Your Top Electric Vehicle Questions Explained with Kia’s Head of EV Planning

You have questions about electric vehicles. So we asked an expert: How long will batteries last? Do they lose power in the cold? Can you jump a gas car with an EV?

The Front End Of The Kia Ev9 Electric Vehicle
The front end of the Kia EV9. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Armed With Answers, an Electric Vehicle Looks Better and Better

The idea of electric vehicles seems pretty simple, but in reality, they present a different way of driving from what we’re used to. And it paralyzes us. But a with anything, the more you know the easier it is to decide if, how or when to go electric.

So, with the 2024 Kia EV9 hot off the production line, we sat down with Steve Kosowski, Kia’s manager of Long Range Strategy and Planning, with your top questions. Are EVs bad in the winter? How long will an electric car battery last? And beyond that, how are you supposed to charge your new car?

Related: So You Want to Buy a 2024 Kia EV9 Electric 3-row SUV

The Power Port In The Mini Cooper Electric Car

The power port in the Mini Cooper electric car. Photo: Mini

Efficiency and Adaptability: Understanding Energy Use in EVs

Electric vehicles need to be pretty efficient to meet the needs of drivers, even in the winter. There has been some discussion about using heat in an electric vehicle and how that might make your vehicle less efficient. For instance, why would you turn on the heated seats instead of the regular heat?

Kosowski says EVs must prioritize how they use energy, and moving the car is the most important part. When you use the HVAC system to heat or cool the vehicle, it uses a lot of energy. Simply put, it is more efficient to heat the seat than to heat the car’s cabin. One example might be putting on a sweater instead of turning the heat on in the house. It works faster and makes sense.

Jumping A Car Using The Battery

Photo: Daniel on Unsplash

Can An Electric Car Be Used to Jump Start a Gas-Powered Car?

Another common question about EVs is about jumping the car. Can you jump a gas-powered vehicle with an EV? Steve says the answer is yes, you can. Large batteries power electric cars but also have a smaller 12-volt battery that helps turn them on. Using this smaller battery, you can jump a traditional car.

You’ll find this smaller battery in the same area under the hood, and you would hook up the jumper cables the same way: positive on positive and negative on negative. It should be a pretty instantaneous process, and the gas car should be able to start right away.

Related: 13 of Our Favorite Electric Cars, PHEVs and Hybrids

Winter Driving Poses Its Own Unique Set Of Challenges Especially For An Electric Vehicle

Winter driving poses its own unique set of challenges. Photo: Unsplash

Winter Challenges and Solutions: Maximizing EV Performance in Cold Weather

Since it is winter and the weather is cold in many places, the topic of EVs and weather has frequently come up. Some people note that in the snow and winter weather, the range of the EV goes down significantly. Like many people, EV batteries just don’t love the cold! The makeup of the battery has a gel-like substance inside of it that is important to the function of the whole vehicle. It takes more energy to get things moving when it is cold out.

One way to combat this is by preconditioning the battery, which allows the battery to warm up and function better. This can also allow you to get the cabin ready while you’re still connected to the grid and not using limited battery power. If you are trying to conserve energy for your drive, preconditioning is an excellent way to make it last longer.

Related: Waiting for an Electric 3-row SUV? Here’s What You Can Buy This Year 

2022 Gmc Hummer Ev Electric Vehicle

The 2022 GMC Hummer includes a 24-module, stackable battery system to offer the most power. Photo: GMC

Driving Forward: The Evolution of EV Battery Life and Range

Speaking of lasting longer, many people are curious about how long EV batteries will last. Kia’s battery warranty is 10 years or 100,000 miles. Steve says the cars are built to last at least 10 years, and technology is only improving. Range is one of those buzzwords that a lot of people are interested in, and that will only get better with time. “What we do know is that the energy density in batteries is improving, and the Kia EV9 is a signal of that,” Kosowski said.

Range is increasing at about 5% annually if you look at the aggregate growth of range on the market. One way to alleviate potential range anxiety is to think about that growth and when you might be ready to purchase an EV. If you might be satisfied with, say, 10% more range, you might consider buying over leasing in two years or so. Compared to the range of Kia’s EV6 just a few years ago, the EV9 is coming along at a good pace. For 2024, the range is around 230 miles for the standard EV9 and 304 for the Long Range.

Long story short, electric vehicles are getting more efficient, and batteries are improving right along with them. Sourcing materials for EVs is also undergoing some positive changes, such as finding more responsible sources to get critical materials.

Is Aaa Worth It Roadside Assistance

AAA roadside assistance can help with an emergency charge if you get stuck with a dead battery. Photo: AAA

Addressing Concerns and Exploring Alternatives: Safety Measures and Charging Solutions for EVs

On the more critical end of things, the question about battery fires has been in the news a lot lately. These fires can happen in a few ways but usually fall into two categories. One is after a collision or crash, and the other is due to a technical fault. Kosowski says a lot of safety engineering is involved in the battery pack creation. Every vehicle has a battery management system that should notice and shut down any detected issues immediately. Even though you might feel like you’ve heard a lot about EV battery fires, they aren’t all that common.

If you are interested in owning an EV but don’t live in a place that would support charging, there are still some other options. For instance, many people charge at work these days. Many businesses have an EV charger or two for people to use, which allows you to charge up while you don’t need to drive anywhere. It isn’t ideal, but it is a good step in the right direction. If this is your situation, maybe a plug-in hybrid would be better than fully electric. This allows drivers to use gasoline when convenient and use the hybrid system at other times, getting the best of both worlds.

A lot of things are happening in the world of electric vehicles, but things are heading in the right direction. The charging infrastructure around the country is expanding rapidly, and new stations are popping up everywhere. Tesla and Electrify America have the most chargers right now, but Kia is part of a joint venture aiming to have 30,000 chargers nationwide by 2030. These added chargers will make owning an electric vehicle more accessible to those who can’t charge at home or who want to travel more using an EV.

With the standardization of charging tech on the horizon, the playing field will be more level and more attainable for everyone. If you buy the EV9 right now, you need an adaptor to plug into the Tesla Superchargers. If you wait until the end of the year or so, it will come with the universal charger that can tap into Tesla’s network without an adaptor. Steve Kosowski says this will be a big step toward a more uniform EV ownership experience, making it easier for everyone to charge quickly and be on their way.

The Front Cabin In The Kia Ev9 Is Lovely

The front cabin in the Kia EV9 is lovely. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Now, You Know. Is It Time to Go Electric? 

If you want to own an electric car like Kia’s three-row EV9 or any fully-electric vehicle, only you know when the time is right. Waiting until you can charge at home or work might make the transition a little more seamless. Finding an EV with a long enough range to make your commute several times before charging up is also worth considering. And things are moving quickly: each ear new electric cars are introduced with more range and faster charging.

There are a lot of options on the market now, too. Kia has a variety of electric vehicles, from the EV9 to the Niro and EV6. Soon the company will roll out two more smaller EVs, the EV3 and EV4. All major steps in the right direction for Kia and for anyone who wants to go electric.

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Amanda Cline is an automotive enthusiast from Southwest Florida. She has cultivated her love for cars from a young... More about Amanda Cline