We know that the mass adoption of the electric car will be based on the triptych of significant battery autonomy + dense network of chargers + fast charging.
All manufacturers are working on the first part, trying to improve the range of their electric models, the champion in all categories in this area remaining Tesla for the moment. Regarding the density of charger networks, apart from Tesla, which has its private infrastructure, it is the operators who have the cards in their hands, and if some like Ionity are accelerating their development, the same cannot be said of all the others.
There remains one variable to act on, that of the recharging speed. We know that the latest generations of Tesla or Ionity Superchargers are in theory capable of recharging certain models of cars at very high speed, between 250 and 350 kWh in the best of cases, which means that it would be possible to recover what make 500 kilometers in 20 minutes. Above all, this means that without refueling, you can actually recover 200 kilometers in less than 10 minutes flat, knowing that when you run electric you don't necessarily have to arrive with empty batteries to recharge. That said, it is fine on paper but it does not stand the test of facts because the power of the load is not constant, and above all, there is currently only one car on the market that is compatible with these charge flow levels, the Porsche Taycan. Because this model is also the only one in the world – for the moment – to have an 800 volt battery, the rest of the market, including Tesla, running at 400 volts.
However, it is the voltage that allows rapid charging: the more volts a battery has, the more it is able to withstand rapid charges and allow the car to maintain a constant and repeated level of performance.
Kia will have its dedicated platform for electric vehicles
But it could be that this will change, and that Porsche will soon no longer be the only manufacturer to offer 800-volt cars. First of all, Audi (from the same group and working on the same development platform) will offer the e-tron GT by the end of 2020, also with an 800-volt battery. But we stay here in the high end. It is on the side of Kia that perhaps the democratization of 800 volts will come on mid-range electric cars accessible to the general public. In the recent presentation of its roadmap for the next five years, the Korean manufacturer has just indicated that, unlike what had prevailed so far with its electric models, the Niro and the Soul, which were only electric versions of thermal models already existing in the range, its next 100% electric productions would be built on a specific platform.
Kia plans to offer a range of 11 electric models by 2025, which should therefore be fitted with 800-volt batteries. To date, electric models represent 6% of Kia's total sales in Europe in the first quarter of 2020. The first of the next generation Kia EVs will be introduced in Europe in 2021, built on a single platform. It will not only offer a crossover design "which will erase the borders between passenger vehicles and SUVs". It should offer a range of more than 500 kilometers in single charge, as well as a quick charge time of less than 20 minutes.
Kia calls Europe "the focal point for growing EV sales worldwide", a statement that reflects the immense pressure that government regulations are putting on companies across the automotive sector to reduce vehicle emissions. CO2 from their fleet.