Kia has begun to lay the groundwork for its Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV) business, partnering with cold chain startup 'S.lab Asia Inc.' to break into Singapore's last-mile delivery market. On January 28, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at launching a pilot project in Singapore using the Niro EV and evaluating the potential for a future PBV-based business model.
The Niro EV model optimized and modified for last-mile logistics service will be used in Singapore's city centre, in the process responding to the needs of the rapidly growing e-commerce market. In addition, the strategic model will also help strengthen the PBV capabilities and service operations of both partners.
As Kia's next-generation PBVs are currently undergoing final product development and optimization, Kia, in cooperation with S.lab Asia, will use the Niro EV with a modified interior for the ease of unloading and uploading S.lab Asia's boxes with a maximum loading space. The operations will begin in Singapore in the first half of this year, during which Kia will assess and advance its PBV business model, including product and service aspects, by applying the real-world lessons learned from utilizing the modified Niro EV in Singapore.
Kia, in cooperation with S.lab Asia, will use the Niro EV with a modified interior for the ease of unloading and uploading
DongSoo Ahn, Vice President and Head of the PBV Business Group at Kia Corporation said, "Kia will strive to lead the global PBV market by establishing partnerships with various operators through not only last-mile delivery services but also various open-innovation collaborations."
Kia will gain core PBV project competencies and experiences, including: developing EV-based PBVs that are optimized for last-mile delivery; advancing the Car as a Service (CaaS) platform for fleets and leasing needs; establishing an EV-charging ecosystem; and creating an EV fleet management services structure.
To successfully implement the project, Kia plans to establish a collaborative framework with key partners in this area, including Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore; SP Group, Singapore's largest EV-charging company; and Kia's local authorized dealer, Cycle & Carriage.
Kia will also collaborate with S.lab Asia to further develop and optimize its PBV business model for the Korean market, and expand similar services to the country in the first half of this year.