Those just transitioning to an electric car, like the 2019 Kia Niro EV, face some potentially daunting decisions well beyond the vehicle itself—not just how they’re going to charge up the vehicle in their own garage or driveway, but how they’re going to charge it quickly enough.
The 2019 Niro EV starts arriving to dealerships next month while the 2020 Soul EV is expected a couple of months later. Both of these models will offer a big 64-kwh pack that Kia says in the Niro EV can charge to full in about 9.5 hours—if you use a Level 2 charger like you might find at a destination or install in a garage.
The reality check is that it would take an impractically long time for some daily drivers—59 hours, according to Kia—for these models to charge to full on a 120-volt AC socket.
It’s fair to say that there can be a lot of time commitment and coordination to just get a charger installed, too. Buyers need to select and buy the unit and what’s needed for the project, and then choose someone they can trust to do the installation. So with a new program through Amazon Home Services, Kia aims to make charger installation a simple click-through process.
Kia home charge points - Amazon Home Services
Similar to the program already in place with Audi, Kia customers go to a dedicated page to see recommended Level 2 (240-volt) chargers for Kia vehicles. There they can purchase a home charger they know works well with the vehicle and schedule installation with a licensed electrician, via Amazon Home Services.
The Amazon page notes that the installation uses electricians who are verified as licensed and bonded and who have gone through background checks. It also follows up-front pricing. Ordering the service requires a simple set of answers about the location of the charger, the age of the electrical panel, and the estimated distance between the panel and desired installation location.
A load assessment is included, as well as up to 50 feet of surface-mounted conduit and wiring, installation of a 50-amp circuit breaker and subpanel, installation of a NEMA 14-50 outlet, and installation of the charger. It does not include permitting or inspection costs, drywall work, whole-house rewiring, or weatherproof materials for outdoor installations.
The three units promoted by the program include the 40-amp Bosch Power Max 2 (with Bosch flagged as an official Kia partner), the 32-amp ChargePoint Home, and the 32-amp JuiceBox Pro. The latter two are wi-fi-enabled. All the installations are covered by the Amazon Happiness Guarantee, which means that Amazon will step in between you and the professional installer to help set things right if they go wrong.
Kia’s eligible vehicles with charging ports also include two plug-in hybrids, the Kia Niro PHEV and Kia Optima PHEV, along with the two fully electric models, the Kia Soul EV and Kia Niro EV.
The page suggests recharging your vehicle with the Level 2 home charger, and then leaving the Kia-supplied 120-volt charger, that plugs into an ordinary household AC outlet, in the trunk just in case. For newbies and experienced EV families alike, it’s advice we can stand behind.
Full disclosure: This editor owns a small amount of Amazon stock, as part of a diversified portfolio.