Kia is the latest automaker to partner with a charging network on discounted rates for drivers of its electric cars. Kia Niro EV drivers can now get discounts on Electrify America DC fast charging through the Kia Select program.
Current 2019 and 2020-model-year Niro EV owners can now pay a flat rate of $0.35 per minute. The program also waives session fees, and has no subscription fee, according to Electrify America.
The Niro EV is one of the few mainstream-brand electric cars that can charge at 100 kilowatts (albeit only for a very small portion of its fast-charge curve). Normal pricing for that charge rate on the Electrify America network is $0.69 per minute, with a $1.00 session fee. Electrify America also offers a $4.00 monthly pass, which lowers pricing to $0.50 per minute of charging.
Even that isn't cheap. Officially, the Niro EV takes 54 minutes to reach an 80% charge, according to Kia—so if you linger at the EA hardware for most of a charge you could still end up spending close to $20.
To snag the discount, Niro EV owners need to download the Electrify America app and complete an enrollment process. The program will run through December 31, 2020 and will be "reevaluated" at that time, an Electrify America press release said.
Electrify America was created to spend $2 billion of Volkswagen diesel-emissions penalties on zero-emission vehicle infrastructure. Despite the VW connection, Electrify America has worked with multiple automakers on charging support for their electric cars.
The Niro EV was one of Green Car Reports' Best Car to Buy 2020 nominees. We were impressed by its perky driving performance and interior space, and have achieved impressive real-world range on test drives.
An EPA range rating of 239 miles remains unchanged for the 2020 model year, but the Niro EV did receive upgraded infotainment screens and other minor changes. The Niro is also available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Meanwhile, Kia's other electric car for the United States—the second-generation Soul EV—has been delayed.
The new Soul EV was originally scheduled to arrive in the U.S. around spring 2019, but now won't appear until 2021 at the earliest.