Kia has announced an initiative where electric car drivers are rewarded with free electricity when they report faulty charging stations.
The carmaker has partnered with &Charge, a smartphone app that runs a rewards programme for EV drivers. Drivers are invited to leave feedback on the public chargers they encounter – a photograph of a faulty charger with a description of its location and what went wrong, for example – in return for electricity credit.
Drivers can also collect EV charging credits through the &Charge system when shopping at over 300 UK retailers.
These credits can be redeemed via the Kia Charge app to pay for charging at public stations. Retailers include DIY and home stores, clothing and fashion retailers, travel websites, airlines, delivery services and food retailers. Making purchases earns the customer credits that can then be used to charge their car.
Similar to earning Avios points when shopping with an American Express credit card, &Charge users can earn so-called '&Charge Kilometres' with every pound they spend.
As an example, Kia says how spending £99 at a retailer that offers 1km for every £3 spent would earn the driver around £2.34 in credit to contribute towards their next public charge. This figure will depend on the cost of electricity at the charger they use.
Charge station feedback, including photographs, can earn drivers between one and five '&Charge Kilometres' for each picture they contribute. This crowd-sourced information is then used by charge station companies to help identify faults and, Kia says, “quickly improve the reliability and user experience at their public charging stations.”
Sjoerd Knipping, vice president for marketing and product at Kia Europe, said: “As we expand our EV offering, it is important that the charging network offers the same accessibility and quality of experience that our customers have come to expect from our state-of-the-art EVs.”