It took too long, but Electrify America is finally offering a solution for Hyundai Kona owners.
Electrify America, together with Hyundai Motor America, has introduced the "Hyundai Select" Plan, created to address billing problems with Hyundai Kona Electric vehicles. The plan was designed to reduce the cost Hyundai Kona Electric owners incur while charging on an Electrify America high-speed DC fast charger.
For those not familiar with this issue, let us explain. Electrify America's pricing structure has three pricing tiers and charges according to the maximum charge rate the vehicle is capable of accepting. That doesn't mean the vehicle will accept the full charge rate during the session because there are factors that will throttle back that rate like battery temperature and the vehicle's current state of charge.
How Electrify America explains their pricing structure:
"Once your EV is plugged in, your car will tell the charger the maximum power it can accept. This will determine the power level into which you’ll be placed, and the associated per-minute cost for your entire session. We automatically put you into the highest power level available at the charger that is compatible with your car’s charging capability. This is to ensure you get the fastest charge possible."
In the case of the Hyundai Kona Electric (and Kia Niro EV, but we'll get into that later) when the vehicle initially communicates with the Electrify America station, it tells the station that it's capable of accepting 77kW, and that puts it just over the threshold and into the middle tier pricing.
The problem is, Kona EV owners never see their vehicles accepting more than about 70 kW, and at most 73 kW, so they really should be paying the significantly-lower tier 1 cost per minute. This problem can more than double the cost they should be paying and has had many Kona EV owners reach out to us and say they won't use the Electrify America network under any circumstance until this is resolved.
This topic has also been discussed over in the InsideEVs Kona Electric Forum, and one member posted a screenshot of the Fastned Kona Electric charging profile. The profile below does show that the Kona is technically capable of accepting over 75 kW for about 10 minutes, while the battery is between a 20% to 40% state of charge. Still, that's not what actual Kona owners are reporting while using the Electrify America network.
Perhaps the Fastned charging profile is only attainable under perfect charging conditions.
OK, so how much of a difference will this make? It's significant. If a Kona Electric driver in California was on a long drive and needed to charge for 45 minutes, under the current Electrify America Pass Plan they would pay $31.05 for the electricity (45 x $.69). If they had the Electrify America Pass plan without the $4.00 per month fee of the Pass Plus plan, they then would be charged an additional $1.00 session fee making the total cost $32.05 for roughly 40 to 45 kWh of electricity, depending on the charging conditions. That's much more than gasoline costs.
With the new Hyundai Select Plan, that same charging session will cost $15.75 (45 x $.35). There's no $1.00 session fee and Electrify America is waiving the $4.00 Pass Plus monthly fee, so there's no additional costs, just $.35 per minute nationwide. Unlike the regular plans, there's no need to check the pricing in your specific state, it's all the same with the Hyundai Select Plan.
Here are the different costs a Hyundai Kona Electric owner would pay in California for a 45-minute charging session based on plan:
- Electrify America Pass: $31.05 plus $1.00 session fee: $32.05
- Electrify America Pass Plus Plan: $22.50 (plus a $4.00 monthly charge)
- Hyundai Select Plan: $15.75
Below is a notification that Electrify America is sending out to Kona Electric owners.
"The Hyundai Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric models have unique DC charging characteristics, and as such, we’ve created the Hyundai Select Plan designed specifically for these models.
We are offering discounted per-minute charging from our 1–125 kW power level cost for Hyundai Kona Electric or Ioniq Electric drivers, as well as no session fees, and no subscription fee.
The Hyundai Select Plan can only be activated via our mobile APP. To enroll in the Hyundai Select Plan: download the Electrify America app, select “Premium offers," choose the “Hyundai Select” plan, enter your EV’s VIN, then enter the “HSCharging” enrollment code.
This program was created for Hyundai’s current Electric Vehicles, specifically, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and the Hyundai Kona Electric.
We developed this price to be specifically based on the charging profile of current Hyundai Electric Vehicles. Our Tier 1 pricing was developed for EVs that charge at lower power.
The Hyundai Select premium offer pricing is a bit higher cost than the 1-75 kW power level cost because it was developed specifically based on the charging profile of current Hyundai Electric Vehicles. Our 1-75 kW power level pricing was developed for EVs that charge at lower power.
In collaboration with Hyundai Motor America, we are offering no session fees and no subscription fees, as well as 35 cents per minute for Electrify America DC Fast Charging nationally.
The Hyundai Select Plan is currently only available in the United States.
The program expiration date is December 31, 2020.
If you’re already an Electrify America Pass+ member, you may wish to downgrade to an Electrify America Pass plan when enrolling in the Hyundai Select Plan to avoid the monthly Pass+ member fee. The monthly Pass+ member fee is not applied for Hyundai Kona Electric or Ioniq Electric drivers when they’re signed up on the Hyundai Select Plan.
We’ll be announcing something for Kia Niro EV drivers very soon."
Did you notice that last line in the announcement? Yes, Kia Niro owners will also be getting some relief soon. They experience the same problem as Hyundai Kona Electric owners as the vehicles share many of the same components and charging profiles. We'll be sure to let you know once we have information about that plan.
What are your thoughts on this "solution"? We're happy to see this finally getting addressed. Back in January when we met with Electrify America's CEO Giovanni Palazzo and COO Brendan Jones, I asked the duo about this issue and was promised a solution was in the works. However, it seems to us that Electrify America was punting a bit on this and pushing the blame on Hyundai and the Kona for signaling that it can accept more power than it really can.
I wondered why they couldn't just put the Kona and Niro in tier 1 where they really belong and that still isn't happening. With this Hyundai Select plan, Kona owners will pay significantly less. However, in our opinion, they should be placed in tier 1, and pay even less. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
If you're a Hyundai Kona Electric owner or just interested in the vehicle, drop by our growing Kona community over on InsideEVs Forum.
*Edit: Shortly after posting this, one of our readers pointed out that it's a "temporary fix" because when signing up you're notified that this special plan expires on 12/31/20. After checking ourselves, we can confirm that this is the case. We suspect Electrify America will have a permanent solution announced before this plan expires, but we'll check with them to confirm. Here's the text from the Hyundai Select Plan on the Electrify America website:
"To help you experience the future of fast charging, Electrify America is providing Hyundai Kona Electric and Hyundai Ioniq Electric owners with charging at any of Electrify America’s fast charging stations at $.35 per minute (session fees or monthly subscription fees are waived) after you enroll via the Electrify America App. The Hyundai Select Plan is valid until December 31st, 2020. Try it out and discover the freedom that comes with access to the Electrify America network."