Kia Motors and HMG to Spearhead PBV Production

May 13th, 2020 by

Kia Motors, part of the Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) will be seeing a lot of interesting changes in the coming years. Even with European Kia Chief Operating Officer Emilio Herrera optimistic about future sales, and the future of the company, we may see a pause in some of the larger endeavors, like the MoceanLab opened up in Los Angeles, California, U.S., and the Air Taxi concept debuted at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, a shared endeavor between Kia Motors, Hyundai Motors, and Uber. Still, before all of this came to pass, Kia Motors launched a Plan S Strategy, and by golly, it’s on like Donkey Kong!

Fueled by South Korea-based Hyundai Motor Co., amongst plans for future vehicle design and production, a market ripe with possibility is quickly gaining attention. It’s the world of purpose-built vehicle (PBV) services, and HMG wants to get on the ground floor with a combined investment total of $81.5 billion – $49.8 trillion by Hyundai Motor and $23.6 trillion by Kia Motors – over the next six years. Kia Motors has already announced two new upcoming electric vehicles, following the path set out by their Plan S Strategy, but this train is running on two tracks. The PBV market was also announced as a part of Plan S, with designs ranging from self-driving pizza delivery vans to mobility hubs in various cities.

See that? It was the video shared at CES 2020 by HMG. Amongst the air taxi, there were many capsule-looking vehicles running about. Those are PBVs. As we can see, all of them had some kind of purpose. There was a PBV for shopping and delivery, one for public transportation, a hub of multi-connected PBVs for people on-the-go or transferring from one to another, and we think we saw a mobile gym in there somewhere. Now is the time to get started on building an ecosystem of mobility, especially with the current pandemic. Imagine a mobile hospital room hub that could be driven to the best doctor in the city for whatever that patient is suffering from.

It’s all about imagination at this point, and Hyundai Motor Group President and Head of R&D division Albert Biermann want to spearhead the automaker’s purpose-based car designs by forming a new task force team made up of related research and development staff for PBV development alone. Housing all related staff under one roof will help focus on mobility services that use electric power trains to avoid time spent at gas stations with portable energy sources (on-board batteries), and designed to fulfill special needs, with patients transportation and delivery services at the forefront, followed by other medical needs, then shopping and hotel services.

A new type of on-demand ride-sharing, it’s the beginning of what some could call a “smart” city where everything runs on electricity and various forms of transportation drive themselves. With PBVs and mobility hubs, people can spend time in social instances while on their way to their destination instead of sitting directly across from a stranger. Think of a dining cart on a train, but much, much larger. That’s what a mobility hub would be like, and then PBVs would drive from one to another for various services and functions.

On top of all of this, based on the study on post-coronavirus market trends by Global Business Intelligence Center, the PBV market is about to explode. One day, social gatherings and places to commune will open up in full, but social distancing will still be a large factor for some time. With quarantine coming in waves, having unmanned delivery vans could quickly become in demand.

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