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Kia launches transport-as-a-service start-up Purple M in new joint venture

Kia has launched a new transport-as-a-service start up called Purple M that will offer its electric vehicles through new mobility products and services.

Purple M is a joint venture with Korean autonomous technology company Code42.ai.

Both companies will start developing new concepts for Kia's electric vehicles centred around mobility, autonomous technology and transportation-as-a-service underpinned by Code42.ai’s proprietary Urban Mobility Operating System (UMOS).

UMOS is a mobility platform which integrates autonomous vehicle and air transportation services including e-hailing, fleet management, demand-responsive shuttle and smart logistics.

Kia is making a significant shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) with a new electrification strategy that includes the launch of an all-new model in Europe next year.

The Korean brand is planning to introduce 11 new EVs globally by 2025, with dedicated models for the European market.

Ho Sung Song, CEO and president of Kia, said the new joint venture would help establish Kia as a leader for the era of e-mobility.

Chang Song, founder and CEO of Code42.ai, will serve as Purple M chairman.

Seo Young-wu, a former CEO of Poolus, a carpooling service start-up, has been appointed as chief executive of Purple M.

Song said: “Our goal is to accelerate the era of electric vehicles through Purple M.

"The integrated mobility and logistics platform UMOS will be central to building an e-mobility ecosystem encompassing everything from infrastructure to services."

The new start-up is expected to provide a model for collaboration between larger, well-established firms and smaller, younger companies in Korea, as the country seeks to establish a new start-up ecosystem to encourage technological innovation.

Earlier this year, Kia announced ‘Plan S’, its mid- to long-term strategy aimed at progressively establishing a leadership position in the future automotive industry, encompassing mobility services and vehicle electrification, connectivity and autonomy.

‘Plan S’ outlines Kia’s shift from a business focused on internal combustion engines toward one centered on EVs and customised mobility solutions.

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