Kia to offer ride hailing PBVs to drivers on Uber platform

Kia and Uber have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the CES 2024, committing the two companies to collaborate on Kia’s planned development and deployment of PBVs.

With the goal of enhancing electric vehicle offerings available on Uber’s mobility platform and supporting the global ride hailing leader in achieving its 2040 zero-emission goal, the partnership will seek to produce Kia PBVs optimized for drivers and fleets as part of Kia’s "Platform Beyond Vehicle" strategy in this field of the mobility market.

Kia to offer ride hailing PBVs to drivers on the Uber platform

The intentions of the collaboration are for Kia to identify optimal specifications for PBV models, with the possible further integration of technology and services to benefit drivers and ride hailing users alike. The partnership’s goals also extend to the creation of proofs of concept, prototypes, and the production of PBVs tailored to the needs of drivers that use the Uber platform.

New driver and passenger experiences could be facilitated through the development of optimized operational solutions, building connected car experiences for all. Personalized riding environments, including climate and sound control, and interactive rear-seat entertainment systems, may also follow.

Kia and Uber will collaborate on ways to moderate total cost of vehicle ownership by analyzing the various PBV options and potential Battery as a Service (BaaS) subscription offerings to reduce initial vehicle purchase costs.

With the goal of bringing benefits to Uber and drivers alike, the collaboration is also expected to see the growth of the Kia Flex program in North America, with global expansion planned for the near future.

Currently in operation across several states in the U.S., Kia Flex allows drivers to choose Kia vehicles for use on the Uber platform. The expansion of Kia Flex will offer drivers on the Uber platform a comprehensive vehicle package, including EV options, insurance, and maintenance.

The application of future Kia Connect diagnostic and preventive services can help drive operational efficiencies by using data-driven solutions to detect signs of potential malfunctions, potentially reducing maintenance outlay and downtime.

Revealed at the CES 2024, Kia’s PBV project is a multi-phase, decade-long plan to see PBVs revolutionize the mobility industry while helping to advance Hyundai’s ambitions in robotics, Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), and autonomous driving.

The PBV business will initially be based around the introduction of an all-new, modular vehicle, called the Kia PV5, with more versions set to be launched, including: the PV5 High Roof, PV5 Van, PV5 Chassis Cab, PV5 Robotaxi and PV5 Pickup. While all variants will be based on the same modular versatility of the base model, each is expected to offer a unique set of characteristics, with further Uber-specific optimizations tailored for the ride hailing market.

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