The following is a discussion with Aussie electric vehicle (EV) owner Chris, who has a Kia Niro EV S 2023 in NSW.
EDITOR: I’m going to publish a regular series of articles with the views of Australian EV owners about their purchase, driving, servicing, charging etc experience.
This will help fill an information gap as the majority of electric car news articles are about new car launches and there’s relatively little published about the longer term Australian ownership experience after you’ve paid for your electric car. Hopefully this shared information helps other Aussies make their own EV purchase decision.
Was your electric car bought or leased?
Please describe your purchasing / lease process experience … Easy, Mediocre, Frustrating..?
The purchase process was easy. We were pretty keen on the Niro so actually put an order in as soon as the model was announced, so our wait period was only a few months.
What has the regular servicing / dealership experience been like?
Good, only the initial service so far.
How do you regularly charge your car for day to day usage?
Plug in to specially installed faster EV charger at home (smart unit that only uses solar)
What has your day to day normal charging experience been like?
We installed a Zappi charger which I absolutely love. The sense of satisfaction from fuelling our car from the sun is hard to describe.
I love the fact that the Zappi gives us a lot of options for charging.
Generally we just top up from the solar every few days.
If we are planning on driving to Sydney, we will charge to 100% as with the range of the Niro we can drive from Newcastle to Sydney and back on a single charge.
A bit of extra charge planning is required if wanting to do that Sydney trip.
How do you charge your car for longer road trips on the weekend or during holidays? Do you prefer any particular brand of public fast charger during road trips eg Evie, Tesla, Chargefox and why?
I have primarily used Chargefox and Evie. I have found the Evie chargers to generally be better but I think that is more a reflection of the fact it is a newer network.
What’s the farthest road trip you’ve done in your EV and what did you learn from this experience that would be useful for others to know?
Newcastle to Melbourne (1000km) and return.
I had only owned the EV for a bit over a month when I went to Melbourne. Given it was Christmas I was anticipating the potential need to wait for a fast charger.
I used A Better Route Planner to plan my trip and given my lack of experience, and the potential for broken chargers I was very conservative with my planning and did not let the battery charge go below 20%
In the end I didn’t have any issues but having the mindset of “it will take as long as it takes” helped keep range anxiety down.
Does your EV have any special features like V2L reverse charging from the car to your portable/home appliances? If yes please share your experience using this special feature
Yes, the car does have V2L but I haven’t actually played with it yet
If you have roadside assist included with the car purchase/lease and have had to use it, which company provided the service and what was that experience like?
Yes, from Kia but have not used it yet
If you have had issues with your car and asked for these to be fixed under warranty, did the car brand do the right thing and fix it without causing you stress?
What are the 3 strongest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?
- It is a very “normal” looking car which in a lot of ways is quite nice.
- The build quality seems extremely good with Kia being an experienced car manufacturer.
- We took the base model to allow us to keep below the NSW stamp duty and rebate thresholds.
What are the 3 weakest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?
- The base model of the Niro does not have a connected car / app feature which would be nice at times (the higher cost GT-Line version does have this.)
- DC fast charging in the Niro is limited to around 85kW, which can make fast charging a bit slower.
- The shape of the Niro may make it less efficient on the highway compared to say a Tesla.
EDITOR: Chris is correct. The Kia Niro S EV has a good drag coefficient of about 0.29 and the Tesla Model Y has a very good drag coefficient of 0.23.
Would you buy or lease this brand of electric car again and recommend it to others?
Yes, it is a great car
If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to participate in this interview series by sharing your experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.