Whether you’re charging from home, at work or in public, charging is easier and more convenient than you think.
Charging an electric or plug-in hybrid car may be a new experience for many, but it’s actually far easier than you would think. In some ways it’s just like filling a traditional petrol or diesel car – but cheaper. So here’s a simple guide on how and where to charge your vehicle.
Charging your car at home
In the UK, around 80% of all electric vehicle charging is done at home. This is the most convenient and cost-effective way to charge. Charge your vehicle overnight and you wake up every day with a ‘full tank’, so you don’t have to worry about stopping for fuel when you’re in a rush on your way to work.
The best way to do this is to get a home chargepoint installed – there is an OLEV government grant available to help you with the cost. A dedicated chargepoint will charge your car much faster than using a normal three-pin plug – it’s safer too. Most chargers – like those from our partner Pod Point – are smart and Wi-Fi enabled. This means you can keep track of how much you’ve spent on charging – useful for invoicing your travel costs. It can even help you save money by charging at those times of day when electricity is cheapest. For our fully electric cars, charging from 0-100% takes 9 hours 35 minutes at home, although it’s very rare you will be charging the battery from empty – the UK daily average mileage is 20 miles while the Soul EV and e-Niro have a 280 and 282-mile range respectively. Our plug-in hybrid models take 2 hours 15 minutes to fully charge.
Using public chargers
There are more than 31,000 public charging points in the UK – in fact, there are more charging locations than petrol stations – so there are plenty of places to stop if you need to recharge. Many are found in town centres, supermarkets and motorway services and there are apps available – such as Zap-Map, Ecotricity Electric Highway, Polar Plus and Pod Point – that can show you where to find chargers and even give you information on their speed, price and availability.
The apps also offer some very useful features for business users. For example, the Pod Point app allows you to keep a record of your charging activity, download a report directly to your email, and even enter your business mileage to see how much you’ve spent on charging for business use.
A 50kW DC public charger will take an e-Niro or Soul EV from 0-80% in just 1 hour 15 minutes, while a 100kW DC charger will do it in 54 minutes. That’s a good amount of time to stop for a break and grab a bite to eat after 280 miles of driving.
Paying for public charging is becoming simpler – new chargers accept simple contactless payment. There are other ways to pay though. Public chargers are run by different charging networks, and some will offer subscription services via an app or a contactless card that will be sent to you in post once you register. These can offer you different ways to pay or even offer free charging. Prices for public charging vary, but it’s usually significantly cheaper than fuelling with petrol or diesel.
Charging your car at work
Through the government's workplace charging scheme, businesses can apply for £350 towards the cost of purchasing and installing a chargepoint socket at work. And, you can now apply for grants for up to 40 sockets. It’s ideal for keeping your car topped up during the day, and particularly useful for owners of plug-in hybrid cars – effectively meaning they can drive up to 30 miles to work, charge, then complete the 60-mile round trip on battery power alone.. Charging at work may also be cheaper than using a public charger, so could reduce your running costs.
Which connectors do Kia cars use?
Depending on how you charge, different connectors are used – this is simpler than it sounds. The first option is the 3-pin plug your household appliances use. The second option is the Type 2 charger. This is compatible with every Kia vehicle and supports charging from 3.6kW-7.6kW – such as from a dedicated home chargepoint or certain public chargers. The third option is the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector, which is used for rapid DC charging (50kW-100kW) on our fully electric vehicles.
It is extremely unlikely that you will ever run out of charge – your Kia will warn you and guide you to your nearest chargepoint if you are running low. It will also plan charging stops into longer journeys where appropriate. However, if you do need assistance the RAC has special patrol vehicles that can give your car enough power to get to the nearest chargepoint. Alternatively, you can be towed home or to the nearest rapid charger.