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Kia and Uber collaboration signals ambitious future for ridehail


Image credit: Kia

In a groundbreaking move at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Kia Corporation has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Uber, signalling a major shift in the mobility sector.


This alliance is set to change the ride-hailing landscape, aligning with Kia's ambitious 'Platform Beyond Vehicle' strategy.

Central to this partnership is the focus on developing Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs), tailored to enhance the offerings on Uber's mobility platform. This is a strategic step towards achieving Uber's 2040 zero-emission target. The collaboration will see Kia honing in on the perfect specifications for these vehicles, potentially integrating advanced technology and services to elevate the experience for both drivers and users of the ride-hailing service.


Kia's PBV project, unveiled at CES, is part of a longer-term vision by Hyundai Motor Group. This initiative spans robotics, Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), and autonomous driving, aiming to further disrupt and transform the mobility industry over the next decade. The PBV lineup, beginning with the modular Kia PV5, will later expand to include a range of variations like the PV5 High Roof, PV5 Van, and PV5 Pickup, each offering distinct features with specific optimisations for Uber's requirements.


A key aspect of this partnership is the incorporation of Kia Connect services. These diagnostic and preventive measures are designed to enhance operational efficiencies through data-driven solutions, reducing maintenance costs and vehicle downtime.

The collaboration also aims to redefine the driver and passenger experience. This includes the development of connected car experiences, with possible enhancements like personalised climate and sound control, and interactive entertainment systems for rear-seat passengers.


Moreover, the partnership is exploring ways to reduce the total cost of vehicle ownership. This involves analysing various PBV options and potential Battery as a Service (BaaS) subscription models, potentially reducing initial vehicle purchase costs.


Further details on the implementation of Kia's PBV strategy in the UK market will be released in the near future. This partnership marks a significant step towards a more efficient, sustainable, and user-centric future in mobility.


SeungKyu (Sean) Yoon, president & CEO, Kia North America, and Kia America, said: “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.


“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.”


Sangdae Kim, Head of PBV Division, Kia, said: “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.”


Susan Anderson, Vice President, Global Head of Business Development, said: “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.


“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.”

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