Updated: Apr 16
Kia has today revealed the Niro Plus, its first ‘purpose-built vehicle’ (PBV) ready-made for Korean taxi drivers.
Kia has explored ways to help people and businesses move beyond traditional vehicles, and the company expects its PBV models to be an important part of future mobility options in both the taxi and ride-hail market.
The Kia Niro Plus will be deployed as a general model and zero-emission taxi in Korea, with the company modifying the first generation Niro EV to make it suitable for the demands of modern-day car-hailing. Its introduction follows the launch of the Ray Van in February, Korea’s first single-seater van designed to satisfy the growing national demand for small cargo delivery services.
Kia is one of the first movers in the global PBV market and plans to become a market leader by 2030. To this end, the company is developing a dedicated platform upon which PBVs of different shapes and sizes can sit, meeting evolving customer needs and market trends.
Kia will launch its first dedicated PBV model in 2025, by which time the global PBV market is expected to mature. The brand’s first dedicated PBV will be similar in size to a mid-sized vehicle, with inherent scalability.
Sangdae Kim, Head of Kia eLCV Business Division, said: “Kia is transforming its business strategy to focus on popularizing EVs, and introducing new mobility products that are tailored to the needs of users in markets around the world. The Niro Plus is our first step into the world of PBVs, a market that holds great potential for future development.”
The Niro Plus taxi model is based on the first generation Niro EV – Kia’s popular electric crossover. Since its launch in 2018, the Niro EV has sold globally, demonstrating the growing public appetite for versatile BEVs.
Kia has made several enhancements to the first generation Niro to make the Niro Plus ready to meet the robust demands of Korean taxi operators. Length and height of Niro Plus taxi model have increased by 10 mm and 80 mm respectively (compared to the first generation Niro without roof rack), to give occupants more space inside the cabin. Slimmed-down structures have also contributed to the greater cabin space, with the Niro Plus taxi model featuring thinner seats and door trims compared to the original Niro EV. Additional passenger safety and convenience features including door reflectors and assist handles are also available in both the taxi and general versions.
An integrated All-in-One Display for taxi model greatly improves convenience and safety for the driver, by removing the need for multiple devices and screens. The display will include all information relevant for taxi drivers to seamlessly go about their work, including navigation, app taximeter, digital tachograph and voice recognition. The system will also include data on relevant points of interest and locations of nearby EV charging stations. Kia plans to partner with local and national businesses to offer over-the-air (OTA) updates and services.