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OC Automakers Offer New Charging Incentives

Rising gas prices are no doubt enticing more car buyers to consider purchasing electric vehicles these days, and several of Orange County’s cluster of automakers are adding additional incentives to help further interest for their latest EV offerings.

Irvine-based Kia America Inc., for example, is throwing an incentive of several thousand miles of free charging for buyers of its inaugural domestic electric vehicle, the EV6.

The automaker, Orange County’s fourth largest by local employee count, said last month it will provide 1,000 kilowatt hours of free charging to EV6 buyers at Electrify America LLC stations across the U.S.

Depending on the features of their EV6, Kia owners will receive between 3,500 to 4,000 miles of free charging through the Electrify collaboration, the company said.

Reston, Va.-based Electrify calls itself the largest public fast-charging network in the U.S., with a nationwide portfolio of 720 charging stations.

Electrify counts about 25 fast charging stations in Orange County.

February Sales

Kia’s EV6 was released earlier this year. It starts around $42,000 after tax credits.

On its largest battery, the car promises about 300 miles on a full charge. Using a fast-charging station, it can go from a 10% to 80% charge in about 18 minutes, according to reports.

The car earned the distinction of the shortest charging time needed to cross the U.S. in an EV this past November. On seven hours of total charging, the EV6 traveled about 2,880 miles from New York City to Los Angeles, surpassing the previous record holder, Tesla, by over five and a half hours.

The vehicle counts a top speed of about 115 mph and an acceleration rate of 0 mph to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

That’s “faster than a Porsche Cayenne Coupe,” the automaker says on its website.

EV6 sales in the U.S. totaled 2,125 units in February, making up 4.3% of Kia’s total sales for the month.

“Kia is undergoing a pivotal shift to electrification and the all-new EV6 is the first major step in that direction,” Kia America Chief Operations Officer and Executive Vice President Steve Center said of the inaugural EV offering in the U.S.

“Partnering with Electrify America will enable our customers to enjoy a superior charging experience coupled with the outstanding all-electric range of the EV6.”

Hyundai Boost

Hyundai Motor America of Fountain Valley, Orange County’s third largest automaker by employee count, came out with an electric vehicle late last year. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 starts at about $40,000 and offers over 300 miles of range on a full charge. It can charge to an 80% full battery in about the same time as the Kia EV6, according to reports.

Through its own partnership with Electrify America, Hyundai is offering Ioniq 5 owners two years of unlimited 30-minute free charging sessions at Electrify charging stations.

Hyundai reported 2,555 February sales of the Ioniq in its second full month of customer deliveries, after 989 in January. The EV represented nearly 5% of the total Hyundai sales volume in February.

Along with Kia and Hyundai, the EV charging company Electrify America also counts ties to Silicon Valley-based high-end EV manufacturer Lucid Motors, which debuted its Orange County showroom at Fashion Island in January.

Lucid Motors, which is just ramping up production, recently extended its offer with Electrify to provide Lucid Air owners complimentary charging at Electrify stations. The deal, originally set to expire at the end of 2021, now lasts until June 30 of this year.

Rivian Network

Rather than partner with a third-party like Electrify, Irvine-based EV maker Rivian Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: RIVN), Orange County’s largest automaker by employee count, is currently building out its own fast-charging network exclusive to owners of its closely-watched vehicles.

The company says it plans to have over 3,500 fast chargers at about 600 sites in the U.S. and Canada by the end of 2023. Its vehicles are also compatible with public charging networks.

Tesla, by comparison, had over 31,000 individual fast-charging Supercharger spots at nearly 3,500 stations at the end of 2021.

Rivian’s chargers can add up to 140 miles of range for its inaugural R1T and R1S models after 20 minutes of charging, Rivian reports. At full battery life, the R1T offers between 260 to 400 miles of range, while the R1S counts between 260 to 320 miles, depending on the battery pack.

Mazda Nears Launch

Mazda North American Operations in Irvine announced its first electric vehicle last year, set to launch in California dealerships this fall. Starting around $33,000, the MX-30 offers 100 miles on a full charge.

Through a partnership with ChargePoint Inc., the Irvine-based automaker, which is Orange County’s second largest by employee count, is offering MX-30 owners a $500 charging credit for public charging, or for purchasing an in-home charger.

MX-30 owners also get membership to a loaner program, which allows them to test out other Mazda vehicles 10 days a year for the first three years of owning their MX-30. 

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