Kia Announces New Three-Phase Plan for Platform-Based Vehicles

January 10th, 2024 by


Just before year’s end (2023), the Kia Corp teased its new “Platform Beyond Vehicle” for the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Called the new “PBV”, previously the acronym for “purpose-built vehicles”. After the automaker invested in its E-FOREST production facility for the latter, we’re curious what business plan they have in mind. Apparently, “modular” platforms are in.

There was a time when it sounded like Kia, the Hyundai Motor Group, and New Horizons were working together to make real-life autobots and transformers. Automobiles that can transform based on their current purpose or utilization, Kia is pushing forward its plans to provide a mobility solution for all kinds of consumers in the market. Helping to advance Hyundai Motor Group’s ambitions in robotics, Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), and autonomous driving efforts, Kia is turning its Plan S Strategy into a three-path approach – it’s not just battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), purpose-built vehicles – it’s also about platform-based vehicles.

The new PBV will be introduced in three phases stemming from the development in BEVs. In 2022, Kia released the Niro Plus, a robotaxi service overseas in South Korea. Introducing something similar, called the Kia PV5, phase one focuses on producing a BEV for hailing, delivery, and utilities that can enhance the data connectivity between vehicles. The latter is most-likely geared towards commercial fleets that need to share information, and phase one will address such features to enable convenient operation of multiple vehicles via software. It will also be cost-effective, something every business likes.

Phase two changes the focus to include AI-based mobility platforms evolving the data interaction and connectivity between consumers and software. Working to build a customized, seamless experience across devices with software, this seems to be an extension of Kia Connect, the new cloud service Kia introduced to allow consumers to customize their driving experience in a variety of ways. The evolution of this will allow new forms of robotics and other future technologies to emerge in the auto industry. During this phase, various versions of the PV5 model with different cab designs will be made available. The cab choices include Basic, Van, High Roof, and Chassis Cab versions.

Kia PBVs will then enter a “life platform” stage in phase three, and the “smart city concept” that the Hyundai Motor Group introduced during the 2022 CES, could be a large part of it. Phase three is an aid to evolve to be highly customizable in a future mobility ecosystem. Going beyond connected self-driving vehicles that can be managed “as part of a single smart city operating system”. Then, modular platforms are introduced. Phase two will introduce (1) PV7, a model defined by more interior space, greater driving range, and enhanced functionalities, and (2) the PV1, designed for agility and short-distance logistics transportation.

Called “Easy Swap” technology, a single-vehicle chassis can be customized to fulfill multiple mobility needs with fixed cabs and interchangeable upper bodies. Utilizing hybrid electromagnetic and mechanical coupling technology, a vehicle can be turned into a taxi during day hours, and then turn the same vehicle into a more personalized or recreational vehicle for nights off. That same car can also be turned into a delivery van. Composed of high-strength tubular steel and engineered polymers, this allows for quick and simple in-field transformation of a Kia PV5. With sustainability in mind, bio plastic, Post Consumer Material (PCM) plastic, bio paint, recycled PET fabric, felt and yarns, and bio-PU foam are used as well.

“Kia PBVs will initiate a new era of seamless everyday business and lifestyle solutions. We hope to make our customers’ lives easier and better, whether they’re stationary or on the move, offering exceptional flexibility and customization through radical modularisation,” – Karim Habib, Executive Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design

Phase three will introduce PBV modularity using an integrated rail system on the vehicle’s ceiling, floor, and exterior, including the side panels. Using cabinets and frames, the rail system allows for movement of modular pieces between vehicles and “tiles” or functional accessories, such as speakers and shelves. Here, we see how the “easy swap” technology scenario is made possible.

Want to keep up with the Kia Corp and its new Platform-based Vehicle business strategy? Follow along with us on Miami Lakes Automall social media.

Photo Source/Copyright: Kia Media
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