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Hyundai and Kia to take on Rivian and Amazon with electric vans

Meet Hyundai’s PBV concept. A production version could soon be driving around on public roads.

Hyundai and Kia have announced a €100 million ($A161.5m) strategic investment in Arrival, a UK-based electric vehicle (EV) start-up, with the former chipping in €80 million ($A129.2m), while the latter is contributing €20 million ($A32.3m).

Crucially, this new partnership will see Hyundai and Kia introduce a range of zero-emissions purpose-built vehicles (PBVs) that will go toe to toe with that of emerging EV specialist Rivian.

Arrival’s scalable ‘skateboard’ EV platform will underpin these upcoming PBVs, which will primarily be used by logistics and mobility companies. It has a modular structure that incorporates the battery pack, electric motor/s and driveline components.

Specifically, Hyundai and Kia currently have “competitively priced” small and mid-size vans in the works, while “other products” covering “multiple vehicle categories and types” – and therefore meeting “diverse customer needs” – are being “explored”.

From the outset, Hyundai and Kia’s new PBVs will target the European market, which has “rapidly growing demand … for eco-friendly commercial vehicles” due to its tightening emissions regulations, but their expansion into other markets has already been hinted at.

Arrival already has pilot programs underway with several logistics companies in Europe, all of which are using van with its in-house developed architecture.

Hyundai revealed its PBV concept earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is Las Vegas. As per Arrival’s versatile platforms, its applications were virtually limitless.

As reported, Amazon invested $US700 million ($A1b) in Rivian last February and followed up seven months later by ordering 100,000 zero-emissions vans. Needless to say, it’s now game on.