The Niro Plus, Kia's first "purpose-built vehicle," was unveiled. Kia is a provider of future-proof mobility solutions, and the company's PBV models are widely anticipated to play a significant role in the evolution of transportation in the years ahead.
The Kia Niro EV's first generation will be modified to meet the needs of modern car-sharing, and the Kia Niro Plus will be initially introduced as an electric taxi in Korea. Korea's first single-seater van, the Kia Ray Van, was introduced in February to meet the rising national demand for small cars for courier services, and this new car follows in its footsteps.
Kia is aiming to become the market leader in the PBV sector by 2030 and is already one of the industry's pioneers. In this regard, the company is working on a specialized platform for the mass production of PBVs in various sizes and forms to accommodate shifting market demands.
When the global PBV market matures in 2025, Kia will introduce its first PBV-specific model. The first dedicated PBV from the brand will have the same footprint as a midsize car and can be customized to meet various needs.
"Kia is changing its business strategy to focus on the deployment of electric cars and the introduction of new mobility products tailored to the needs of users worldwide," said Sangdae Kim, Head of Kia's e-LCV Business Division. Niro Plus is our inaugural offering in the rapidly expanding PBV market.
Kia's Niro Plus is a step toward the company's goal of becoming a pioneer in the PBV industry and a provider of reliable mobility solutions. It's also indicative of the growing interest in all-electric commercial transport solutions like taxis and ridesharing.
Kia is working on a consumer version of the Kia Niro Plus that can serve various needs in the workplace and beyond. Kia imagines, for instance, that a small business owner will put the Kia Niro Plus to work during the week and then take advantage of the vehicle's adaptability by using it for recreational purposes like camping and weekend sightseeing.
Due to the surge in online shopping that occurred during the pandemic, the need for courier and logistics services has skyrocketed. Kia intends to meet the growing demand for PBVs by offering a more comprehensive selection of vehicle sizes, from compact micro-PBVs to large PBVs that can serve as an alternative to traditional modes of public transportation or as mobile workplaces.
In its standard, non-taxi configuration, the Kia Niro Plus will hit select international markets in the second half of 2018. The Kia Niro Plus will be offered in a plug-in hybrid and a hybrid variant in these markets in response to local consumer preferences.
Kia plans to grow its PBV business worldwide with the Niro Plus gradually, and the company will soon announce additional launch markets and related information.
Kia's popular electric crossover, the Kia Niro EV, served as the basis for the Niro Plus taxi model. The global success of the Kia Niro EV since its 2018 introduction reflects the rising demand for multipurpose electric vehicles.
The Kia Niro Plus is Kia's response to the needs of Korea's taxi industry, and it's an improved version of the original Kia Niro. In order to accommodate more passengers, the Niro Plus taxi model was lengthened by 10 millimeters and raised by 80 millimeters from the first generation Niro without roof racks. As a result of careful engineering, the Niro Plus taxi model's cabin is larger than the standard Kia Niro electric car, despite having thinner seats and door trim. In addition to the standard features, the taxi and general versions also include extras like door reflectors and auxiliary handles for passengers' safety and convenience.
By eliminating the need for multiple screens and devices, taxi models with integrated all-in-one display greatly enhance the convenience and security of drivers. Valuable information to taxi drivers, such as navigation, a taximeter, a digital odometer, and voice recognition, will all be displayed on the screen. Information on nearby charging stations for electric vehicles and other points of interest will also be incorporated into the system. Over-the-air (OTA) updates and services will be made available through a network of partnerships that Kia plans to form with regional and national businesses.