Kia Motors (UK) has launched KiaCharge, a UK-wide integrated public charging service, designed to give drivers easier access to public vehicle charging.
KiaCharge gives owners of the brand’s BEVs (battery electric vehicles) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) access to more than 13,900 charge points across the UK – around 68% of the public charging network – from a single account.
The platform negates the need for drivers to sign up to separate accounts with multiple charging point operators.
From launch, KiaCharge provides access to several major charging networks, including BP Pulse, Pod Point, Ionity, Source London, Chargepoint, NewMotion, Char-gy, and ESB.
Several other networks, including certain regional services, are also available and there are also plans to further expand KiaCharge coverage throughout 2021.
Paul Philpott, president & CEO of Kia Motors (UK), said: “The availability and suitability of public charge points remains a perceived hurdle for many would-be electric car buyers.
“KiaCharge seeks to remedy this by providing a comprehensive, easy-to-use public charging service for our customers, accessible from a single account.”
The service provides access to more than 1,300 ‘rapid’ connections, providing charging speeds above 50kW.
Created in partnership with Digital Charging Solutions (DCS), the service also enables zero-emission continental travel. Thanks to eRoaming, drivers can access more than 178,000 additional charging points across 28 other European countries without the need for additional contracts.
Kia BEV and PHEV owners can access KiaCharge via a smartphone app or radio-frequency identification (RFID) card.
Instead of numerous individual transactions, payments are made via a single itemised monthly invoice.
Philpot said: “This is a major step for Kia as we look for new ways to make EV ownership a more viable and stress-free option for many more drivers.”
The service offers a choice of two fully flexible tariffs for all customers, tailored to fit individual charging preferences: ‘Easy’ and ‘Plus’.
Both tariffs are designed to make charging convenient, efficient and simple, offering easy payment and a single, straightforward monthly bill, says Kia.
The ‘Easy’ tariff is ideal for light users, with a one-off £1.99 charge to access the service and obtain their KiaCharge RFID card.
With no monthly subscription fees, most charging stations instead require a £0.49 ‘session fee’ when users plug in (except chargers on the bp pulse and Pod Point networks), with users paying per kWh of electricity.
The ‘Plus’ tariff is the ideal option for those who rely more heavily on public charging. They simply pay a £2.99 monthly tariff, with no up-front charge or session fees.
Like the ‘Easy’ tariff, users also pay per kWh, but earn an additional 15% discount per kWh from most networks (except BP Pulse, Pod Point and Ionity).
Every user can also add a new or existing BP Pulse bolt-on subscription to their KiaCharge account, costing an additional £7.85 per month. This subscription provides users with a discount of up to 40% when charging within the BP Pulse network of nearly 7,000 chargers, compared to the ‘instant’ charging rate.
An Ionity bolt-on tariff will also be launched later in 2021 to coincide with the launch of Kia’s next-generation battery EV.
This new vehicle will be able to accommodate the high-speed charging capabilities of the Ionity network thanks to its 800V maximum charging capacity.
KiaCharge tariffs are fully flexible, and users can switch between them with only one month’s notice.
They receive a single monthly invoice for using the service, rather than individual bills for each charge, giving them full oversight of their charging activity in one place.
KiaCharge users access the network via RFID card or through the KiaCharge smartphone app, compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Through the app, users can see real-time information for individual networks or charging points, including pricing, availability, and technical information (such as the type of plug available).
Users can also apply filters to locate the ideal station for them, by charging point operator, charging speeds, times of operation, socket type, or access method (via app or RFID card). They can also dial the relevant charging point operator’s helpline directly from the app, in case they need assistance.
In addition, the KiaCharge app enables route planning to help users easily find charging stations at their final destination or along a route.
Customers can use it to initiate navigation, which integrates with the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay systems offered as standard in every Kia BEV and PHEV.
KiaCharge is available to all owners of existing and future Kia BEV and PHEV models, including the 64kWh Kia e-Niro and the new Sorento PHEV.