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NowCar Kia Niro Plus PBV

Kia Reveals First Test PBV - the Niro Plus

Written By, Jordan R

Back in 2020, Kia Corp shared its Plan S Strategy, a new business strategy with a forked path. The automaker was going to shift its resources towards electric vehicle (EV) production, with the goal of launching 11 EVs by 2025. Down the other path was purpose-built vehicles (PBVs), and these have started to pop up, such as the presentation by Hyundai Motor Co and Kia during the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Then, in March 2022, Kia shared its future plans for the automaker during its 2022 CEO Investor Day. Kia had more expanded goals beyond its earlier goal, with 14 battery-electric vehicle (BEV) models produced by 2027, connected car features in every Kia vehicle (including autonomous driving technologies), and by 2030, the first official PBVs. Testing the first of their kind, Kia Corp revealed “Niro Plus”, the automaker’s first PBV as a Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider.

The first dedicated PBV model is set to release by 2025, with Kia currently modifying the Niro EV to deploy a zero-emissions taxi. Several other automakers looking into EV and PBV have also designed robotaxis to act as vehicles for ride hailing as the first test of their PBV. During this testing phase in the modified Niro EV, the automaker will be analyzing how PBVs of different shapes and sizes can meet evolving customer needs and market trends. This data will help in designing the first official PBV model, a mid-sized vehicle designed for business and recreation.

“Kia is transforming its business strategy to focus on popularizing EVs, and introducing new mobility products that are tailored to the needs of users in markets around the world. The Niro Plus is our first step into the world of PBVs, a market that holds great potential for future development.” - Sangdae Kim, Head of Kia eLCV Business Division

Kia Niro Plus – Taxi Model

Launching in Korea, the first Kia PBV is the Niro Plus, designed for use as a taxi or a vehicle that can be used by ride hailing services. Based off of an already popular vehicle, the Niro Plus is a little larger than the Niro EV to give occupants more space inside the cabin with slimmer bodies and slimmer seats – hopefully still just as comfortable. Set to show up in future models, an All-in-One Display has been integrated into the dashboard of the taxi model to increase the convenience for the driver and the safety of all onboard. Taxi drivers can seamlessly go through information on the display, such as navigation, app taximeter, digital tachograph and voice recognition. A bit of a smart system, relevant points of interest and locations of nearby EV charging stations will also be recommended along the trip to the next destination. Eventually, Kia will partner with local and national businesses to offer over-the-air (OTA) updates and services.

Kia’s First PBV

Part of Kia Corp’s plans to become a Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider also includes the Niro Plus as a business and leisure model. Most likely the test model for the first PBV, this Niro Plus model will be for use by private owners, not just taxi drivers. With business and recreational purposes in mind, a small business owner can make use of the the Niro Plus for work during the week, and then on the weekend, use that same PBV to go camping or take a trip to the beach. A vehicle that can be used as a mode of transportation for any destination is just the start.

The next step for a PBV would be an alternative to public transportation, or a vehicle that can be used as a mobile office. To increase awareness about the PBV and Kia’s electric initiatives, the Niro Plus will be available as battery electric vehicle (BEV) model, as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and original hybrid (HEV) version. The different types of markets that PBVs will be designed for will be announced sometime this year. During the 2022 CES, Hyundai and Kia previewed a PBV for emergency situations, literally a hospital room on wheels, and much more fit to handle critical patients than today’s modern ambulance.

Interested to learn more? We sure are. You can follow along with us when you follow NowCar social media.

Photo Source/Copyright: Kia Media