Hyundai, Kia and Grab to accelerate EV adoption in Southeast Asia

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 22 Jun 2021


Hyundai Motor Group and Grab Holdings Inc have announced an enhancement of their ongoing strategic partnership in mobility services. The next phase of the partnership will focus on accelerating EV adoption in Southeast Asia. 

The Group, including Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation which are the Group’s affiliates, and Grab will further develop new pilots and initiatives that lower the barriers of entry for Grab driver and delivery-partners to adopt EVs, such as lowering the total cost of ownership and reducing range anxiety.

Survey results from initial EV pilot in Singapore found that high costs, lack of charging locations and long waiting times for charging are top barriers hindering Grab driver-partners from adopting EVs. Hence, the enhanced partnership will focus on addressing some of these barriers by piloting new EV business models such as leasing EVs with a battery-as-a-service model or car-as-a-service model, and EV financing. Both parties will also develop a joint EV roadmap to accelerate adoption in Southeast Asia. The pilot programs will start in 2021, beginning in Singapore, and expand to Indonesia and Vietnam.

EV feasibility study planned
As part of the roadmap development, the two parties will also conduct an EV feasibility study. The intent is to gain a deeper understanding into the gaps and barriers to wider EV ownership and adoption, then translating the findings from the study into practical ways to further develop the EV ecosystem. These insights will provide governments and ecosystem partners with ideas and best practices on how EV policies can be shaped to better address the day-to-day operational routines of ride-hailing drivers and delivery-partners.

This comes at a critical time as last-mile logistics and deliveries continue to experience unprecedented growth, and EVs can play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions from vehicles.

In addition, in line with Hyundai Motor Group’s latest future strategy, both parties will explore collaboration in new business opportunities and technologies such as smart city solutions.

Since the initial partnership was announced in 2018, Hyundai and Grab have launched a series of EV pilots in Southeast Asia, starting with Singapore in 2019 and Indonesia in 2020. The pilots saw the deployment of 200 Hyundai Kona EVs in Grab’s GrabRentals fleet in Singapore, which has consistently recorded a high utilisation rate. Customised maintenance packages and incentives were also rolled out to support Grab driver-partners who are renting the Hyundai EVs. In Indonesia, Grab launched its GrabCar Elektrik fleet of Hyundai Ioniq vehicles at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport.

“Hyundai Motor Group and Grab were able to discover the possibility of EV businesses in Southeast Asia through our cooperation from 2018,” said Minsung Kim, Vice-President of the Innovation Division at Hyundai Motor Group. “With Grab having the largest driver network in the region and Hyundai’s comprehensive mobility solutions, we are confident that together we can help to increase the adoption of EVs and ultimately reduce carbon emissions throughout the region. Beyond its on-going projects, the Group expects additional cooperation with Grab to be a key driver to lead the mobility market of the future in Southeast Asia.”

Russell Cohen, Group Managing Director of Operations, Grab, said: “While EVs are relatively nascent in Southeast Asia, Grab plans to play a vital role in working with partners and governments to accelerate EV adoption. As government EV policies and incentives are implemented and essential infrastructure like charging stations continue to be built, this partnership will provide insights and best practices on the usage of EVs as part of the day-to-day operations of driver and delivery-partners.”

The Hyundai partnership is part of a range of ongoing EV-related initiatives from Grab to support the EV goals of governments in Southeast Asia. In Singapore, Grab has a partnership with SP Group, the largest government-owned electricity and gas distributor in the country. Grab has leveraged driving data from this partnership to advise on ideal charging locations, based on driver locations and demand heatmaps. In Indonesia, Grab launched the Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Roadmap in 2019 with the Indonesia government to support EV policies, and help achieve the government's target of 20% of Indonesian transportation being EVs by 2025.