Hyundai and Grab want to charge forward

South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor Group (which is composed of Hyundai and Kia) has just announced that they are strengthening their partnership with the largest ride-sharing company in Southeast Asia: Grab. And this time they're focusing on electric cars.

The two mobility giants in the region, which have had a partnership for the last 3 years, are looking to help push forward the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) by developing initiatives that could entice Grab's “driver-partners” to make the switch to EVs.

The higher prices and longer charging times (versus traditional refueling) of EVs are found to be the barriers towards greater EV adoption for Grab's drivers in Singapore, according to a survey conducted by Grab amongst their drivers. That's what Hyundai Motor Group wants to address, so together with Grab, they are developing their own EV roadmap.

Hyundai and Kia will find ways to lower the total cost of ownership of an EV. Hyundai and Grab are looking to come up with special financing and leasing plans for Grab drivers with regards to EVs. These pilot programs will be first offered in Singapore, followed by Indonesia and Vietnam.

Another issue that needs addressing is charging. Hyundai Motor Group wants to work on ways to reduce range anxiety; a problem on the mind of electric vehicle drivers. Another issue is the long charge times (and the resulting queues) which are proving to be a hindrance towards EVs.

The partners will also conduct a feasibility study to enhance their understanding of the intricacies of EV adoption, particularly in minimizing the barriers for Grab partners. They also want to explore further business opportunities and technologies that can help drive EVs forward in a region whereas Grab's Russell Cohen puts it- EVs are relatively nascent.

“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,” said Minsung Kim, vice president of the Innovation Division at Hyundai Motor Group.

The announcement of this enhanced partnership did not make any mention of the Philippine market where Grab and Hyundai are very strong. EVs and electrified hybrid models in the local motoring scene are still extremely rare given the lack of charging and the prohibitively high costs of entry. That, however, may change in the future.