South Korean automaker Kia launches Niro Plus as its first ‘purpose-built vehicle’ (PBV).
The Kia Niro Plus will be deployed as a general model and zero-emission taxi in Korea.
Kia modified the first generation Niro EV to make it suitable for the demands of modern-day car-hailing.
Kia has revealed the Niro Plus, its first ‘purpose-built vehicle’ (PBV). As a Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider, Kia is exploring diverse ways to help people and businesses move beyond traditional automotive, and the company expects its PBV models to be an important part of future mobility.
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, commented :
“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 is firmly part of Kia’s plans to become a Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider and leader in PBV development. It also reflects a greater public demand for more sustainable means of working and traveling.
Kia is planning a general version of the Niro Plus for private owners, which can be used for many business and recreational purposes including car-hailing services. For example, Kia is envisaging a scenario where a small business owner uses the Niro Plus for work during the week, before making the most of its versatility at the weekend for leisure activities such as camping or visits to the seaside or mountains.
The demand for delivery and logistics services has increased significantly following the acceleration in e-commerce during the Covid-19 pandemic. As the PBV market grows, Kia plans to gradually expand its range from micro to large PBVs that can potentially offer an alternative to public transportation or even be used as mobile offices.