Kia’s van of the future has interchangeable bodies with magnets

Published Jan 9, 2024


Kia wants to revolutionise the commercial vehicle world with its new Platform Beyond Vehicle (PBV) business, announced at the 2024 CES show in Las Vegas.

Its strategy will initially be based around an all-new modular vehicle, previewed by the Kia PV5 Concept, but a multi-phase plan will introduce some interesting and advanced new technologies further down the line.

Imagine a single vehicle could be a taxi during the day, delivery van at night and personal recreational vehicle on the weekends. Kia wants to make this a convenient possibility by offering a variety of upper bodies that can be quickly and easily connected to a fixed chassis and cab through a combination of electromagnetic and mechanical coupling technology.

This customisation concept will form part of phase three of Kia’s PBV roll-out.

Enabling this modularisation is a ‘Dynamic Hybrid’ weld-less body structure assembly, which allows the length of moveable members to be flexibly adjusted according to vehicle use. Thanks to high-strength tubular steel and engineered polymers, typical parts are reduced by 55 percent with no loss in rigidity.

Shipped to customers in kit form, Dynamic Hybrid technology will allow for the quick and simple in-field transformation of a PV5 base vehicle, Kia says.

“The design of Kia’s PBVs is inspired by robust, simple and clever tools and goes far beyond mere aesthetics. Kia’s primary mission is to ensure that the brand’s PBVs are simple and intuitive to operate and engage with, regardless of where, when or how they are used,” Kia said.

“Whether the purpose of the vehicle is to transport people, move goods, or meet logistics or personal mobility needs, each PBV shares a consistent quality of design that reflects its solid, robust nature and projects a dependable and highly capable attitude.

“There are no unnecessary adornments, with each feature designed to serve a useful function which makes the lives of vehicle users easier, as clearly demonstrated by the concepts unveiled at CES.”

Phase one of the PBV project will see the introduction of the Kia PV5, a versatile electric vehicle designed for industries such as hailing, delivery and utilities, with conversion capability for diverse customer needs.

Enhanced data connectivity between vehicles and external data such as route or delivery information will enable convenient operation of multiple vehicles as a software-defined fleet, Kia says.

The second phase will see the introduction of an expanded PBV model line-up, featuring larger and smaller offerings. During this stage PBVs will evolve into AI-based mobility platforms that use data to interact with users and ensure that the vehicles are always up to date.

At the same time, new forms of business linked with robotics and other future technologies will emerge, including autonomous driving.

IOL Motoring