Kia Corporation has announced plans for a dedicated Purpose-Built Vehicle (PBV) manufacturing plant within the Korean carmaker’s existing Hwaseong facility. Kia is among the first to gain significant headway in the PBV market, and the company has plans to become a global PBV leader by 2030.
The conglomerate (Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis) plans to grab a 12 percent market share of global electric vehicle sales by 2030, equivalent to selling 3.23 million EVs per year globally. “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,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO of Kia Corporation.
Automated Manufacturing Plant
Construction of the new facility will begin in 2023 with the first production PBV expected by mid-2025. According to Kia, its new PBV plant will feature state-of-the-art automation processes and advanced technologies that reduce carbon emissions via its proprietary E-Forest ecosystem. The latter uses artificial intelligence, robotics, data connectivity, and automation to produce vehicles more efficiently and economically.
Furthermore, the new plant will have energy-saving facilities and a “clean paint booth” to further reduce its carbon footprint. Kia claims the new plant could initially produce 100,000 PBVs annually, but the facility can churn out as many as150,000 units if needed.
First Kia PBV
Kia’s first battery-electric PBV is a midsize car riding on a dedicated “eS” skateboard platform. This flexible architecture accommodates PBVs of many sizes and shapes that suit “diverse customer demands,” said Kia. Now living under the codename SW, Kia’s soon-to-arrive PBV will spawn autonomous micro-sized units (for fresh food deliveries, general logistics, multi-seat shuttles, etc.) and extra-large variants that can function as mobile offices or shops. Kia adds that all PBVs can receive over-the-air software updates.
The Hyundai Group has enjoyed a steady rise in global electric vehicle sales thanks to brand-new offerings like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Genesis GV60. The group has sold 76,801 EVs during Q1 2022, marking a 73 percent rise from the same period in 2021.