Kia Charge – a service exclusive to Kia customers designed to simplify public EV charging – now offers seamless access to more than 30,000 connectors in the UK, as of February 2023.
The total number of connectors available through Kia Charge has grown by 48 per cent to 30,324 chargers in the last 12 months. Within this the number of chargers offering peak charging speeds of more than 100kW has nearly trebled (189 per cent growth), reflecting operators’ eagerness to facilitate longer journeys. Compared to when it was introduced in February 2021 with 13,900 connectors, the total number of UK connectors has more than doubled (up 118 per cent). It reflects both the strong growth in electric charging infrastructure and Kia’s success at adding new operators to its solution.
While Kia Charge now reaches 26,800 AC chargers (up 49 per cent), more than 10 per cent, or 3,500, are rapid DC chargers (50-350kW). Over-100kW chargers account for more than 900 of these, a number growing every month. One of the key high-power charging operators, IONITY, has increased its connector numbers to 99 (up 32 per cent) across 19 UK locations. UK locations will more than double before the end of the year, with seven more locations already under construction. Existing sites are also being upgraded to offer significantly more stations. In 2023, a monthly average of more than 5,700 charging sessions takes place via Kia Charge in the UK – a number growing every month as more Kia EV customers sign up to the service.
The growth in the 27 different charging networks available through Kia Charge gives Kia owners access to more DC connectors in the UK than any other brand. Furthermore, these networks are all accessible through a single Kia Charge account offering a single monthly invoice for all public charging.
DC charging is crucial to allowing electric vehicle owners to recharge quickly in public while travelling to a destination.
In 2022, sales of Kia plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles contributed heavily to Kia’s record-breaking year in the UK, making over 20 per cent of all the brand’s sales in last year. So far in 2023, plug-in and EV sales are off to a strong start totalling more than a quarter of Kia UK’s sales year-to-date.
Fully renewable charging through Kia Charge
Kia compensates all charging activity via Kia Charge with 100 per cent renewable wind power. Kia purchases the equivalent number of megawatt-hours (MWh) used by customers from renewable sources, via Guarantee of Origin certificates. This effectively adds zero-emissions power to the grid and increases visibility for green electricity demand on the market.
The Kia Charge service provides easy access to chargers across all parts of the UK and Europe from a single account. In total, Kia Charge opens access to more than 30,000 connectors across the UK – equivalent to approximately 85 per cent of the national public infrastructure – and more than 450,000 across 27 other European countries.
In the UK, the service encompasses 27 charge point operators, including key networks such as bp pulse, Ubitricity Shell, Source London, Instavolt, Pod Point, Osprey and Shell Recharge. The service also offers access to the IONITY high-powered charging network. A single account gives access to all networks via a smartphone app (Android or iOS) or RFID card, with straightforward monthly invoicing.
Choice of subscriptions and key network bolt-ons
Kia Charge offers a choice of two subscriptions – ‘Easy’ and ‘Plus’ to suit most user profiles.
‘Easy’ users pay:
- £1.99 one-time activation fee and no monthly subscription
- 49p session fee per charge (excluding charging within the Pod Point and bp pulse networks), plus the cost of electricity
‘Plus’ users pay:
- £2.99 monthly subscription fee and the cost of electricity used
- No one-time activation costs or session fees in the UK
- A 15 per cent discount on the base charging tariff on all UK networks (except bp pulse, Pod Point or Ionity) e.g. at ESB, Fastned, Osprey, charg.gy, Instavolt, Source London, Shell Recharge, and others.
In addition, two bolt-on packages are available:
- IONITY Power costs £11.25 a month and reduces the IONITY charging tariff from 69p per kWh to just 25p per kWh in the UK, or €0.29 in most other European countries (generally paying for itself within a single charge)
- The bp pulse bolt-on costs £7.85 per month and offers the same price to users as the popular bp pulse subscription available directly from bp
Free charging credit via Kia and ‘&Charge’ partnership
Kia recently launched a new initiative, enabling users to collect credit for free EV charging through a partnership with the ‘&Charge’ rewards programme. ‘&Charge’, accessed via app, allows users to collect EV charging credits that can be redeemed via the Kia Charge app to pay for public charging sessions, reducing the total cost of ownership. Customers can earn credits by providing information and feedback on public charging stations or by shopping at hundreds of UK retailers.
Kia EVs and DC fast-charging
The Kia EV6 is one of the very few electric vehicles on sale today featuring a powerful 800V charging system, which enables drivers to charge their car from 10-to-80 per cent in just 18 minutes from chargers delivering 250kW or above (e.g. IONITY, Fastned). The all-new Niro can also recharge from 10-to-80 per cent in just 43 minutes from stations offering 75kW or more.
Globally, Kia plans to offer a line-up of 14 EVs by 2027. After EV6 and the all-new Niro EV, the next EV due from the brand is the Kia EV9, launching in the UK later in 2023 with the same 800V rapid-charging technology as the EV6.