Hyundai Investing Another $250 Million in Singapore-based Grab to Promote EVs

Hyundai Investing Another $250 Million in Singapore-based Grab to Promote EVs

Author: Eric Walz   

SEOUL — Hyundai Motor Group and Grab Holdings Inc. (Grab), one of Southeast Asia's largest mobile platforms, announced an agreement in which Hyundai Motor Company and Kia will invest an additional $250 million into Grab and establish a partnership to promote EV programs across Southeast Asia.

It is the lastest investment by the automaker in mobility services. Hyundai has been making significant strategic investments recently in start-ups working on autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and ride-sharing services.

Under the EV partnership, Grab and the Hyundai Motor Group affiliates will bring together stakeholders from the EV industry to collaborate on ways to improve awareness and promote the adoption of electric vehicles for use on the Grab platform.

"As home to one of the world's fastest growing consumer hubs, Southeast Asia is a huge emerging market for EVs," said Dr. Youngcho Chi, Hyundai Motor Group's Chief Innovation Officer and head of Strategy & Technology Division. "With its unparalleled footprint across the region, and an ever-expanding base of customers and merchants, Grab is an invaluable partner that will help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Southeast Asia."

Initially, Grab, Hyundai and Kia plan to launch a series of EV pilot projects in Southeast Asia starting in Singapore in 2019. The pilot projects will focus on utilizing EVs to maximize cost efficiencies for Grab's driver-partners.

Hyundai first invested in Grab in January, and the two companies began exploring collaborations in the EV sector. Grab's latest initiative, which expands to include Kia, is part of the company's continuing efforts to promote the use of EVs in Southeast Asia.

Hyundai plans to double the number of its eco-friendly vehicle models to 38 by 2025.

The EV partnership will also work with regional stakeholders including governments and infrastructure players to improve EV infrastructure in the region, such as the building of a network of DC fast-charging stations for EVs. In addition, the partnership will explore how EVs can be most efficiently deployed in Southeast Asia, including how to customize EVs to optimize them for mobility service platforms.

Grab operates the region's largest vehicle fleet and has completed over 2.5 billion rides since its founding in 2012. Grab offers a wide range of on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food and package delivery services, across 235 cities in eight countries.

"As the largest fleet owner of EVs in Singapore, we are excited to establish an industry partnership with Hyundai Motor Group to drive EV adoption across Southeast Asia.  We both share a common vision on the electrification of mobility as one of the key foundations for building an environmentally sustainable and lowest-cost transportation platform," said Ming Maa, President of Grab.

Grab Purchased Uber's Regional Business in March

Grab originally competed with Uber in the region until the company purchased Uber's regional business in March in a deal worth several billion dollars. As part of the deal, Uber received a 27.5 percent stake in Grab, and Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi  joined Grab's board, the companies said at the time.

Grab remains of the most popular mobile O2O platforms in Southeast Asia. According to the company, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 125 million mobile devices, giving users access to over 8 million drivers, merchants and agents.

Hyundai's investment in Grab is comes after a $200 million investment by Booking Holdings as part of a strategic partnership. Booking Holdings is a U.S. based company that operates multiple online travel sites, including the popular U.S. travel websites and Priceline.

The additional investment builds on Grab's existing strategic partnership with Hyundai and brings Grab's current fundraising to $2.7 billion raised.

Grab is on track to raise over $3 billion by the end of this year. Other Investors in Grab's current financing round include Microsoft, Toyota, and global financial institutions OppenheimerFunds, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, and Citi Ventures.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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