Kia setting up a facility to make Electric Purpose-Built Vehicles in Korea
Kia Corporation has announced that it will establish an all-new, high-tech smart manufacturing facility dedicated to producing electric Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBVs) within its existing Hwaseong manufacturing site in Korea.
The company plans to begin construction of the facility in the first half of 2023, with the aim to commence commercial production in the second half of 2025. The plant will initially be able to build 100,000 PBVs a year, with the capacity to increase production to 150,000 units annually.
"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."
PBVs are vehicles designed for specific, customized application, say last-mile delivery or passenger transportation, autonomous shuttles, or chauffeur-driven luxury vehicles. The proposed manufacturing facility will build Kia's first dedicated PBV model codenamed 'SW' – a mid-size EV based on its 'eS' skateboard platform, explicitly developed for PBVs.
Kia claims that the new platform can flexibly accommodate various PBV model sizes in response to diverse customer demands. Post the launch of the first model, Kia aims to 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, according to the company.
The Korean brand aims to become a PBV leader by 2030. When combined with autonomous driving technology, PBVs are expected to offer a revolutionary new means of transportation that further enrich society and communities around the globe.