Monday, September 8, 2014

2015 Kia Soul EV Joins EZ-Charge Network, Will Add 17 DC Chargers in California

Kia Motors America announced its plan for charging infrastructure for upcoming Soul EV in California.

Kia selected Greenlots and ABB as its partners to install new charging points at dealerships and to prepare access for customers.

The Korean manufacturer would like to install 17 DC fast chargers with power of  50 kW made by ABB. According to Kia, there are now 198 such station in California and this will be increased nearly nine percent statewide by year’s end.

The all-electric Kia Soul EV is anticipated to arrive in the us in later October/early November (full details here), and has an EPA rated range of 92 miles.  Interestingly, as of time of press, no pricing has yet been announded.

Dealers will get also multiple Level 2 stations.
“Kia Motors America (KMA) is kicking off the implementation of a robust charging network in advance of the Soul EV going on sale in California during the third quarter of this year.  With Kia’s addition of 17 new DC fast chargers to California’s already-existing network of 198, charger availability will be increased nearly nine percent statewide by year-end.  KMA’s EV charging infrastructure plan provides Soul EV buyers with broad coverage, flexibility and excellent support, and Kia’s networking partnership with Greenlots will connect customers to DC fast chargers in convenient locations throughout California.  Select Soul EV dealers in Northern and Southern California will be fitted with multiple Level 2 240v chargers and ABB’s 50kW Terra 53 CJ DC fast charger, which can charge the Soul EV’s battery from empty to 80 percent in about 33 minutes, to help build range confidence.  Designed for the “charge and go” segment, the Terra 53 multi-standard DC charging station is ideal for use at car dealerships, fuel stations and high-turnover parking applications.  The Kia dealership locations with available charging stations will be announced closer to the Soul EV’s on-sale date later this year, and following the California launch of the Soul EV, select additional markets are set to come online in 2015.”
Kia Soul EV charging because many consider the Soul EV as a compliance car, installing 17 DC chargers may be surprising. 
But there is something even more surprising. The Soul EV uses CHAdeMO charger, but Terra 53 CJ DC is a double-head (CHAdeMO and Combo). Whether this means something or not, time will tell.

Kia Soul EV charging
Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA stated:
“The Soul EV is a key vehicle within Kia’s ‘Clean Mobility’ program, and having access to Level 2 and an increased number of DC fast chargers at select Kia dealerships is an opportunity for us to provide value to Soul EV owners, signaling Kia’s commitment to the growing EV market. Our customers are making a sincere effort to be eco-conscious, and Kia is committed to delivering both flexible and convenient charging options to Soul EV owners.”

Steve Kosowski, manager of long range planning and strategy, Kia Motors America commented:
“Kia is very excited for the launch of our first-ever all-electric vehicle in the United States, and we are confident that our partnership with Greenlots is connecting our customers to a seamless and reliable network. Soul EV owners will have their charging needs met not only through the growing number of DC fast chargers within the EZ-Charge networks, but also the capabilities that Greenlots is providing to our Soul EV dealers, allowing for convenience and range confidence in their charging needs.”
Kia customers will also get access to EZ-Charge program, however there is no word that anything will be free like in the case of Nissan.
“Kia has partnered with Greenlots to offer flexibility and on-the-go access to large networks of charging stations via the EZ-Charge program, making the Soul EV ownership experience refreshingly simple and charging easily accessible.  Through the Greenlots partnership, Soul EV owners will be provided a “Kia ChargeUp Card,” giving them access to DC fast chargers via Greenlots’ SKY™ network system. Soul EV owners can easily locate charging stations via Kia’s free UVO EVServices[1] telematics app through their smartphone or the standard 8-inch touchscreen inside the vehicle.”

Brett Hauser, CEO of Greenlots remarked:
“Because SKY is open standards based, Greenlots offers its automotive partners the ability to protect infrastructure in the face of future changes with a more sustainable solution. We’re honored to support Kia in offering Soul EV drivers a fun, hassle-free charging experience.”

AC Level 2 equipment will comes from Bosch, Leviton or Aerovironment, all of which went on-board as partners with Kia.
“Partnerships have also been forged with Bosch, Leviton® and Aerovironment™ to serve as Level 2 at-home charging options[2] for owners and also for Kia dealers. Recharging times vary from under five hours when plugged into a 240-volt outlet to about 24 hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 120-volt outlet.  Regardless of their charging preference, Soul EV buyers will have the best in variety and value through high-quality, efficient and reliable products and services from each partner.”

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