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Kia Aims To Expand The Role Of EVs In The World With New Apps

Electric vehicle (EV) batteries are often associated with powering vehicles, but their capabilities extend far beyond that primary function. As technology evolves and the demand for clean energy solutions grows, the potential applications of EV batteries continue to expand. In this article, I’ll delve into some of these innovative uses that not only contribute to a more sustainable future but also provide added value for consumers and businesses, and how Kia is trying to make them a more normal part of our lives.

One of the most promising applications of EV batteries is their use as energy storage systems. With the ability to store excess energy generated by renewable sources like solar panels or wind turbines, these batteries can help homeowners and businesses reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy sources. By using stored energy during periods of low production or high demand, EV batteries can effectively balance energy consumption and contribute to a more stable and sustainable energy grid.

For example, I’m working on using my Bolt EUV to power a “glamping” site when on the road for some upcoming projects. While there’s plenty of energy for that application, I’m having to do some wiring and a lot of work to make it happen, because the vehicle wasn’t built with that in mind.

With their ability to store and discharge energy, EV batteries can serve as portable power supplies for many other off-grid purposes. Whether it’s providing electricity for off-grid living or powering equipment at remote work sites, these batteries offer a clean and reliable source of energy. This is particularly useful in disaster relief efforts, where access to traditional power sources may be limited.

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) integration is an emerging concept that allows EVs to act as a power source for the electrical grid. When connected to the grid, EV batteries can supply stored energy during peak demand periods, helping to stabilize the grid and reduce the need for additional power plants. This not only benefits the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also has the potential to generate income for EV owners through participation in demand response programs.

So, it’s pretty clear that EV batteries are more than just a means of powering vehicles. Their versatile applications in all of these roles make for some serious possibilities that we may only be scratching the surface of today.

Kia’s New Approach To Tapping Into This Power

As we’ve covered before, Kia and Hyundai’s latest EVs have some interesting ways to use their batteries’ power for things, but they’re trying to take this to the next level with some new apps that present a collection of innovative solutions designed to enhance the convenience, accessibility, and efficiency of electric vehicle (EV) mobility. These advancements include Kia Connect, Kia Charge, and Kia Smart Charging, which features V1G (Automated Unidirectional Smart Charging), V2H/B (Vehicle-to-Home/Vehicle-to-Building), and V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) technologies.

“Delivering the next generation of sustainable mobility solutions involves the seamless and holistic interaction of electrification, connectivity and new services,” said Sjoerd Knipping, Vice President of Marketing and Product at Kia Europe. “Starting with the new EV9, Kia is working towards making EVs fully connected and future-ready to enable vehicles to be updated as new innovations and features become available.”

Kia’s comprehensive technology strategy focuses on establishing effortless and straightforward connectivity via integrated networks. Kia Connect fosters a continuous connection between the vehicle, Kia servers, and data providers, allowing live data streaming to provide real-time updates and information to drivers through the Connected Car Cloud. Moreover, Kia employs live data to enhance customer experience by simplifying the search for available charging stations and forecasting vehicle maintenance requirements. Furthermore, live data contributes to safer roads, efficient fleet management, and improved emergency response times.

Kia’s connectivity strategy incorporates the dedicated Kia Connect app, enabling customers to access features in the new Kia Connect Store. This store serves as a one-stop-shop for customers to purchase upgrades for their vehicles, facilitating continuous updates with desired technologies. The EV9 will be the inaugural car to utilize the Kia Connect Store and the first Kia vehicle equipped with the Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (CCNC) featuring dual-band GPS for enhanced location accuracy. Over-the-air updates ensure ongoing system improvements, including updated maps, interfaces, and software enhancements. Additionally, the Kia EV9 will include the EV Route Planner feature, recommending optimal charging points based on the vehicle’s battery level while en route to a destination.

Getting Energy Into The Battery

Kia’s global strategy aims to make charging seamless and convenient for customers, encompassing public charging stations, dealerships, and home wallboxes.

The Kia Charge app allows customers to access an extensive charging network from a single point. The European network comprises over half a million charging points across 28 countries, and continues to expand through pan-European partnerships with Ionity and Digital Charging Solutions (DCS), as well as local charging providers.

In terms of public fast-chargers, Kia plans to establish 30,000 new chargers by 2030 through regional joint ventures. Additionally, the company is implementing co-branded fast chargers at dealerships to offer a more personalized and comfortable charging experience.

Great Power Requires Great Responsibility (To Manage It)

Kia Smart Charging offers customers enhanced flexibility in charging electric vehicles. Progress in vehicle connectivity is ushering in a sustainable era of EV charging and power usage through bidirectional charging, allowing energy to flow both into and out of the vehicle. As a result, the EV9 supports V1G (Automated Unidirectional Smart Charging), Vehicle-to-Load (V2L), Vehicle-to-Building/Vehicle-to-Home (V2B/V2H), and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G).

First introduced with the Kia EV6 and available as standard in the EV9, V2L enables customers to power 110V/220V appliances using their EV9 battery by connecting a cable to the EV charging port. V2B and V2H denote the vehicle’s ability to supply power to a building or the customer’s home (a fully charged EV9 with a 99.8 kWh battery could power a household for 5 to 10 days). V2G allows the vehicle to transfer energy directly to the grid for broader use.

A V2G-enabled vehicle like the EV9 can store energy from renewable sources and feed it back into the power grid when solar or wind power is unavailable. This helps stabilize the grid, promote sustainable energy use, and potentially reduce customers’ electricity costs. On a larger scale, thousands of electric vehicles connected to the grid could function as a virtual power plant, potentially providing enough energy to power towns and cities for short periods.

While Kia didn’t give more details about how these apps will be used, and what options they present to users, it’s good to see that they’re trying to help people manage the complexity a bit more to get that much more good out of their vehicles.

Featured image provided by Kia.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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