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South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group is investing an additional $250 million into ridehailing company Grab Holdings, on top of the $25 million it first made in January, bringing Grab’s current fundraising to $2.7 billion and putting it on track to raise over $3 billion by the end of this year.
Investors in Grab’s current financing round include Booking Holdings, Microsoft, Toyota, and global financial institutions such as OppenheimerFunds, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, and Citi Ventures.
Hyundai group’s total investment of $275 million in Grab to-date is its biggest ever in an automotive technology company, but pales in comparison to the $1 billion that Toyota Motor Corp invested in Grab in June that earns the Japanese company a seat on Grab’s board of directors.
Both have different plans. Hyundai group desires to be a leader in clean mobility and wants to collaborate with Grab in the electric vehicle sector, including a new platform that will use Hyundai’s eco-friendly models such as the IONIQ Electric (the same model used in the car-sharing program in the U.S. with WaiveCar in January last year).
On the other hand, one of the areas Toyota is eyeing is achieving connectivity for Grab’s rental car fleet across Southeast Asia and rolling out various connected services throughout the region using vehicle data stored on Toyota’s mobility services platform. One such service, for example, is providing driving-data-based automotive insurance for Grab’s rental fleet in Singapore through local insurance companies.
Grab is the go-to for these automative companies because it has the region’s largest land transportation fleet, with over 2.5 billion rides completed since its founding in 2012. The company claims the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 125 million mobile devices, giving users access to over eight million drivers, merchants and agents.
“As home to one of the world’s fastest growing consumer hubs, Southeast Asia is a huge emerging market for electric vehicles,” said Youngcho Chi, Hyundai’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.”
The group plans to more than double the number of its eco-friendly models to 38 by 2025.
Hyundai group’s fresh investment will see its affiliates, Hyundai and Kia, and Grab launch a series of pilots in the region next year, starting with Singapore, focusing on using electric vehicles to achieve cost efficiencies for Grab’s driver-partners.
A Grab spokesperson told Skift that Grab would be rolling out 200 electric vehicles from Hyundai in Singapore from early 2019. But it’s not just about the cars; there is a need for the charging infrastructure in order to build scale.
In August, Grab signed a partnership with Singapore’s energy utilities provider, SP Group, to use SP Group’s public charging network for its electric vehicles. Together with Hyundai group, it intends to work with governments and infrastructure players to improve electric vehicles infrastructure in the region, such as the building of a network of quick-charge stations.
The partners are also exploring the development of customized maintenance packages to Grab electric vehicle drivers and conduct research into how they can be most efficiently deployed in Southeast Asia under hot and humid climate conditions.
What’s morel, they want to explore how to customize electric vehicles to optimize them for mobility service platforms.
“As the largest fleet owner of electric vehicles in Singapore, we are excited to establish an industry partnership with Hyundai Motor Group to drive electric vehicles 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.
Congested cities in Southeast Asia – and there’s more than a few — can certainly do with clean air from zero-emission mobility.