Hyundai and Grab have expanded their ongoing partnership to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) for Grab’s service fleet in Southeast Asia. Both parties said new pilot programmes and initiatives that will lower the barriers of entry into electrification for Grab driver and delivery-partners are set to be introduced. These will kick off in Singapore this year before expanding to Indonesia and Vietnam.

Previously, survey data from an initial EV pilot in Singapore found that high costs, lack of charging locations and long waiting times for charging were the main barriers hindering Grab driver-partners from adopting EVs.

The companies are looking to address some of these barriers through new EV business models such as leasing EVs with a battery-as-a-service model or car-as-a-service model as well as EV financing. These are aimed at lowering the total cost of ownership and reducing concerns about range anxiety.

The two parties also announced that they will conduct an EV feasibility study to gain a deeper understanding into the gaps and barriers to wider EV ownership and adoption, with the findings being translated into practical ways to further develop the EV ecosystem. In addition, the companies said they will explore collaboration in new business opportunities and technologies such as smart city solutions.

The collaboration between Hyundai and Grab began in early 2018, when both announced a strategic partnership to explore new future mobility opportunities in Southeast Asia. Later that year, the Korean automaker said it was investing an additional US$250 million (RM1.04 billion) into the partnership to create a network of pilot EV programmes across the region.

The first EV pilot project kicked off in Singapore in 2019 with the deployment of 200 Kona Electric units into the GrabRentals fleet. Customised maintenance packages and incentives were also rolled out to support Grab driver-partners who rented the Hyundai EVs.

This was followed by Indonesia in 2020, when Grab introduced its GrabCar Elektrik pilot service at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport, with an initial fleet of 50 Ioniq Electric vehicles.

In Singapore, Grab also has a partnership with SP Group, the largest government-owned electricity and gas distributor in the country, and has leveraged driving data from this collaboration to advise on ideal charging locations based on driver locations and demand heatmaps.