Kia at CES: Going Modular

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

'Tis the time of year for buzzword-heavy press releases that tend to be word salads. Kia is no exception today with its CES news.

Still, should you take the time to dig through these things and translate them into plain English, you get a sense of what's up.

In this case, the company is showing several modular concept vehicles that are meant to help businesses do their work better.


Yeah, it's not as exciting as some sporty concept car. But then, the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show has an audience that might be more keen on this type of vehicle.

Dubbed the Platform Beyond Vehicle, or PBV for short, these concepts are interesting to folks who have businesses that require the use of vehicles.

“Kia’s PBV business represents our vision of going beyond the traditional concept of automobiles by fulfilling the unmet needs of diverse customers and communities through optimized vehicles and services catering to specific market and business circumstances,” said Ho Sung Song, Kia Corporation President and CEO, in a press release.

There are three phases to Kia's strategy. Phase one is to produce vehicles for ride-hailing or deliveries that use software to communicate with each other. Communicating route information from one vehicle to another, for example, could cut delivery times.

This involves an EV concept called the Kia PV5.

Phase two involves building out the model line and using AI to keep vehicles' software updated -- and using AI to interact with users.

Phase three would have the vehicles be custom-built and bespoke, tailored to each user's needs.

Flexibility would come from bodies that could be adjusted easily and quickly. Kia envisions transforming a vehicle from taxi in the morning to delivery van in the afternoon to RV at night, for example.

There will be various versions of the PV5 available, along with a larger PV7 and compact PV1.

Kia wants features such as autonomous hailing, in-vehicle infotainment, and fleet management systems.

Oh, and an app market that can also work with third-party apps. Kia is working on partnering with specific companies to make this all happen.

[Images: Kia]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.
  • ToolGuy Lose a couple of cylinders, put the rest in a straight line and add a couple of turbos. Trust me.
  • ToolGuy Got no money for the Tasman, it is going to the Taxman. 🙁
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