Hyundai, Grab boost partnership to accelerate EV adoption in Southeast Asia

Hyundai Kona EV

Hyundai Motor Group and mobile app giant Grab Holdings Inc. has boosted its partnership further by putting up initiatives that will focus on the acceleration of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the Southeast Asia.

In a statement, Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Corporation and Grab are set to “further develop new pilots and initiatives that lower the barriers of entry for Grab drivers and delivery partners to adopt EVs, such as lowering the total cost of ownership and reducing range anxiety.”

The latest endeavor between the two firms is to address the challenges found during the initial EV pilot in Singapore.  According to the partner-drivers, the main challenges that deter EV adoption are high costs, lack of charging locations and long waiting times for charging.

Hyundai and Grab's newest partnership to bolster EV adoption in Southeast Asia.

Among their moves to address such barriers include “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.”

Aside from that, the partnering companies will also develop a joint EV roadmap to accelerate adoption in Southeast Asia with the pilot program to be carried this year, beginning in Singapore, and expand to Indonesia and Vietnam.

“As part of the roadmap development, the two parties will also conduct an EV feasibility study. The intent is to gain a deeper understanding (of) 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 huge role in reducing carbon emissions from vehicles,” the group explained in its statement.

Further, parties “will explore collaboration in new business opportunities and technologies such as smart city solutions,” which Hyundai claimed, is line with its latest future strategy.

Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Motor Group and Grab started the partnership in 2018, with both companies launching a series of EV pilots in Southeast Asia, starting with Singapore in 2019 and Indonesia in 2020.

In Singapore, the program resulted in the deployment of 200 Hyundai Kona EVs in Grab’s GrabRentals fleet in Singapore, “which has consistently recorded a high utilization rate: as well as the rollout of customized maintenance packages and incentives to support Grab driver-partners who are renting the Hyundai EVs."

Meanwhile, Grab introduced in Indonesia the GrabCar Elektrik fleet of Hyundai Ioniq at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport.

Hyundai Motor Group Vice President of Innovation Division Minsung Kim said that the partnership was able to discover the possibility of EV businesses in Southeast Asia.

“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 ongoing projects, the group expects additional cooperation with Grab to be a key driver to lead the mobility market of the future in Southeast Asia,” the executive was quoted as saying.

For its part, Grab Group Managing Director of Operations Russell Cohen cited the company’s role in boosting EV usage.

“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 drivers and delivery partners. For example, we’ve piloted ways to reduce driver-partners’ downtime by enabling them to swap their e-moped batteries at GrabKitchen while they wait to collect food orders. Successful EV adoption is a multi-stakeholder effort, particularly in Southeast Asia, and we’ll continue to leverage our technology and operational leadership to build a fleet for the future,” Cohen noted.

Late last year, Hyundai Motor Group expanded its presence in Southeast Asia as it has started to construct the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS). The said facility will serve as testbed for a human-centered intelligent manufacturing platform with a small-scale EV production facility on site. The center also will explore new business concepts, including BaaS (battery-as-a-service) to enhance customers’ experiences of EV ownership.

Photos from Hyundai, Grab

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