When testing electric vehicles, one item I’ve started to take for granted is the inclusion of a charge cable or mobile charger. Nearly every new EV comes with a plug as standard equipment, but not our new long-term 2022 Kia EV6. In fact, it’s not even a pay-for option on the EV6.
Most owners may shrug this omission off, because if you’re planning on buying an EV6, you’re very likely already planning on having a Level 2 charger installed at your home to charge it. I, on the other hand, am currently renting a home. My landlord’s garage isn’t wired up for 240V power, and there’s no way I’d pay the money to prep a space for EV charging if I’m just going to move out eventually. That leaves me with a charging conundrum.
Trickle charging an EV with Level 1 power typically lets me do all the driving I might need to do in a week, but since the EV6 doesn’t come with any charger to plug in, I’m 100% at the mercy of public charging stations to get juice into the EV6’s battery pack. It’s both annoying and more costly to power the EV6 this way. The annoyance is in the time I need to block out on some evenings to charge back up. Even though I live in a heavily-populated suburb in metro Detroit, the closest fast charger to me is an over-15-minute drive. The extra cost is due to the higher price you’ll pay for fast charging versus your typical home electricity costs. A trip to the local Electrify America station with a nearly depleted battery runs me about $35 to get back to 100% charge. Meanwhile, that same amount of electricity would cost about $10-$15 at home.
Beyond cost and annoyance, the presence of a mobile charger that you can tuck into the car allows for more peace of mind on a road trip. You’d be able to plug in anywhere you can find a power source, and while the charging might take an eternity, being able to charge your EV in an emergency could allow you to limp it to a nearby charging station. It’s a security blanket that you’d hopefully never need to use, but given the state of disrepair we sometimes find public charging stations in, it’s a security blanket that we’d appreciate.
Weirdly enough, the Kia EV6’s twin (the Hyundai Ioniq 5) comes with a 120V cable for free, but Kia chose not to include one. This is new for Kia, too, for the Niro EV comes with a free cable. Tesla recently decided to drop the provided charging cable from its list of standard equipment, making it an option you need to pay for instead. As of now, though, only Tesla and Kia are the ones to deem it an unnecessary standard accessory for a new EV.
A number of us have Level 2 chargers installed in our homes that will come in handy for testing the EV6, but the rest of us will have to live without. That said, this kind of charging practice will provide its own type of test. Is it viable to own an EV like the Kia EV6 and not be able to charge it at home? We’ll see how our feelings change over time.