Kia has launched a new charging scheme to make life easier for drivers of the South Korean brand’s electric vehicles. The KiaCharge initiative allows customers to access almost 14,000 UK charging points through one account, meaning drivers need fewer apps and memberships to fill up their batteries.
At launch, the app provides access to a host of major UK charging networks, including BP Pulse, Pod Point and Ionity, to name but a few. The service includes more than 1,300 ‘rapid’ charge points that provide charging speeds in excess of 50 kW. Kia also says it has plans to extend the network – which already covers around two-thirds of the UK’s chargers – throughout 2021.
And when travelling abroad becomes easier, Kia drivers will be able to head for Europe using the eRoaming system. Through the KiaCharge scheme, drivers will be able to access more than 178,000 extra charging points across 28 European countries, with no need for additional contracts or memberships.
Customers using the KiaCharge app will get a choice of two “fully flexible” tariffs, dubbed ‘Easy’ and ‘Plus’. The ‘Easy’ tariff is designed for “light users”, who must pay a one-off £1.99 charge to access the service and obtain they KiaCharge RFID card. The Easy tariff comes with no subscription fee, but drivers must pay £0.49 per charge, then pay for electricity by the kilowatt-hour (kWh) used.
The ‘Plus’ tariff, meanwhile, sees drivers pay a £2.99-a-month subscription, but no charging or sign-on fees. Again, Plus customers pay for electricity by the kilowatt-hour, but they save 15 percent on charging at all networks except BP Pulse, Pod Point and Ionity.
Users can also add a new or existing ‘bolt-on’ BP Pulse subs subscription to their KiaCharge account, costing an additional £7.85 per month. This provides users with a discount of up to 40 percent when charging on BP Pulse chargers.
Similarly, an Ionity bolt-on tariff will be launched later in 2021, at a date that coincides with the launch of Kia’s “next-generation” battery-electric model. With an 800-volt maximum charging capacity, Kia says the new car will “accommodate the high-speed charging capabilities of the Ionity network”.
“The availability and suitability of public charge points remains a perceived hurdle for many would-be electric car buyers,” said the president and CEO of Kia Motors (UK), Paul Philpott. “KiaCharge seeks to remedy this by providing a comprehensive, easy-to-use public charging service for our customers, accessible from a single account. This is a major step for Kia as we look for new ways to make electric vehicle ownership a more viable and stress-free option for many more drivers.”