Electric Cars For Southeast Asian Ride Hailing Service Grab Beginning Next Year
Hyundai and sibling brand Kia will provide electric cars to Southeast Asian ride-hailing service Grab, which recently bought out Uber's operations in the region. The Korean automaker is also increasing its investment in Grab.
Hyundai, Kia, and Grab will launch a series of electric car pilot projects across Southeast Asia, beginning with Singapore in 2019, according to a Hyundai press release.
These projects will focus on getting more electric cars into the hands of Grab drivers. The companies will also work to improve charging infrastructure in the region, Hyundai said.
Another goal of the partnership is to see how electric cars can be adapted to better serve in ride-hailing, Hyundai said. The companies will test "customized maintenance packages" for Grab drivers, and also study how electric cars perform in Southeast Asia's hot and humid climate. Hyundai plans to launch 38 green models -- including electric cars -- by 2025 across multiple brands and hopes to cultivate Southeast Asia as a major market for these vehicles.
Hyundai will also invest an additional $250 million in Grab as part of a $2.7 billion funding round that has also drawn investments from Toyota, Microsoft, and travel website Booking. Hyundai invested an undisclosed sum in Grab in January, while Toyota has already poured more than $1 billion into the ride-hailing company.
Southeast Asia is an important market for ride-hailing. It has many large cities with little public transit, making ride-hailing the primary source of transportation for a large segment of the population. After acquiring Uber's Southeast Asian operations, Grab is now the biggest player in the region.
The company claims to have completed over 2.5 billion rides since its founding in 2012. Grab claims to currently operate ride-hailing and food-delivery services in 235 cities across eight countries