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May 20, 2022

Kia Invests Big In All-Electric Purpose Built Vehicles

After showing off its first Purpose Built Vehicle or PBV in the form of the Niro Plus, Kia is going full steam ahead with its plan to build up to 150,000 PBVs a year at their all-new, high-tech smart manufacturing facility located within the brand’s Hwaseong manufacturing site.

When operation begins in the second half of 2025, the new PBV facility will build a mid-sized PBV, Kia’s first dedicated PBV model. Kia’s first dedicated PBV will be based on Kia’s “eS” skateboard platform, explicitly developed for PBVs; the Niro Plus is simply a PBV derived from an existing model. The new platform can flexibly accommodate various PBV model sizes in response to diverse customer demands. Following the launch of the model codenamed, “SW”, Kia will diversify into unmanned micro-sized PBVs, general logistics, fresh food, multi-seat shuttles, and large PBVs that can be used as mobile offices or shops.

Each of Kia’s innovative PBVs will be equipped with an OTA (Over the Air) functionality that can wirelessly update the vehicle’s software in real-time, which will have benefits for the total cost of ownership and ease of use.

“This dedicated PBV facility is one of the major pillars of our Plan S strategy as Kia seeks to claim the top position in the global PBV market,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO of Kia Corporation. “We will initially explore new markets with derivative PBV models, then gradually expand our presence in global markets with dedicated PBV models featuring autonomous driving technologies.”

Together with the rest of the Hyundai Motor Group, Kia is aiming to sell 3.23 million EVs a year globally by 2030—enough for a 12 percent share of the global electric vehicle market. In the first quarter of 2022, the Group’s sales of electric vehicles stood at 76,801 units, rising by 73 percent from the same period last year.

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