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Kia to establish its first electric PBV plant in South Korea

Posted on 24 Jun 2022 and read 532 times
Kia to establish its first electric PBV plant in South KoreaKia Corporation, which is in the midst of its transition into a ‘sustainable mobility provider’, has announced that it is to establish an all-new high-tech smart manufacturing facility dedicated to producing electric ‘purpose-built vehicles’ (PBVs, which Kia describes as “a modularisation-based platform that can flexibly change design and interior space, with safe and efficient movement provided using autonomous driving technology and an electrified powertrain).

The new production hub for PBVs will be located within Kia’s existing Hwaseong manufacturing site in South Korea, where the company plans to begin construction in the first half of 2023 and commence commercial production in the second half of 2025. The plant will initially be able to build 100,000 PBVs a year with the capacity to increase production to 150,000 units annually in line with the anticipated growth of PBV markets.

Dedicated PBV facility

Ho Sung Song, Kia Corporation’s president and CEO, said: “This dedicated PBV facility is one of the major pillars of our Plan S strategy as Kia seeks to claim the top position in the global PBV market. We will initially explore new markets with derivative PBV models, then gradually expand our presence in global markets with dedicated PBV models featuring autonomous driving technologies.”

Kia says it is one of the first global organisations to make headway in the PBV market; and as part of its Plan S roadmap, the company aims to become a PBV leader by 2030. The new PBV plant will feature ‘state of the art’ automation processes combined with advanced technologies that reduce carbon emissions during the production processes. The site will also be equipped with clean painting and energy-saving facilities designed to further minimise environmental impacts.

When operation begins in the second half of 2025, the new PBV facility will build a mid-size PBV, Kia’s first dedicated PBV model. This will be based on Kia’s ‘eS’ skateboard platform, explicitly developed for PBVs. The new platform can ‘flexibly accommodate’ various PBV model sizes in response to ‘diverse customer demands’.

Following the launch of the model codenamed SW, Kia will diversify into unmanned micro-size PBVs, general logistics, fresh food logistics, multi-seat shuttles, and large PBVs that can be used as mobile offices or shops. Each of Kia’s PBVs will be equipped with an OTA (Over the Air) capability that can wirelessly update the vehicle’s software in real-time.