Hyundai Motor and Grab, the Southeast Asian ride-sharing company, announced a deal Wednesday (November 7) in which Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors will invest an additional $250 million in Grab and create a partnership to pilot electric vehicle programs across the Southeast Asian region. Under the partnership, Grab and Hyundai Motor affiliates will bring stakeholders from the EV industry to work together on measures to improve EV adoption and awareness in Southeast Asia, the companies said in the press release.
“As home to one of the world’s fastest-growing consumer hubs, Southeast Asia is a huge emerging market for EVs,” Dr. Youngcho Chi, Hyundai Motor Group’s chief innovation officer and head of Strategy & Technology Division, said in the press release. “With its unparalleled footprint across the region and an ever-expanding base of customers and merchants, Grab is an invaluable partner that will help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Southeast Asia.”
At the beginning of the partnership, Grab, Hyundai and Kia will launch a series of EV pilot projects in Southeast Asia starting with Singapore in 2019. The pilot projects will focus on utilizing EVs to lower costs for Grab’s driver-partners. The group will also work with regional players including governments and infrastructure companies to improve EV infrastructure in the region, such as the building of a network of quick-charge stations. The partnership will also explore the development of customized maintenance packages to Grab EV drivers and conduct research into how EVs can be most efficiently deployed in Southeast Asia under hot and humid climate conditions.
“As the largest fleet owner of EVs in Singapore, we are excited to establish an industry partnership with Hyundai Motor Group to drive EV adoption across Southeast Asia,” said Grab President Ming Maa in the same press release. “We both share a common vision on the electrification of mobility as one of the key foundations for building an environmentally sustainable and lowest-cost transportation platform.”
The companies said they would also look into how to customize electric vehicles to optimize them for mobility service platforms. Grab already has a strategic partnership with Hyundai. The startup has raised a total of $2.7 billion in funding and is on track to raise more than $3 billion by the end of this year. Hyundai first invested in Grab in January, and the two companies began exploring collaborations in the EV sector back then. Grab’s latest initiative expands its cooperation with the Korean automotive group to include Kia.