Kia is electrifying their vehicle lineup, as they cater to the needs of fleets that are investing in a better tomorrow.
Dozens of Kia Canada’s commercial and government fleet customers enjoyed the 2023 Ride & Drive program, which took place Sept. 21-22. The event began with a presentation at Kia’s Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, followed by the driving portion of the program, which saw the small group of fleet professionals head northward into cottage country, taking turns test-driving an assortment of Kia’s newest vehicles.
The day began with a presentation by Spencer Watson, National Sales Manager, National Fleet Sales for Kia Canada who welcomed the audience to Kia headquarters and introduced his fleet team: Theodore Kim, Regional Fleet Supervisor and Fleet Specialist, Deepali Bhatia.
Electric vehicle overview
While Kia’s guests had the opportunity to test drive a variety of the brand’s conventional ICE vehicles, this year’s Ride & Drive had a clear EV theme, with many of the brand’s newest and most exciting EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids available for fleet professionals to experience and explore.
“The industry is transitioning to electrified vehicles in a meaningful way,” Watson explained. “Kia is very committed to both electric and electrified vehicles. We expect to bring a larger volume of EVs to market in the coming years, as we reduce the number of conventional vehicles we manufacture.”
With that thought in mind, Rejean Furoy, Kia Canada’s National Training Manager spoke about EV technologies, offering the audience an in-depth lesson on electrification, and what fleets need to keep in mind as they transition from conventional vehicles to BEVs.
Furoy began by explaining the differences between Level 1, 2 and 3 chargers. Level 1 chargers draw power from a regular wall outlet and can take many hours, or days, to fully charge a BEV, depending on the battery’s capacity.
That’s why Level 2 chargers are a better option. “What most BEV owners will have at home is a Level 2 charger,” he added. “Just like your clothes dryer, it offers 240 volts and can charge your vehicle in a matter of hours.”
If you’re driving across Canada, Furoy explained, you’ll want to take advantage of Level 3 chargers along the way, which can fully charge a BEV in a matter of minutes, or perhaps in about an hour or so, depending on battery capacity.
These are not for home use, Furoy added. They’re designed for commercial applications only. “The chargers themselves are usually around $50,000,” he explained. “Then you have to install a huge transformer, which your local hydro company will charge you about $110,000 to install. You also have to make sure that you have the electrical infrastructure in place in your neighbourhood to do this.”
Much has changed since the first generation of BEVs came to market, and range anxiety is no longer the concern it used to be. Furoy explained how regenerative braking can charge BEV batteries while they’re in use, and he highlighted the electric range of some of Kia’s newest BEVs: Niro EV—407 km, EV6 RWD—499 km, and EV6 AWD—441 km.
Furoy concluded his presentation with an overview of Kia’s Vehicle-2-Load (V2L) technology, available on the EV6 for now. V2L allows you to use the EV6 as a power source for electric items like heaters, power tools or even a TV. In a pinch, V2L can also be used to charge another EV.