Motor Industry Update 4 March 2021

KiaCharge EV charging point Photo credit: Kia Motors

Kia launches ‘KiaCharge’ in the UK with 13,900 charging points

Kia Motors (UK) Limited has launched KiaCharge, a UK-wide integrated public charging service which is designed to give drivers of electric cars an easier and more comprehensive access to the UK public charging network than any equivalent service.

Owners of Kia’s BEVs (battery electric vehicle) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) now have access to more than 13,900 charge points across the UK which is around 68% of the public charging network and all from a single account.

KiaCharge provides access to several major charging networks, including bp pulse, Pod Point, IONITY, Source London, Chargepoint, NewMotion, Char-gy, and ESB. A number of other networks, including certain regional services, are also available. Kia plans to expand the KiaCharge coverage during the course of 2021.

For drivers, being able to access these networks via a single platform means that you don’t have to sign up to separate accounts with multiple charging point operators, which should make life a lot easier and also encourage a better uptake of EV models.

The service provides EV owners with access to over 1,300 ‘rapid’ connections, providing charging speeds above 50kW which are conveniently located in urban hubs and along major travel arteries.

This new service has been created in partnership with Digital Charging Solutions (DCS), which also enables zero-emission continental travel thanks to eRoaming, whereby 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 and payments are made via a single itemised monthly invoice.

Paul Philpott, President & CEO of Kia Motors (UK) Limited, commented:

“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.”

EVA England drivers’ survey to improve EV public charging experience

Following the UK Government’s proposals to ensure EV drivers feel more confident in using the public charging network, EVA England, a consumer association offering a voice for electric vehicle drivers in England, wants to hear the views of electric vehicle (EV) drivers about their experiences of using public chargepoints.

Responses to the survey will be anonymous and used to feed into EVA England’s response to the Government’s consultation.

EVA England sees this consultation as critical to improving user confidence in the public charging network and welcomes the Government’s call for responses. EVA England sees it as a continued commitment to achieving the best possible EV charging infrastructure ahead of the 2030 phase out date for new petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK.

Gill Nowell, Director of EVA England, commented: “A mass market for electric cars and vans is just around the corner and if we don’t address a host of basic issues for drivers now, we won’t get consumer buy-in for this historic transition. We strongly support this consultation and are running this survey to provide evidence for the Government on where it needs to intervene and how.

“We encourage all current EV drivers to take our survey, including those with Battery Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrids. This is an important opportunity for EV drivers to have their voice heard on topics close to their heart, namely ‘can I find a charger, can I easily pay, and does it work’?”

EVA England - EV charge point

Photo credit: EVA England

Battery renting and leasing facilitates large-scale EV adoption

Following the news that Hyundai Motor Company has signed a MoU with South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as well as Hyundai Glovis, LG Energy Solution and KST Mobility to foster EV ecosystem and sustainable battery reuse, GlobalData’s Bakar Sadik Agwan offers his view:

“The MoU has potential to support the EV growth in South Korea and will be a use case for OEMs across the world. The cost of acquisition along with the availability of charging infrastructure and concerns related to battery-life are key factors that affect the large-scale uptake of electric vehicles. OEMs across the globe have been exploring opportunities to increase the uptake of electric vehicles through innovative business models, battery-as-a-service being one of them.

“An EV sans battery reduces vehicle upfront cost by 30-40% and battery can separately be rented out or leased, dividing the cost of owning and maintaining over a vehicle’s lifetime. As per GlobalData estimates, a customer can lease EV battery for over 8 years at a price that is equivalent to the purchase cost of an EV battery. Leasing is a better option for customers, who do not clock high number of kilometers every year.

“Renting or leasing out batteries offers additional benefits such as timely inspection of battery residual values by service provider, free/warranted replacements and assistance by service provider in events of breakdown. Shared mobility, logistics and delivery companies with large fleets will gain significant cost-benefits with renting/leasing model covering repair, service and replacement of batteries.

“Some OEMs and governments in key markets such as China and Europe already have an active battery renting or leasing business model. However, it has not reached the required rate of commercialization globally. Hyundai’s implementation of the EV ecosystem with battery being rented or leased out can be a good example for other OEMs, government and stakeholders such as energy companies and mobility players across various countries to replicate the model to boost the uptake of electric vehicles.”

Groupe Renault and Faurecia to collaborate on hydrogen storage systems

Groupe Renault and Faurecia have announced a collaboration on hydrogen storage systems for hydrogen light commercial vehicles.

At the end of 2001, Faurecia will supply hydrogen storage systems for its first fleet of light commercial vehicles. These systems will be developed and produced at its global centre of expertise in Bavans, France. Production will then be extended to a new plant dedicated to hydrogen storage systems that Faurecia is building in Allenjoie as demand grows.

Mathias Miedreich, Executive Vice President of Faurecia Clean Mobility said:

“This partnership is an important illustration of our common vision for expanding the use of hydrogen as a cornerstone of the energy transition and as a perfect solution for zero-emissions mobility. Fuel cell electric vehicle technology is set to become significant in the powertrain mix by 2030, and as such Faurecia is dedicating important resources to accelerate its deployment.”

Gilles le Borgne, Executive Vice-President Engineering Groupe Renault, added:

“This collaboration on hydrogen storage systems is embedded in our strategy to offer market-ready H2 solutions for light commercial vehicles and target over 30% share of this fast-growing market in Europe. It supports the ambition shared with our partner Plug Power to build a unique end-to-end green hydrogen and fuel cell value chain and new value-generating activities in France.”