To meet the diverse – and ever-evolving – needs of customers, Kia revealed a new family of versatile and highly customizable vehicles at CES in Las Vegas on Monday. The South Korean automaker’s new Platform Beyond Vehicles, PBV for short, are EVs designed to revolutionize the mobility industry with interchangeable bodies and tailor-made interiors.
Previewing this new product range is the PV5 concept, a vehicle that should be offered with a range of different bodies, from van and high-roof delivery formats to a chassis cab and, in the future, even an autonomous taxi. Behind the fixed cab, or “driver zone” in Kia parlance, different bodies can be attached to the PV5’s underlying structure, with an electromagnetic and mechanical coupling system holding everything together.
Thanks to the weldless structures and various movable members, these new Kia concepts can easily be transformed right in the field, allowing a PBV to serve as a taxi by day, a delivery van at night and a personal vehicle on weekends.
In a media release shared by Kia, Ho Sung Song, the company’s president and CEO said, “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.”
Executing a multi-phase plan, Kia will first make several versions of the PV5 available. After that, the automaker plans to introduce additional models including the larger PV7, which will offer more range and interior space, as well as the smaller PV1, a product designed specifically for short-range logistics.
“Kia PBVs will initiate a new era of seamless everyday business and lifestyle solutions,” said Karim Habib, executive vice president and head of Kia global design. “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.”
Helping customers do more, PBV is more than just a range of highly customizable vehicles, it’s also a new business division. In addition to EVs, the brand will offer AI technologies, predictive maintenance, a fleet management system and much more, technologies designed to make the ownership experience better. Customers will be able to efficiently keep tabs on a whole fleet of PBVs, tracking sales, inventory and deliveries if they wish. In-vehicle temperature control is also an option, as is intelligent route planning to maximize efficiency.
Pierre-Martin Bos, vice president and director of PBV said, “The Kia PBV business is the pinnacle of our customer-centric business approach. With the aim of developing PBVs and solutions tailored to their business environments, we are confident that these strong partnerships will be a driving force on the road to becoming a sustainable mobility solutions provider.”
Putting its money where its proverbial mouth is to help make all this a reality, Kia is building a dedicated PBV plant in Hwaseong, Korea. The factory is expected to start producing vehicles in 2025 and should have an annual capacity of 150,000 units.