• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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Kia signs deal to offer ride-hailing PBVs to Uber drivers

Kia signs deal to offer ride-hailing PBVs to Uber drivers

Kia Corporation and Uber have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) committing the two companies to collaborate on Kia’s planned development and deployment of PBVs.

To enhance electric vehicle offerings available on Uber’s mobility platform and support the global ride-hailing leader in achieving its 2040 zero-emission goal, the partnership will seek to produce Kia PBVs optimised for drivers and fleets as part of Kia’s ‘Platform Beyond Vehicle’ strategy in this field of the mobility market.

“PBVs will play a key role in the customisation of mobility, and by partnering with Uber, Kia aims to deliver industry-leading technology with advanced software and services to enhance the ride-hailing experience,” said SeungKyu (Sean) Yoon, president & CEO of Kia North America, and Kia America.

According to him, “Drivers on the Uber platform will also have the ability to choose Kia vehicles with a comprehensive suite of offerings that will ease the ramp-up of electrification and help achieve both Kia’s and Uber’s sustainability goals.”

The intentions of the collaboration are for Kia to identify optimal specifications for PBV models, with the possible further integration of technology and services to benefit drivers and ride-hailing users alike.

The partnership’s goals also extend to the creation of proofs of concept, prototypes, and the production of PBVs tailored to the needs of drivers who use the Uber platform.

“PBVs will play a key role in the transformation of mobility. This collaboration will enhance Kia’s PBV development, with optimised vehicles for drivers’ and riders’ needs. This will focus on advanced software and services, with the integration of interactive In-Vehicle Infotainment and advanced safety technology,” said Sangdae Kim, head of the PBV Division, Kia.

New driver and passenger experiences could be facilitated through the development of optimised operational solutions, building connected car experiences for all.

Kia and Uber will collaborate on ways to moderate the total cost of vehicle ownership by analysing the various PBV options and potential Battery-as-a-service (BaaS) subscription offerings to reduce initial vehicle purchase costs.

Bringing benefits to Uber and drivers alike, the collaboration will also see the growth of the Kia Flex program in North America, with global expansion planned for the near future.

“Drivers on the Uber platform are already EV early adopters, going electric six to seven times faster than the general population in the US and Europe. That’s great for all of us because when rideshare drivers go electric, communities see three to four times the emissions benefits compared with an average driver making the switch,” said Susan Anderson, vice president of Global Head of Business Development.

Anderson said: “By teaming up with Kia and providing our insights, we aim to broaden the appeal and lower the cost of electric vehicles, making them a more natural choice for more drivers.

The application of Kia Connect diagnostic and preventive services will drive operational efficiencies by using data-driven solutions to detect signs of potential malfunctions, minimising maintenance outlay and downtime.

Revealed earlier this week at CES, Kia’s PBV project is a multi-phase, decade-long plan which will see PBVs revolutionise the mobility industry while helping to advance Hyundai Motor Group’s ambitions in robotics, Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), and autonomous driving.

The PBV business will initially be based around the introduction of an all-new modular vehicle, called the Kia PV5, with more versions set to be launched including PV5 High Roof, PV5 Van, PV5 Chassis Cab, PV5 Robotaxi and PV5 Pickup.