Kia has launched its first ‘purpose-built vehicle’ (PBV). As a Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider, Kia is exploring ways to help people and businesses move beyond traditional automotive.
The company, according to a statement, 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’s first dedicated PBV model will launch 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.
“Kia is transforming its business strategy to focus on popularising EVs, and introducing new mobility products that are tailored to the needs of users in markets around the world,” said Sangdae Kim, Head of Kia eLCV Business Division. “The Niro Plus is our first step into the world of PBVs, a market that holds great potential for future development.”
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.
The general, non-taxi version of the Niro Plus will be made available in select overseas markets in the second half of the year.
In addition to the battery electric vehicle (BEV) version, the Niro Plus will be available as plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) electric vehicles in these markets, reflecting country-specific characteristics and diverse customer needs.
The Niro Plus taxi model is based on the first-generation Niro EV – Kia’s popular electric crossover. Since its launch in 2018, the Niro EV has sold globally, demonstrating the growing public appetite for versatile BEVs.
Length and height of Niro Plus taxi model have increased by 10 mm and 80 mm respectively (compared to the first-generation Niro without roof rack), to give occupants more space inside the cabin.
Slimmed-down structures have also contributed to the greater cabin space, with the Niro Plus taxi model featuring thinner seats and door trims compared to the original Niro EV.
Additional passenger safety and convenience features including door reflectors and assist handles are also available in both the taxi and general versions.