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Kia Unveils Bold Plans for Electric Business Vehicles

The Korean automaker is pulling back the curtain on its big plans for businesses ready to leap into the electric era
By Josefina Dipaolo
January 10, 2024

In the fast-paced world of electric vehicles (EVs)Kia is not just keeping up; it's blazing a trail. Following a robust year for its passenger EVs, the Korean automaker has set its sights on transforming the landscape for businesses venturing into the electric realm. Brace yourself for a paradigm shift as Kia takes the stage at CES 2024, unveiling an upcoming fleet of electric vans, trucks, ride-hailing, and last-mile delivery vehicles—all underpinned by a groundbreaking modular platform.

Step into the future with Kia's ambitious vision, unveiled at CES 2024, signaling a transformative era for electric business vehicles. Kia's dedication to electrification takes center stage as it introduces a versatile lineup of electric vans, trucks, and more, all intricately designed on a cutting-edge modular platform.

In a groundbreaking move, Kia revealed its strategic global partnership with Uber, announced during a Monday press conference by Pierre-Martin Bos, the vice president of Kia’s pioneering PVB business division. This collaboration positions Kia as a major player in the electrification of ride-hailing and last-mile delivery services.

Kia's commitment to innovation extends beyond the electric powertrain; it's rewriting the rules of modularity. Picture this: vehicles with fixed driver cabs allowing seamless swapping of the entire cabin—a concept Kia dubs as "life modules." These modules connect to the chassis using a blend of mechanical couplings and electromagnets, promising a level of flexibility that redefines electric vehicle design.

While Kia remains a bit elusive on specific details, it's clear that a dedicated plant in South Korea, set to be operational in 2025, will be the birthplace of these revolutionary vehicles. The annual production capacity is projected at an impressive 150,000 vehicles, with potential global scaling to 300,000.

The star of Kia's electric show is the PV5, a three-row van boasting futuristic styling slated to hit the roads in 2025, with an enticing price tag around $35,000. But that's just the beginning. Kia teased renders of a larger version (the PV7) anticipated in 2027 and a more compact, Smart Car-sized option (the PV1). The company is not stopping there—whispers of a robotaxi version potentially hitting the streets by 2028 add another layer of excitement.

Design-wise, these vehicles embrace a utilitarian aesthetic, standing in stark contrast to the sleek and charming Staria van from sibling company Hyundai. Yet, the bold and pragmatic design choices echo the promises of scalability and functionality that have become synonymous with struggling EV startup Canoo.

As Kia charts this electric odyssey, the company not only aims to redefine electric mobility for businesses but also hints at a future where these innovative vehicles could be accessible to regular consumers. The unveiling at CES 2024 paints a vivid picture of a dynamic industry landscape where modularity meets practicality, and Kia stands at the forefront of a revolution.

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