Kia will unveil its EV for mobility services at CES 2024 in January.
The vehicle is known as the PBV, but the meaning of that acronym has changed since Kia first announced it. The automaker at first said PBV stood for "Purpose-Built Vehicle," but has now redefined it—marketing or not—as "Platform Beyond Vehicle."
Kia announced the PBV in April, and how it will spawn a robotaxi plus vehicles specialized for ride-hailing and last-mile delivery. The first of these will be a midsize vehicle built in South Korea starting in 2025.
Rendering of Kia Purpose Built Vehicles
The 2025 production date was mentioned again in a press release announcing the PBV's CES debut. Keynote speakers will also discuss other future tech, including "Easy Swap" and "Dynamic Hybrid modularization," the release said, without any explanation of what those things might be.
Commercial vehicles like the PBV are an important part of Kia's EV strategy. Kia announced in 2022 that it sees electric vans as key products for both mobility and autonomous vehicle tech, that that will likely be an important part of this flexible lineup.
Kia Niro Plus - purpose-built electric taxi
In its home market, Kia has continued building the previous-generation Niro EV as the brand's first PBV for fleets or taxi operators, but the lineup launching at CES will truly be the first designed from scratch for whatever flexibility a specific task or company needs.
If Kia does look to the PBV lineup for a ride-hailing vehicle, this wouldn't be the first time such a product has taken form. Arrival, for instance, designed a car specifically for Uber. And the Origin, from GM's troubled Cruise unit, looks farther ahead to a driverless electric future.