makings of it with the launch of the EV6, but the automaker is poised to enter another segment that has garnered a lot of attention from startups large and small: electric vehicles especially designed, or PBV. . The South Korean automaker has revealed plans to build a new plant just for PBVs in a few years, targeting commercial buyers.
At stake is the lucrative market for these vehicles from logistics giants and other companies, such as ride-sharing apps, with Kia seeking to pair electric vehicles with the expected arrival of advanced autonomous technology, which will enable fleets driverless vehicles to perform a variety of delivery and transportation tasks.
Kia has shared some renders giving a glimpse of its idea for its next PBVs, with its first model expected to arrive by the second half of 2025. The renders reveal delivery and MPV sketches, with a couple possibly showing parallels with Canoo’s designs.
Kia plans to use its eS skateboard platform to support a variety of electric models, targeting different commercial use cases.
“This dedicated PBV facility is one of the key pillars of our Plan S strategy as Kia seeks to claim leadership in the global PBV market,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO of Kia Corporation. . “We will first explore new markets with derived PBV models, then gradually expand our presence in global markets with dedicated PBV models featuring self-driving technologies.”
Kia plans to start building the PBV plant at its current Hwaseong manufacturing site in South Korea in 2023, so it won’t be quite the first automaker to roll out such vehicles, Rivian, BrightDrop and other vehicles. others being closer to large-scale commercial. spear. But the planned annual production capacity of 100,000 units should make Kia one of the volume leaders in the second half of the decade.
The automaker has indicated that its first PBV will be a mid-size model named SW, after the launch of which Kia will expand its range with multi-seat shuttles, logistics vehicles, food delivery vehicles and even micro-sized PBVs. unmanned.
That’s right, Kia is talking about delivery robots, which are still at an early stage of commercial deployment. Thus, the automaker’s plans will not be limited only to vehicles that can even carry passengers or bulky cargo inside. At the other end of the spectrum, the automaker is also promising PBVs that will be large enough to serve as stores or mobile offices.
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