Kia is entering the world of utility vehicles with the chassis of the future. During the day, it changes its purpose easily three times.
Last May, Kia announced an ambitious plan to become a leading player in the commercial vehicle segment. As it begins to build on the “green field”, it develops a pack of vehicles ready for the future of logistics. While previously she only showed us dark silhouettes, she is presenting concrete visions at CES 2024 in Las Vegas.
The commercial vehicle model series will be called PBV (Platform Beyond Vehicle). These will be electric cars equipped with level 4 autonomous driving and advanced artificial intelligence technology. The idea is to have the entire fleet under command from a central hub. This means entering orders, planning routes, charging breaks, temperature control in shipping boxes, and so on. In addition, cars will be connected to urban infrastructure, which will increase their efficiency of movement.
In addition to the cars, Kia will also supply the entire fleet ecosystem, including the software platform and implementation of the charging infrastructure, which will of course also be fully programmable. The involvement of artificial intelligence will facilitate complete adaptation to the client’s individual requirements.
The model range will consist of standardized chassis of various lengths with a cab and cargo platform. It will be possible to attach any superstructure to it using a hybrid electromagnetic and mechanical connection in a very short time. The car starts the day as a taxi, transforms into a van at night and a recreational vehicle at weekends. Utility superstructures will be equipped with universal anchor points for the integration of an abundance of accessories.
The first of the PBV chassis series will be the mid-size Kia PV5 model. It will be delivered as a classic passenger and box van with the option of a high roof and also as a chassis with a cab. It will be followed by the purely urban chassis PV1 with a small turning radius and finally the largest PV7 for long-distance deliveries with a large battery.
The load-bearing elements of the body are a welded construction of high-strength tubular steel and synthetic polymers, while some stiffeners can be 55% smaller without loss of stiffness. The interior uses ecological materials such as bio-plastics, post-consumer plastics, bio-paints, recycled PET fabric, felt and bio-PU foam. The dashboard is shaped like a table and the steering wheel with integrated lamp can be folded down to create an office. The App Market will help the driver on the road with information and entertainment applications.
This is not just a vision. Kia and Hyundai are already negotiating with partners such as Uber, Coupang, CJ Logistics, Kakao Mobility and Dubai Taxi Corporation in connection with the transportation of people and goods, including robotaxi. The PBV vehicles will be manufactured at a newly built factory in Korea’s Autoland Hwaseong. Already in 2025, 150,000 cars should leave here.