Kia Corporation and Uber have formalized their collaboration through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), pledging joint efforts in the development and deployment of PBVs (Purpose-Built Vehicles). This strategic partnership aims to expand electric vehicle offerings on Uber’s mobility platform, aligning with the ride-hailing giant’s goal of achieving zero emissions by 2040.

The collaboration, an integral part of Kia’s ‘Platform Beyond Vehicle’ strategy in the mobility market, intends to produce Kia PBVs tailored for drivers and fleets, enhancing the ride-hailing experience with advanced technology, software, and services.

SeungKyu (Sean) Yoon, President & CEO of Kia North America and Kia America, expressed, “PBVs will play a key role in the customization 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.”

As part of the collaboration, drivers on the Uber platform will have the option to choose Kia vehicles equipped with a comprehensive suite of offerings, facilitating the transition to electrification and contributing to both companies’ sustainability goals.

The partnership’s objectives extend to the identification of optimal specifications for PBV models, potential integration of technology and services, and the creation of proofs of concept, prototypes, and production of PBVs designed to meet the needs of Uber platform users.

Sangdae Kim, Head of the PBV Division at Kia, highlighted the role of PBVs in the transformation of mobility, focusing on advanced software, interactive In-Vehicle Infotainment, and advanced safety technology.

The collaboration aims to explore ways to moderate the total cost of vehicle ownership by analyzing various PBV options and potential Battery-as-a-service (BaaS) subscription offerings, thereby reducing initial vehicle purchase costs.

Susan Anderson, Vice President of Global Head of Business Development at Uber, noted, “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.”

The application of Kia Connect diagnostic and preventive services will enhance operational efficiencies, utilizing data-driven solutions to detect potential malfunctions, minimizing maintenance costs and downtime.

Kia’s PBV project, revealed at CES earlier this week, outlines a multi-phase, decade-long plan to revolutionize the mobility industry. The initial phase includes the introduction of the Kia PV5, an all-new modular vehicle, with additional versions such as PV5 High Roof, PV5 Van, PV5 Chassis Cab, PV5 Robotaxi, and PV5 Pickup set to be launched in the future.

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