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Kia presents its Platform Beyond Vehicle (PBV) future strategy at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Kia’s PBV business will initially be based around the introduction of an all-new, modular vehicle, previewed by the Kia Concept PV5.
This future vision was presented alongside a multi-phase plan that will see PBVs revolutionize the mobility industry while helping to advance Hyundai Motor Group (H. M. G.) ambitions in robotics, Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), and autonomous driving.
Kia PBVs are a total mobility solution that combines fit-for-purpose EVs with advanced software solutions based on the Hyundai Motor Group’s software-to-everything, or SDx, strategy.
As a Platform Beyond Vehicle, Kia PBVs will open the door to new businesses and lifestyles by redefining the concept of space thanks to advanced, tailored interiors that provide ultimate freedom and flexibility.
«Kia’s PBV business represents our vision of going beyond the traditional concept of automobiles by fulfilling the unmet needs of diverse customers and communities through optimized vehicles and services catering to specific market and business circumstances», said Ho Sung Song, Kia President and CEO.
«Kia PBVs will be an enabler of business innovation thanks to our customer-centric management system, EV mass production expertise, and the Hyundai Motor Group’s rapidly developing SDx strategy and related future businesses. We are excited to show that we are fully prepared to become the first mover in the global PBV market», he added.
Using “Easy Swap” technology to flexibly address the diverse demands of customers, a single vehicle chassis can be used to fulfil multiple mobility needs.
Behind a fixed cab, or “driver zone”, a variety of interchangeable upper bodies, or “life modules”, can be connected to the base vehicle via a hybrid electromagnetic and mechanical coupling technology, turning the PBV into a taxi during the day, to a delivery van at night, and a personal recreational vehicle on weekends.
Modularization is further made possible thanks to “Dynamic Hybrid” weldless body structure assembly, which enables the length of moveable members to be flexibly adjusted according to vehicle use purpose.
Comprised of high-strength tubular steel and engineered polymers, typical parts are reduced by 55% with no loss in rigidity. Shipped in standardized, convenient kit form, Dynamic Hybrid technology will allow for the quick and simple in-field transformation of a Kia PV5.
The design of Kia’s PBVs is inspired by robust, simple and clever tools and goes far beyond mere aesthetics. Kia’s primary mission is to ensure that the brand’s PBVs are simple and intuitive to operate and engage with, regardless of where, when or how they are used.
Whether the purpose of the vehicle is to transport people, move goods, or meet logistics or personal mobility needs, each PBV shares a consistent quality of design that reflects its solid, robust nature and projects a dependable and highly capable attitude. There are no unnecessary adornments, with each feature designed to serve a useful function which makes the lives of vehicle users easier, as clearly demonstrated by the concepts unveiled at CES.
A combination of a simple yet robust surface language combined with expressive graphics seamlessly unifies the PV5 models, despite their diverse natures. On each vehicle, large doors open out to reveal an exceptionally accommodating pillarless opening that provides effortless ingress and egress.
Inside, the extended wheelbase and electric platform ensure wide, flat open spaces to offer near-endless stowage and usage possibilities. The driver’s experience is also enhanced, as the cockpit provides a desk-like surface, and the steering wheel can be folded to serve as a desk lamp, creating an office-like environment.
Sustainability sits at the core of Kia’s PBV design strategy. Extensive use of materials such as bio plastic, Post Consumer Material (PCM) plastic, bio paint, recycled PET fabric, felt and yarns, and bio-PU foam not only limits environmental impact today and tomorrow, but also delivers a unique visual and tactile appeal that leads to the creation of new aesthetic values.
While ensuring consistency in design across all vehicles, Kia will create an ecosystem that fosters interaction between PBVs. With extensive modularity — including the ability to share features across all vehicles — PBVs will enhance versatility, opening up limitless possibilities to cater to the needs of both businesses and individuals.
In line with Phase One, various versions of the PV5 will be available, including Basic, Van, High Roof, and Chassis Cab versions. In the future, Kia also plans to introduce a Robotaxi model developed with Motional — a joint-venture between H. M. G. and Aptiv —, which aims to provide a revolutionary autonomous hailing experience for passengers.
During Phase Two, symbiosis of the PBV ecosystem will be complimented by two further models, the PV7 and PV1, using cabinet and frame systems to enhance interaction and connectivity among vehicles based on the modular concept.
«Kia PBVs will initiate a new era of seamless everyday business and lifestyle solutions. We hope to make our customers’ lives easier and better, whether they’re stationary or on the move, offering exceptional flexibility and customization through radical modularization», said Karim Habib, Executive Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design.
«Untethered to any fixed place, and unbounded by the traditional restrictions of space, Kia PBVs offer users a blank canvas to reimagine their lifestyles and workstyles», he added.