Hyundai and Kia are giving a nice boost to their EV buyers in the UK — access to a large number of charging stations from just one app.

Living with an electric car is exceedingly easy, for the most part. If you can charge your car at home and/or work, you have almost nothing to think about. Though, you may still appreciate and benefit from a good public charging network. If you don’t have home or workplace charging, then you do have to consider what local destination chargers or fast chargers you can conveniently use on a regular basis. In either case, though, if you want to use public EV charging stations, you have to check out what networks are in the places you drive (or might drive) and perhaps collect a purse-full of charging cards and screen full of apps. Hyundai and Kia are making it much easier by putting everything together in one app for their EV buyers.

I should note, first, though, that these are different programs and networks (though, there must be an enormous amount of overlap). Hyundai drivers get the Charge myHyundai app and charging card, and Kia drivers get the KiaCharge app and charging card. (Why not HyundaiCharge and KiaCharge, or Charge myHyundai and Charge myKia? I don’t know. Don’t ask.)

Image courtesy Kia

Image courtesy Hyundai

IN the case of Hyundai, drivers are getting access to more than 15,000 charge points across the UK. In the case of Kia, drivers are getting access to more than 13,900 UK charge points, 68% of the UK public charging network according to Kia. (I know … “more than 13,900?”) That includes access to bp pulse, Pod Point, IONITY, Source London, Chargepoint, NewMotion, Char-gy, and ESB chargers. I don’t understand why there’s a difference, but apparently Kia just didn’t quite make as good of a deal as cousin Hyundai, perhaps lacking access to just one more network. (Humorous side note: Kia appears to claim the leadership position in its press release, and Hyundai doesn’t. “KiaCharge provides the most comprehensive access to the UK public charging network,” Kia writes. Perhaps the PR people got confused about which company they were referencing at the time? Ahhhh — Kia published its press release on this new app one day before Hyundai published its press release. Coincidence?)

Just to clarify before we get to the end here: these apps and charging cards don’t give Hyundai and Kia drivers free charging. It just makes it easy and simple to use chargers, or provides “convenience and peace-of-mind” as Hyundai puts it.

“Customers will be able to use charge points from most of the main operators via a single platform, with a flexible pay-as-you-go tariff making the use of public charging more simple and convenient,” Hyundai notes. The same is true for the Kia drivers.

Across Europe, Hyundai indicates that drivers get access to more than 205,000 charge points. Kia mentions 178,000 charge points across 28 European countries.


Press release quotes of executives are often meh, but I’d like to highlight a comment here that I love from Ashley Andrew, Hyundai Motor UK’s Managing Director. She says, “We’re excited to introduce Charge myHyundai to the UK for Hyundai electric vehicle customers as we know that public charging is one of the biggest perceived barriers for EV ownership. Charge myHyundai provides a comprehensive service where customers can easily locate and access public chargers, with a simplified payment solution giving BEV & PHEV owners peace-of-mind.” (Emphasis added.) Indeed — charging can often be more convenient than fueling up a fossil fuel car, but it is something new and different that concerns people (especially, perhaps, because they know how easily their phones or computers can run out of battery and most have probably been in a situation where they couldn’t charge them up). But the key is solving the perception problem as much as anything. And that’s what’s great about this solution — it makes charging simple, clear, and convenient. Need to charge? No problem — just open your app, fund a spot, and plug in. There are thousands upon thousands of options.

Meanwhile, 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.” Okay, well, these statements were clearly written by the same person or team of PR people. Nonetheless, kudos to them for highlighting the difference between fundamental physical impediments and perceived impediments.

Image courtesy Hyundai

Oh, right, I should also note: despite the screenshot above, the apps are available for Android as well as iPhone users. And they include a number of “smart” features that improve the user experience (but that you don’t really have to think about). Hyundai writes:

“Charge myHyundai can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices, it enables intelligent route planning to help users find charging stations easily at their final destination or along a route. Users have real-time price information of the charging points in the app and have full price transparency of the charging service. The simple pay-as-you-go (PAYG) tariff gives the customer the freedom to charge whenever and wherever they need to with no monthly subscription fees (some network providers may offer a membership to access reduced tariffs).

“Charge myHyundai can also be used in conjunction with Hyundai’s Bluelink® Connected Car Services. Bluelink connects drivers to their cars through their smartphones via the Bluelink app which enhances their driving experience and makes life on the road more comfortable, convenient and safe. For full-electric vehicle owners, this includes the ability to charge vehicles remotely, check battery status, set a charging schedule, and switch on the car’s climate control before setting off on a trip to heat or cool the interior.”

Image courtesy Kia

Anyone reading this have an electric Hyundai or Kia in the UK and have access to one of these apps now? Drop us a note if you do and you have something to share.


 

 


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