Kia is betting heavily on electric vans, and it is jumping in with plans to build a new plant within the existing Hwaseong, South Korea, manufacturing complex dedicated to their production.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2023, and car production – in the second half of 2025, Kia said on Wednesday. It was initially targeted at 100,000 units per year with a final increase to 150,000 units per year.
The cars produced at this factory will be in Kia called “Murpose Built Vehicles” (PBV), which is the manufacturer’s term for electric commercial vehicles.
Kia special car rendering
“Initially, we will explore new markets with PBV derivatives, and then gradually expand our presence in global markets with special PBV models with autonomous driving technology,” said Kia CEO Ho Son Song.
Kia has announced that it will launch its PBV line with a sequel to the first-generation Kia Niro EV – essentially as special taxi for the Kia domestic market. Future PBV models will potentially fit next seven special EV Kia plans until 2027, so in addition to models such as EV6, Niro EV and future electric pickup and SUV EV9.
Kia Niro Plus – a special electric taxi
The first special PBV model will be a mid-size car, Kia said. Codenamed SW, it will use a new platform called eS, developed specifically for PBV.
Following the launch of this model in 2025, Kia plans to offer a range of vehicles, including “unmanned PBV microsizes”, shuttles and larger vehicles “that can be used as mobile offices or shops”. All PBVs will have the ability to upgrade over the air (OTA), Kia said.