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Kia's new brand strategy explained! What exactly is a 'PBV' and why the Korean brand thinks it is the future of motoring

EVs will be a huge focus for Kia going forward, with the brand committing to seven new emissions-free models before 2027.

Kia has announced its intention to transform itself from just a humble car company to a ‘future mobility’ brand, and has dropped ‘Motors’ from its name to show how serious it is about its plans.

As such, the South Korean brand is developing new products for the ‘Purpose-Built Vehicles (PBVs)’ market, targeting corporate customers at first before expanding into the car-sharing space.

But what is a PBV?

Essentially a PBV focusses on the passenger experience more than the driver, with amenities like swivelling captain’s chairs so occupants can face each other, large tables and extra room to relax or work while on the move.

These new PBVs will be based on a modular ‘skateboard’ platform with different ‘shells’ placed atop to suit customer needs.

Kia is also envisioning a delivery-vehicle purpose for its PBVs, as the omission of the rear seats will allow for a cavernous cargo area with a completely flat floor.

According to the brand, “demand for PBVs is expected to grow five-fold by 2030 due to rapid and sustained growth in e-commerce and car-sharing services”, with the ultimate goal of creating a battery electric and fully autonomous vehicle.

That’s not all though, as the brand also reaffirmed its commitment to expanding its zero-tailpipe emissions vehicles with seven new models to launch by 2027.

Though this was first announced in late 2020, Kia has now revealed these models will in the passenger car, SUV and people mover spaces, all underpinned by Hyundai Motor Group’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).

The first of these new battery electric vehicles will be revealed in the first quarter of 2021, and is expected to mirror the recently-teased Hyundai Ioniq 5 in terms of size and electric motor specification.

Kia is promising it will “boast a crossover-inspired design, while offering an electric driving range of over 500 kilometres and a high-speed charging time of under 20 minutes”, while also being the first global model to wear the brand’s new logo.

To this end, Kia is targeting a 6.6 per cent share of the global electric vehicle (EV) market in four years, while it is also expecting yearly worldwide sales of its emissions-free models to hit 500,000 by 2026.

Kia currently counts two full battery-electric models in its line-up, the Soul EV and e-Niro, the latter of which is confirmed for an Australian launch later this year.

The brand also has plans to introduce the hybrid and plug-in versions of its Sorento large SUV in 2021.

Kia boss Ho Sung Song said: “At Kia, we believe that transportation, mobility and movement represent a human right.

“Our vision is to create sustainable mobility solutions for consumers, communities and societies globally,” he said.

“Today we start putting this vision into action with the launch of our new brand purpose and strategy for the future.”