Monday, July 15, 2024
NewsUber will Use Kia PBV Vans for its Fleet of Electric Taxis

Uber will Use Kia PBV Vans for its Fleet of Electric Taxis

Uber wants its drivers to use the upcoming Kia PBV vans.

  • Both companies have signed a memorandum of understanding.

  • These vehicles will be tailored to the needs of ride-hailing services like Uber.

  • Autonomous versions of the PBV vans will also be developped by Motional.

Kia and Uber have announced a new partnership that will see the ride-hailing company use the Korean automaker’s upcoming line of PBV Vans.

Launched a few weeks ago at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Kia PBV vans will be box-shaped electric vans that will feature a common platform which will allow for a variety of body configurations.

This means that while the first versions will all take the form of boxy MPVs, there is theoretically nothing stopping Kia from adding other variants such as pickup trucks or stripped-down cargo vans to its lineup.

While Kia will begin production of these new EVs with the midsized PV5 in both passenger and commercial versions, it has already shown a smaller and a larger model, called PV1 and PV7 respectively.

Kia Building Flexible Electric Commercial Vehicles

Kia and Uber will work together to determine the specifications that will be best suited for use in a ride-hailing service. Details about the changes made to the vehicles built for Uber are scarce, but the announcement mentions the possibility of a rear-seat entertainment system as well as audio and climate controls aimed at making rides more pleasant for customers.

Another feature which was showcased in an image released during the launch of the Kia PV5 is a display screen integrated in the front bumper of the vehicle, which can display things such as reservation numbers and vehicle occupancy status.

This would make it easier for Uber customers to know which vehicle to get into without having to talk to the driver.

Adopting a fleet of electric Kia PBV vans will help Uber reach its goal of operating exclusively electric vehicles by 2040, but the details of how this will happen remain unclear.

Kia PV5 Concept | Photo: Kia

Indeed, Uber doesn’t actually own the vehicles its drivers use to offer rides on the platform.

In the announcement, Kia says both companies will work together to offer Uber drivers incentives to switch over to the new vans when the time comes to replace their current vehicle.

These incentives could take the form of vehicle packages that include the van’s price, maintenance, and insurance bundled up into a single monthly fee.

In addition, the automaker will collaborate with Uber to develop other ways to make these models more accessible to drivers by lowering their purchase price, such as by offering to lease the battery separately.

Uber will not be the only company to operate a ride-hailing service with the Kia PBV vans, since Motional, a partner of the Hyundai Motor group, will develop autonomous versions of the Kia MPVs for use as robotaxis in large cities.

Kia PV5 Concept | Photo: Kia
Kia PV5 Concept | Photo: Kia

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