When you think of electric cars, some car manufacturers that come to mind are probably Tesla and General Motors (GM). Kia is more than likely not a car maker you think of when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs). Yet, it is a brand you need to get familiar with if you plan on buying a new car anytime soon. According to Consumer Reports, the 2022 Kia Niro EV is the best electric vehicle they’ve tested so far (this was in April 2022) and a J.D. Power study finds the Kia Niro EV to be the top EV in terms of customer satisfaction. Let’s take a look at the types of Kia electric cars available and delve into why you may want to consider a Kia EV as your new car.
While Kia has one of the smaller lineups of EVs, they have some of the most budget-friendly and reliable EVs on the market and are a good choice for new EV owners. The car manufacturer also has aggressive plans to add more EVs to their choices of vehicles (more on this later).
The company started going electric in 2015. The first car they made electric was the popular Kia Soul with 2015 – 2019 models available for the Kia Soul EV. Then, in 2020 they began releasing the Niro EV with 2020 and 2021 models available.
If you’re interested in the new Kia electric cars for 2022, there is the Niro EV 2022 model and the newest Kia EV receiving a lot of attention, the Kia EV6. Also new for 2022 are the Niro Plug-in Hybrid, the Niro (without the EV), which is a hybrid car, the Sportage Hybrid, and the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid.
A quick reminder for those of you who are just learning about electric cars. Most car manufacturers use the term “EV” to identify an all-electric or battery-electric vehicle. An all-electric vehicle relies solely on electricity stored in a battery pack to power its electric motor. EV charging equipment must be plugged into the car to recharge its battery. A hybrid vehicle has a battery pack for electric power and a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE). EV charging equipment cannot be used with a hybrid electric vehicle. On the other hand, a plug-in hybrid can be recharged through an EV charging station and has both an ICE engine and an electric motor.
In 2022, Kia released six new electric cars, showing their commitment to electrification. The six is a large jump from their one to two in previous years.
The Kia EV6 is getting all the attention because it is Kia’s newest electric car and comes with great technology as well as charging speeds. It has a range of up to 310 miles and using DC fast charging can add up to 217 miles of range in a quick 18-minute charge. It delivers 320 horsepower with a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds. It also comes with Highway Driving Assist 2 which Kia says makes highway driving safer. The Highway Driving Assist uses radars located around the car to help the driver maintain a set distance and speed from the vehicle in front of it. At the same time, lane assist technology keeps the vehicle center in its lane. The Kia EV6 can be charged at a home charging station or public charging station.
While the Kia EV6 is impressive, it is the Niro EV that is receiving all the praise from Consumer Reports. According to Consumer Reports, “The Niro EV isn’t just a pragmatic choice – it’s also an enjoyable one.” Consumer Reports like the EV crossover for its roomy interior and 239-mile range. It has more cargo room than two of its competitors, the Tesla Model 3 and the Hyundai Kona Electric. Consumer Reports says the battery placement of the Niro EV means a low center of gravity, which means it takes the corners well and has a sporty feel. It also still qualifies for the federal EV tax credit, unlike the Tesla Model 3, and its other main competitor, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV.
Kia America is providing customers of the 2022 EV6 with 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of free charging with Electrify America EV charging stations through the Electrify America Kia Charge Pass Program for EV6.
The Niro EV also ranked as the top mass-market battery-electric vehicle for a second consecutive year in the JD Power 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study. The study measures electric vehicle owner satisfaction. The study looks at criteria like the accuracy of stated battery range, driving enjoyment, vehicle quality, and technology features. The Ford Mustang Mach E ranked second in the JD Power study.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid has a 26-mile all-electric range and 105 Miles Per Gallon Equivalent (MPGe). The 2022 Niro Hybrid is a crossover vehicle and has an MPG of up to 50 miles combined. The Sportage Hybrid offers lots of cargo room and a 227 horsepower turbo hybrid powertrain. The Kia hybrid has a fuel economy of up to 43 MPG combined. The Sorento Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) has a 261 combined horsepower with a 79 MPGe. It has a 460 miles driving range when fully fueled and a 32 miles all-electric range.
All the Kia electric cars are compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Kia Connect technology is available for most of the Kia electric cars. Kia Connect provides access to remote features and services like lock/unlock, climate control, charging, and stolen vehicle recovery among other features.
Just like a cell phone, a Kia EV needs to be charged so it can have enough power to continue to run. EV charging is the process of using an EV charger to deliver electricity to the car’s battery.
An EV charger pulls electric current from the grid and delivers it to the Kia electric vehicle through a connector or plug. The Kia EV stores that electricity in a large battery pack to power its electric motor.
EV drivers can charge at home, public, and commercial charging stations.
Commercial EV charging stations can be found in places available to the public as well, such as retail locations, multi-family unit properties, and workplaces.
There are three main types of electric vehicle charging: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 – mostly known as DC fast charging.
Level 1 charging can be done through a standard 120-volt wall plug, which can be found throughout U.S. homes and garages. Level 1 charging is extremely slow and is typically used at home for an overnight charge. It is known as a “trickle charge” and can take longer than 24 hours to fully charge a Kia EV’s battery.
A Level 2 charger uses 240 volts and is much faster than a Level 1 charger. Charging your Kia EV with a Level 2 charger can add a range of 15-75 miles per hour of charge.
DC fast chargers use 480+ volts and are the fastest way to charge an electric vehicle. They can charge 80% of a Kia EV’s battery in as little as 10 minutes.
Kia says its goal is that by 2030, electric cars, including hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will make up 40 percent of all its sales. In an interview with Automotive News, Kia President Hosung Song said that by 2026 he wants Kia to have sold 500,000 battery-electric vehicles and another 500,000 hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
According to its “Plan S” strategy, the company plans to roll out 14 EVs, two per year, starting in 2023. The “S” in “Plan S” stands for a shift from a business focused on ICE vehicles to one focused on electric vehicles. Get ready for the Kia EV9 SUV, which is the next electric vehicle in the car manufacturer’s electric rollout. The electric SUV was already released to the public as the Kia EV9 concept vehicle at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show. You’ll also see the Kia Sportage PHEV in a five-passenger compact SUV design for 2023. The two SUVs will compete with the Tesla Model Y and the Hyundai Ioniq 5, among other similar electric SUVs.
Kia has hinted at plans to introduce at least one battery-electric pickup truck by the end of the decade.
So far Kia America has only reported successes with its EV sales and we can only expect to see more Kia EVs being released in the United States and around the world in the future.