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Kia Announces Mobile EV Charging Partnership in California with Charging Provider SparkCharge

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【Summary】​Kia America announced on Tuesday it is partnering with Massachusetts-based mobile charging company SparkCharge to provide its electric vehicle (EV) owners with an on-demand concierge service in three major California markets: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose. SparkCharge subsidiary Currently operates an app-based mobile EV charging service that provides charging to vehicles at specific times selected by drivers.

FutureCar Staff    Mar 15, 2022 4:30 PM PT
Kia Announces Mobile EV Charging Partnership in California with Charging Provider SparkCharge
SparkCharge says it developed the world's first portable DC fast charger for EVs.

Kia America announced on Tuesday it is partnering with Massachusetts-based mobile charging company SparkCharge to provide its electric vehicle (EV) owners with an on-demand concierge service in three major California markets: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose. 

Based on customer reception of the mobile charging pilot program, future expansion to cities around the country will be considered. The mobile charging service from SparkCharge is also offered in Dallas, Texas, although not in partnership with Kia.

SparkCharge subsidiary Currently operates an app-based EV charging service that provides charging to vehicles at specific times selected by drivers. The app is free to use for Kia EV owners as part of the pilot. The company says it developed the world's first, portable DC fast charger for EVs it calls "The Roadie".

The Roadie is a modular DC fast charge unit using up to four battery modules stacked on top of each other. Each module has a total capacity of 3.7 kWh. Four stacked modules can deliver a total of up to 14 kWh. It accommodates a CCS1 or CHAdeMO charging connector and is capable of delivering charging rates as high as 20 kW.

In order to use the service, Kia EV owners will need to download the Currently app from Apple's App Store or Google Play and create an account with Currently's parent company SparkCharge, which also collects the vehicle's license plate number and the state it is registered in. 

To request a charge, driver's can click the "Request a Charge'' button in the app and select an available charge time. Currently it will come to the location with its mobile charging equipment and charge the vehicle's battery. The owner does not need to be present. 

Drivers are also asked to leave the vehicle's charge port open on Nissan models, or they can open it remotely via the vehicle's companion app once the charging concierge from Currently arrives. If for some reason the vehicle's charging port cannot be opened, Currently will ask drivers to come to the vehicle's location and open it.

The program is intended to make full EV ownership more convenient for Kia EV owners, and reduce potential for range anxiety. Kia EV drivers can use the mobile charging service up to three times a week for the next two months.

"The relationship with our customers does not end after delivery. In fact, that is just the beginning," said Greg Silvestri, Kia's Vice President of Service Operations, said. "Partnering with Currently to offer complimentary charging connects perfectly to our larger 'Plan S' strategy and amplifies our commitment to overall electrified vehicle adoption. We believe that making charging easy also makes ownership easy."

sparkcharge-mobile-charger-with-tesla-model-3_100746523_h.jpeg

The SparkCharge "Roadie" mobile charger can deliver up to 20kW of power for fast charging.

As part of a special promotion, from now until April 30th, the mobile charging service will be offered at no cost to customers in the three California cities when requested. After that, each subscription lasts 30 days and will automatically renew at the end of the month.

Currently offer three charging subscriptions. The "Volt Subscription" costs $25 with a $9.99 delivery fee. The package includes two charges per month. The "Jolt Subscription" costs $60 a month and includes 4 charges each month with a discounted delivery fee of $5.99.

The "Bolt Subscription" cost $80 a month with a $5.99 delivery fee. It offers 6 charges per month.

Each charge is good for a minimum of 50 miles. Currently will only charge the vehicle's battery up to 80%, which is typical for drivers of EVs.

As Kia expands its portfolio of electrified vehicles, the automaker says it's constantly searching for new ways to enhance the ownership experience.

"We couldn't be happier to partner with Kia to give their electrified vehicle drivers the convenience of mobile charge delivery," said Josh Aviv, CEO/Founder of SparkCharge, the parent company of Currently. "We created Currently to make ownership of these vehicles more convenient and accessible."

"Together, Kia and Currently will have a huge impact on the environment and people's lives," Aviv added. "But there is the often-overlooked time-saving element of full-service mobile charging, eliminating the wait at charging stations."

Currently claims it has saved drivers over 1,962 hours of wait times at public charging stations as of Feb 22, 2022, saving customers around $27,000 in charging fees.

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