Hyundai & Grab Want To Accelerate EV Adoption In Southeast Asia

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Hyundai and Grab, which provides taxis and rental cars in markets in Southeast Asia, are in the mood to electrify. Down in Southeast Asia, the duo are partnering to offer more electric cars as rentals. But that’s not all! The two companies plan to also push battery-as-a-service and EV financing forward.

Images courtesy of Grab and Hyundai

Although operational costs of electric vehicles are much lower than operational costs of gas-powered vehicles, it’s true that most electric vehicle models seem to cost more up front than their gasoline-powered alternatives. Good EV financing and a battery-as-a-service model can help to remedy that initial disadvantage.

“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,” the companies note.

“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 huge role in reducing carbon emissions from vehicles.”

For longtime readers with a great memory (better than mine), you may have already recalled that Grab and Hyundai partnered long before this on electrification efforts. Two years ago, we wrote about Grab and Hyundai partnering on electric carsharing, and they actually partnered in more ways back then. The recent news release provides us with some general updates on those programs, and actually indicates that it was the success of these test programs that led to the further partnership: “Since the initial partnership was announced in 2018, both parties 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. Customized 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.”

We’ll see how much the partnership scales up the production and use of electric vehicles, but the good news is that the partners seem pumped about their collaboration and are nearly telling us there will be more announcements in the future. “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,” said Minsung Kim, Vice President of the Innovation Division at Hyundai Motor Group. “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. 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.”

Images courtesy of Grab and Hyundai


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