Hyundai and Grab to accelerate EV adoption in Southeast Asia
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group and Singapore’s Grab Holdings Inc. announced the next phase of their partnership which will focus on accelerating electric vehicle (EV) adoption in Southeast Asia. Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation, and ride-hailing and food-delivery service 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 an 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 EVs1. 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 (BaaS) 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.
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.
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, 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.
“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 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.”
“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,” said Russell Cohen, group managing director of Operations, Grab. “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.”
Hyundai Motor Group has expanded its presence in Southeast Asia to foster new mobility innovation. The Group held a virtual groundbreaking ceremony for HMGICS (Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore) in October 2020 and construction is ongoing. The center will act as a 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 to enhance customers’ experiences of EV ownership.
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 heat maps. 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.
1 Based on a survey done with driver-partners who rent vehicles from GrabRentals in 2020.