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Kia launches ‘KiaCharge’ in the UK

KiaCharge - Kia e-Niro 39 kWh

Kia Motors (UK) has launched KiaCharge, a UK-wide integrated public charging service, accessible from a single account.

KiaCharge will give owners of the brand’s battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) access to more than 13,900 charge points across the UK.

From the launch, the service provides access to charging networks including BP Pulse, Ionity, Source London, Chargepoint, NewMotion, Char-gy and ESB.

Kia said several other networks, including regional services are available.

The service also provides access to more than 1,300 ‘rapid’ connections, providing charging speeds above 50kW. The chargers are located in urban hubs and along major travel arteries, said Kia.

Paul Philpott, president and chief executive 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. 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.”

Kia president and chief executive Ho Sung Song recently said that the Korean carmaker will be “reborn in 2021” with the launch of new mobility solutions and 11 new electric vehicles (EVs).

KiaCharge was created in partnership with Digital Charging Solutions (DCS) and enables zero-emission continental travel. Due 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 compatible with iOS and Android devices or radio-frequency identification (RFID) card. Payments are made via a single itemised monthly invoice.

Through the app, users can access 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 help 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).

‘Easy’ and ‘Plus’ tariffs

KiaCharge offers a choice of two tariffs for all customers, ‘Easy’ and ‘Plus’.

Kia said the ‘Easy’ tariff is better suited to 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 ideal for individuals who rely more heavily on public charging, said Kia. EV drivers pay a £2.99 monthly tariff, with no up-front charge or session fees. Users also pay per kWh but earn an additional 15% discount per kWh from most networks (except BP Pulse, Pod Point and Ionity).

Users can also add a new or existing BP Pulse bolt-on subscription to their KiaCharge account, costing an additional £7.85 per month. The 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.

Kia said there are plans to expand KiaCharge throughout 2021 and an Ionity bolt-on tariff will also be launched later in the year 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 with its 800V maximum charging capacity, said Kia.

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