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Kia considers electric trucks to be key products for mobility, self-driving technology

Kia is betting big on electric trucks and it’s jumping in with plans to build an existing factory in Hwaseong, South Korea, a manufacturing complex dedicated to making them.

Kia expects construction to begin in the first half of 2023, with vehicle production expected to begin in the second half of 2025, Kia said on Wednesday. It initially targeted 100,000 units per year, then increased to 150,000 units annually.

Vehicles produced at the plant will be what Kia calls “Purpose Vehicles” (PBVs), the automaker’s term for electric commercial vehicles.

Rendering Kia's purpose-built vehicles

Rendering Kia’s purpose-built vehicles

“We will initially explore new markets with derivative PBV models, then gradually expand our presence in global markets with dedicated PBV models featuring autonomous driving technology. action,” Kia CEO Ho Sung Song said in a statement.

Kia has said that it will start its PBV lineup with a continuation of the first-generation Kia Niro EV — essentially a special taxi for Kia’s home market. Future PBV models will likely be suitable for seven dedicated EVs Kia has plans for 2027 — so in addition to models like the EV6, Niro EV, and upcoming EV9 . electric pickup and SUV.

Kia Niro Plus - dedicated electric taxi

Kia Niro Plus – dedicated electric taxi

Kia says the first dedicated PBV model will be a mid-size car. Codenamed SW, it will use a new platform called eS specifically designed for PBVs.

Following the launch of this model in 2025, Kia plans to offer a wide range of vehicles, including “micro driverless PBVs,” shuttles and large vehicles “that can be used.” make an office or a mobile shop.” Kia says all PBVs will have over-the-air (OTA) update capabilities.

PBV is part of $25 Billion “Plan S” switch to Kia electric vehicles starting in 2020. Last year, the automaker updated its sustainability roadmap to include hydrogen and carbon neutrality plans.

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