How does a battery electric vehicle work?

In simple terms, energy is stored in a large battery, which drives a powerful electric motor. Easy. To charge it, simply plug it into a home chargepoint, or a public charger when you’re out and about, and the car will take care of the rest. Plug it in at home, and you wake up every morning with a ‘full tank’* – in the case of the e-Niro, that’s a potential 282-mile range! The car then drives on battery power alone, there is no need to add petrol or diesel. It can even add charge to the battery while you are driving by recovering energy that would normally be lost – when braking for example. 

What is it like to drive an electric car?

Rather fun, actually. Electric cars are incredibly responsive. That’s because unlike combustion engines, electric motors produce maximum torque at any rpm. So you can enjoy brisk, instant acceleration at any speed without worrying about gear changes – all that torque means electric cars only need one forward gear! The All-New e-Niro can surge from 0-62mph in just 7.8 seconds. 

Handling can be impressive, too. Because the batteries are in the floor, electric cars have a low centre of gravity, which helps minimise body roll while making the car feel planted, providing a fun, dynamic drive. The All-New e-Niro even has a sport mode! ​

If efficiency is your main concern, there’s an eco mode, too. The All-New Kia e-Niro offers a driving range of 282 miles (WLTP combined cycle) on a full charge – that’s London to Newcastle! For some everyday context, the average UK commute is just 10 miles – so the average person could do more than two weeks of commuting without needing to charge once. 

Most charging with an electric car is done at home. But If you want to top up on the go, there are more than 7,000 public charging locations in the UK, and most of them have multiple connectors. Plug an All-New e-Niro into a 100kW fast charger and you’ll have 80% charge in just 54 minutes – that’s enough to travel 225 miles!.



​How does a self-charging hybrid car work?

In terms of how you use it, a self-charging hybrid car works just like a conventional car – there is no need to plug in – simply fill up with petrol at the pumps, and off you go! So what does hybrid mean? It’s pretty simple, along with a petrol or diesel engine, hybrid cars also have an electric motor that is powered by a small battery. The aim of the electric motor is to assist the engine and occasionally drive very short distances on battery power – as opposed to driving long distances on battery power alone as a plug-in hybrid or a battery-electric vehicle would. 

The battery is charged by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted – when slowing down for example. The battery then feeds this energy to the electric motor to help with acceleration or to drive the car at low speeds. This means lower emissions, better fuel economy and more money to spend on the things you enjoy. Great!



Lower emissions

Because the electric motor can assist with acceleration, there is less strain on the engine. This results in lower emissions. The electric motor can also take over at low speeds – in stop-start traffic in town centres for example. That means the engine doesn’t have to be running for as long, which results in cleaner air for everybody.

Reduced running cost

Using less fuel is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for your finances! Improved fuel economy means less money spent on fuel, and less time wasted at the pumps. The lower emissions also mean a reduced VED rate and lower BIK tax.

Doesn’t require you to make any changes

If you aren’t quite ready to switch to a plug-in vehicle, or don’t have the option of a home charge point, hybrid cars might be the solution you’re looking for. A hybrid car doesn’t require you to do anything different than you would do in a conventional car. The car’s clever electronics take care of how the energy is recovered and used. All you have to worry about is keeping it topped up with petrol.

Relaxing drive

The assistance from the electric motor means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard and that makes for a quieter journey. The added torque also means effortless acceleration for a more relaxing driving experience.


​​

How does a plug-in hybrid car work?

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) works in a similar way to a self-charging hybrid– there is a petrol engine that works with an electric motor and a battery. In a plug-in hybrid, the battery is much larger than in a self-charging hybrid. This means the car is able to travel around 30 miles on battery power alone – more than enough for the UK average daily commute – but it can also call on the petrol engine for longer trips. 

Like a self-charging hybrid, the battery can be charged a little while driving, but for the full benefit, you will need to plug in. Charging a PHEV should take less than three hours. Put this all together and you can enjoy miles of low-cost, all-electric driving while still having a petrol engine for those rare long distance trips. Perfect. 

Niro PHEV

Style and substance. The Kia Niro PHEV

The Kia Niro PHEV offers a roomy, premium interior that’s brimming with technology, all in the body of a stylish crossover. It has an electric range of 36 miles – more than enough for most journeys – and achieves 201.8mpg, while producing just 29g/km CO2.

How does a mild hybrid car work?

A mild hybrid car works in a very similar way to a self-charging hybrid car, but it has a smaller battery. Because the battery is smaller, a mild hybrid cannot drive on battery power alone – unlike a self-charging hybrid in which the motor can take over at low speed or when cruising. 

Instead, the petrol or diesel engine does the majority of the work and the electric motor is there to provide assistance. This means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard, which means lower emissions and increased fuel economy. The battery is charged by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted – when slowing down for example. There is no need to plug-in a mild hybrid, simply keep it topped up with petrol or diesel as you would with a conventional car.

Kia Sportage Mild hybrid

Kia Sportage Mild hybrid

The New Sportage lineup now includes Kia’s new ‘EcoDynamics+’ mild-hybrid powertrain options. EcoDynamics+ supplements acceleration with power from a 48-volt battery, extends engine ‘off time’ and can even help reduce CO2 emissions by up to 4% on the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).



How do you charge a hybrid or electric car?

Hybrid and electric cars are most commonly charged at home, but can be charged at work, or at thousands of public chargers, such as at supermarkets or service stations.

How to charge an electric car at home

In the UK, the vast majority of electric car charging is done at home. This is usually the most convenient and cost-effective way to charge. Get home, plug in, wake up with a full charge. Brilliant! To charge from home, it is best to get a home charge point installed. A dedicated home EV charger will charge your car much faster than using a three-pin plug – up to three times quicker! It’s safer, too. A home chargepoint from Pod Point – Kia’s charging partner – is weatherproof, so you can of course charge when it’s raining. The charge point is also smart, and WiFi enabled which means it can keep track of how much you have spent on charging – so you can invoice for travel costs for example. It can even save you money by charging when electricity is cheapest.

How much does it cost to install a home charge point?

Good news, there is a £500 OLEV government grant available to help with the cost of a home charge point. This means for a standard installation, our partner, Pod Point, can supply and install a home charge point from as little as £279 for a 3.6kW charger, or, for Kia customers, a special price of £300 (£359 RRP) for a 7kW charger after the grant.

If you don’t know which charger you need, fear not, we’ll explain that next. If you’re thinking about getting a home charge point, it is also worth switching your electricity to a smart meter. If you haven’t already done so, switching to a smart meter is usually free, and provides many benefits for drivers who charge at home. A smart meter will allow you take advantage of smart tariffs, which mean your car can charge when it’s greenest and cheapest to do so. In future, you will need a smart meter to take advantage of the OLEV grant. (The benefit of the government’s £500 grant towards a home charge point, you need to own your home, have off-street parking and not have claimed the grant for the vehicle.

What type of charger do I need at home?

Yes, there are different types of charger and connector for electric vehicles. But don’t panic, it sounds more complicated than it is. 

Chargers can range from 3.6kW up to 50kW, and there are even faster chargers coming soon. For now though, let’s look exclusively at home charging. When charging at home, there is a choice of 3.6kW or 7kW. As you may have guessed, a 7kW charger will charge faster than a 3.6kW, so is ideal for full EVs – such as the All-New Kia e-Niro. Not all cars can charge at 7kW, most plug-in hybrids will only charge at 3.6kW – this is because they have much smaller batteries and don’t need to charge as fast. 

A 7kW charger will still charge a 3.6kW car, but only at the speed of a 3.6kW charger. You can also charge by plugging into a regular 3-pin socket in your house, but this is much slower, and best avoided. It is also important to check that it is safe to use a three-pin charger – they should not be used with an extension lead, for example – and it may not be possible in every home

. Once you know what charge speed you require at home, you then need to know how to connect the car to the charger. For home charging, there are two main types of connector, and they are simply known as Type 1 (a five-pin plug) and Type 2 (a seven-pin plug). For example, the All-New e-Niro uses a Type 2 charger and can charge at 7kW – but can also charge faster at rapid public charge points (more on that below). 

You can specify your Pod Point charger to come with a Type 1 or Type 2 cable already tethered, or, you can have a universal socket, so you can plug your own cable in. The Kia e-Niro comes with its own Type 2 charge cable, so if you have two different vehicles that require different connectors, a universal socket is the way to go. You can find out more about home charging from our partner Pod Point. 

How do I charge my car in public?

There are more than 20,000 public connectors in the UK at more than 7,000 locations, and that number is rising every day. Many public chargers can be found in town centres, supermarkets and motorway services. If you want to see where your nearest public charger is, whether it is in use and whether it is working, you can check with services such as the Zap Map app. Public chargers can vary in speed from 3kW to rapid 50kW DC chargers. Rapid DC uses different connectors – CCS (Combined Charging System) or CHAdeMO. The Kia e-Niro for example a CCS connector for rapid DC charging. It will be made clear which speeds and connectors your car is compatible with.