Kia Niro EV buyers won’t get a unique charging network like Tesla owners do, but a new deal should make topping up the compact electric crossover more affordable when you’re away from home. The automaker has inked an agreement with Electrify America, and will be using the charger network for a new “Kia Select” program for use on the road.
Announced back in mid-2018, the Kia Niro EV is the automaker’s all-electric model. Part crossover, part hatchback, it promises 239 miles of EPA range from its 64 kWh battery, along with 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. It starts at $38,500 before destination and any federal or state incentives or credits.
Most electric car owners charge up their vehicle at home or at the office, but range anxiety – and the occasional need to make longer trips – does make having some access to chargers on the road network important too. Urban drivers, meanwhile, often lack a garage or dedicated parking space. That can make owning an EV tricky, since it limits guaranteed proximity to a home charger.
Kia’s answer, Kia Select, sees Niro EV drivers get optimized pricing across Electrify America’s DC fast charging network. There’s no subscription fee, and no session fees; usually the latter would add as much as $1 per charging session. As for the charging itself, that comes in at a flat rate of $0.35 per minute.
The plan is available to any 2019 and 2020 model year Niro EV drivers in the US, whether they own or lease the car. Kia says it’ll be running Kia Select until the end of the year, and then re-evaluate whether it will continue it beyond that point.
To sign up, you’ll need the Electrify America app, and to go through the registration process. Payment for the charging is done via a credit or debit card, and it’s possible to locate in-network chargers and begin a charging session directly from that app.
Backed by Volkswagen, Electrify America is building out a network of high-speed EV chargers across the US. Currently, the company has 418 live stations in operation, with 1,429 of the CCS DC fast charger connections that the Niro EV can use for its most rapid charging. By December 2021, the company says, it plans to have installed or have under development roughly twice that number of stations, and around 3,500 DC fast chargers. That will include two cross-country routes.