Play your cards right with cinchCharge

Audi RS e-tron GT charging

We test the “faff-free” app and card that makes charging an EV much easier…

The great switch to electric vehicles is not without its issues. The high upfront cost of EVs, range anxiety and finding a public charger, to name but a few.

Then there’s the multitude of different companies providing chargers, each requiring registration, meaning some EV drivers have phones packed with apps or wallets loaded with (RFID) cards.

Anything that can smooth things along helps, which is why car marketplace, cinch, is on to a winner with cinchCharge.

cinchCharge

Marketed as “faff-free EV charging”, cinchCharge is a payment card and app which gives cinch EV buyers access to more than 30,000 public chargepoint connectors across over 18 networks.

In one fell swoop, electric car drivers who’ve bought via cinch can pay for charging using the cinchCharge card or app without having to shuffle cards and flick through different apps.

We’ve been testing out cinchCharge for ourselves over the last couple of months and we’re impressed.

The cinchCharge app helps you find and filter accessible public chargers by availability, speed and distance from your location.

cinchCharge app

What’s more, the cinchCharge app is free to download, there’s no monthly subscription and no fees.

When you stop at the charger, simply tap the cinchCharge card or use the app to start charging. Then you end your charging session and payment is taken from your linked debit or credit card, so you only pay for what you use.

The cinchCharge card worked perfectly on every public charger we used, including Gridserve, Motor Fuel Group, Osprey and Ionity.

Typically, there were also a couple of occasions where we were miffed because we weren’t able to use fast chargers on the Instavolt and BP Pulse networks, because they are not cinchCharge providers, but on the whole, the coverage is impressive.

The app is fine, though perhaps not the slickest out there, but it is integrated with Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps, meaning you can easily get directions to chargers, once you have located them.

Subaru Solterra charging

What’s more, the interactive map within cinchCharge shows you whether the chargepoint is available, compatible, the speed it will charge your car, as well as highlighting the price.

Our only suggestion is that would be a great bonus if the kWh prices were discounted a little for cinch owners.

So, overall cinchCharge works and certainly alleviates one of the key “faffs” of owning an electric vehicle (ie registering with various suppliers and needing multiple cards).

It’s just a shame that all EV drivers can’t benefit from cinchCharge and you have to buy a car via cinch in order to be able to access it!

2023 Volkswagen ID.3 review

2023 Volkswagen ID.3 review

Volkswagen’s bestselling EV in the UK has had an update for 2023 – we drive the new, improved ID.3…

The VW ID.3 electric hatchback has been treated to a mild makeover and tech update, despite only being launched in 2020.

Volkswagen has listened to feedback (some of it lukewarm) and acted on it swiftly. The result is a more mature proposition.

Crucially, the changes will also keep the car competitive in the ever-increasing EV family hatch sector, where rivals include the ID.3’s VW Group cousin, the Cupra Born, plus the MG4, Nissan Leaf, Renault Megane E-Tech Electric, Vauxhall Astra Electric and Peugeot e-308.

2023 Volkswagen ID.3 review

The ID.3’s exterior styling tweaks are subtle, to say the least. The front now features a longer-looking bonnet as a result of the removal of the black strip beneath the windscreen, plus larger air intakes. The honeycomb effect on the bumper has also gone and LED headlights are now standard.

Badging along the side of the car, plus decals on the rear pillar, have vanished too, resulting in cleaner lines, while the rear light cluster is tweaked and it has a distinctive X-shaped light signature.

The cabin has had an upgrade too. There are now more soft-touch surfaces, while the seat covers and door trims use fabric made of 71% recycled materials.

Finally, the infotainment system (one of the original ID.3’s biggest issues), has improved software and can now be updated over-the-air.

2023 Volkswagen ID.3 review

The menu structure is clearer and it seemed slicker and more responsive on our test drives. Even the controversial touch-sensitive sliders at the bottom of the touchscreen and on the steering wheel worked better.

Sadly, UK buyers will have to wait until 2024 for the new, larger 12.9-inch central screen, which benefits from backlit climate and volume controls – one of the big criticisms of the original car.

There’s also a more intelligent route planner for the sat nav (which schedules charging stops more effectively on longer journeys), improved voice control and an impressive augmented reality head-up display which projects directions from the sat nav onto the road ahead.

Mechanically, the rear-wheel drive ID.3 is much the same, so there’s still a choice of two batteries – 58kWh in the Pro and 77kWh in the Pro S, delivering ranges of up to 266 miles and 347 miles respectively.

2023 Volkswagen ID.3 review

Priced from £37,115, both develop 204bhp, though the Pro accelerates a tad quicker to 62mph (7.4 vs 7.9 seconds).

Another change is that the ID.3’s charging capacity has been uprated. So, the Pros S can be charged from 5-80% within 30 minutes at speeds of up to 170kW, while the Pro takes 35 minutes with a charging capacity of up to 120kW.

The revised ID.3 is no different to the “first generation” model on the road, which means that it’s competent and assured.

It’s no Golf in the handling department and is unlikely to put a smile on your face like some EVs, but it’s easy to drive and a refined cruiser.

2023 Volkswagen ID.3 review

It’s also good in the city with decent all-round visibility, light steering and a tight turning circle of just 10.2 metres.

There’s also plenty of grip and it smoothed out poorer road surfaces well, but it’s not at its happiest when hustled on more demanding roads.

There are three drive modes (Eco, Comfort and Sport), but the reality is that the ID.3 is all about comfort and extracting maximum miles from a charge.

2023 Volkswagen ID.3 review

Frankly, there’s not much between the Pro and Pros S, other than range. If anything, the 58kWh Pro S is a tad more nimble, but ultimately, the ID.3 still lacks the driving engagement of some rivals.

So, there aren’t many gripes with the improved ID.3. The brake pedal still has a relatively long travel, which takes a bit of getting used to, and paddles or buttons behind the steering wheel to adjust the brake generation level would be a bonus.

And the ID.3 can’t be faulted when it comes to space inside the cabin where there’s plenty front and rear, while the boot has a healthy 385-litre capacity, rising to 1,267 litres with the back seats flipped down.

2023 Volkswagen ID.3 review

It’s safe too, boasting a maximum five stars from Euro NACAP. The ID.3 has all the latest safety and driver assistance systems. And new for 2023 is Travel Assist, which helps keep your vehicle in its lane, keeps its distance from the vehicle in front and maintain your pre-defined speed.

Verdict: The updated Volkswagen ID.3 is a welcome improvement. Safe, spacious, refined and a doddle to drive, it’s a sensible electric hatchback choice with a good range.

Volkswagen UK

The Italian Job: Kia EV6 GT finishes 1000 Miglia Green in style

Kia EV6 GT completes the 1000 Miglia Green 2023

The Kia EV6 GT has completed the 1000 Miglia Green 2023, dubbed the “most beautiful race in the world”.

Finishing as the highest-ranking performance electric vehicle entered and sixth overall, the 1000 Miglia is a true test of endurance for both car, driver and navigator, requiring performance, precision and skill in order to score well throughout the race.

The 1000 Miglia Green is a sub-category of the historic Italian event, open only to fully electric cars.

The 2023 event was the longest in the race’s near 100-year history, spanning five days and more than 2,000 kilometres.

Kia EV6 GT completes the 1000 Miglia Green 2023

Not only was the Kia EV6 GT the first Korean car to ever compete in the 1000 Miglia Green, but the pro rally driver pairing of Jade Paveley and Ross Leach was the only team to represent Great Britain in the race.

In addition, the event marked the first time that an EV6 GT has been entered into a competitive, FIA-approved motor race.

Designed from the outset as a true GT car, the EV6 GT offers blistering performance from its twin electric motor setup that together deliver 577bhp and 740Nm of torque through all four wheels.

That power translates into a 0-62mph time of just 3.5 seconds, and an official top speed of 162mph.

Mated with a powerful 77.4kWh battery, the car is capable of covering 263 miles (WLTP combined) per charge.

Kia EV6 GT completes the 1000 Miglia Green 2023

Charging is equally rapid, thanks to the car’s E-GMP platform that supports 800V charging, enabling 10-80 per cent charge in as little as 18 minutes at the fastest charge points.

Importantly and despite the considerable distance and demanding nature of the roads and speeds required for the race, each of the timed legs travelled during the event were completed using a single charge of the car.

Charging was completed using public charge points, plus destination charging where possible at hotels at the end of each day.

The 1000 Miglia Green’s blend of rapid road driving under police escort along with precision time-trial and special stages on closed roads were the perfect test for the car’s considerable performance.

“The 1000 Miglia Green is a fantastic challenge that blends fast open road driving with time-trials and special stages,” said Ross Leach, rally driver and navigator

“It’s a great way to put any car through its paces and although incredibly demanding, the EV6 GT never skipped a beat and was a constant pleasure to be in. Particularly where outright speed and handling are concerned, the GT is able to easily hold its own, even against those in the supercar segment.

“We’re delighted to have participated in this year’s event, put the EV6 GT to the test and come home in sixth place overall but as the highest-scoring performance EV.”

Kia Soul EV review

Kia Soul EV 2023

We road test the latest versions of the quirky Kia Soul EV – the long range Explore and Urban commuter…

It’s fair to say that the Kia Soul has always been something of a left-field choice.

Originally launched in 2008, it’s now in its third generation. Over the years the Soul’s divisive looks have been softened and it’s now more cool than weird.

However, it remains difficult to categorise its boxy design because it has elements of a hatchback and crossover.

Kia Soul EV 2023

One thing is for sure, there’s bags of head and legroom in the front and back. And while the boot isn’t the biggest (315 litres), with the rear seats flipped down the load space expands to 1,339 litres.

An electric version of the Soul has been available in the UK since 2014. Back then, it had a modest 27kWh battery pack with a claimed range of 132 miles.

The latest model (launched in 2020) is only available as an EV (no petrol, diesel or hybrid variants). New for 2023, there are now two models – Urban or Explore.

The main difference between the two is that the former has a small 39.2kWh battery pack, while Explore boasts a 64kWh battery. Claimed ranges are 171 miles and 280 miles respectively.

Kia Soul EV 2023

We drove them both over a couple of days and those range figures are realistic. In fact, in the right conditions with a bit of restraint, it may even be possible to squeeze more miles out of a Soul.

Priced from £32,845, Urban provides an entry-level EV for Kia. It’s also significantly cheaper than Explore, which starts at £39,045.

As well as the new battery options, the Soul has also received the lightest of exterior makeovers. From what we could see, the bold new Kia badge is now integrated into the horizonal trim linking the slim LED headlights and there’s also a new Kia logo on the boot, while the tail-light clusters appear to have a darker tint.

Kia Soul EV 2023

Except for an infotainment system update, it’s much the same inside as before. In other words, it’s a fairly generic old school Kia interior with a ‘black plastic’ look and feel, paired with a ‘traditional’ central infotainment screen and driver’s digital instrument binnacle.

We say ‘traditional’ because the Soul’s newer stablemates (the Sportage, Niro and EV6), all benefit from futuristic dual panoramic curved displays.

That’s not to say that the Soul’s infotainment system is poor, because it’s certainly not. It’s clear and responsive, but just lacks the wow factor of its younger siblings.

Kia Soul EV 2023

However, like the rest of its interior, it is starting to look a bit dated.

For the record, the Urban gets a small 8.0-inch touchscreen and a 7.0-inch driver’s digital cluster, while the Explore is treated to a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with sat nav.

Both the Urban and Explore models are generously equipped, with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a reversing camera, lane-keep assist, LED headlights, a smart entry system and adaptive cruise control all standard. Explore adds goodies including black leather upholstery, heated front seats and heated steering wheel.

Kia Soul EV 2023

Under the bonnet the 39.2kWh battery pack is paired with a 134bhp electric motor, while the 64kWh version gets a 201bhp motor. Drive is through the front wheels on both models.

The latter is faster (0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, top speed of 104mph), compared to 9.9 sec/97mph for the Urban Soul.

On the road, there doesn’t seem to be much between the two in terms of acceleration because the less powerful Urban’s battery weighs 140kg less. In fact, on a loose or slippery surface, it’s possible to spin the Soul’s front wheels if you floor your right foot.

Kia Soul EV 2023

That said, there is a more noticeable difference when it comes to handling, because the lighter Urban feels slightly more agile.

Whichever version you choose, you’ll get a smooth, whisper-quiet EV experience, spiced up with a bit of instant torque.

For a relatively tall car, body roll is well controlled. And though the ride is on the firm side, it’s perfectly acceptable, while grip is good for a front-wheel drive car.

So, the Soul doesn’t deliver the most engaging drive, but it can have its fun moments.

Kia Soul EV 2023

There are four driving modes – Eco, Eco , Normal and Sport – and the latter is properly fast, but as ever, Normal will do just fine. Eco and Eco are heavy on regenerative braking, which recharges the battery by harvesting power otherwise wasted during deceleration, but tends to dull the further dulls the driving experience.

If you do stick with Normal, then use the paddles behind the steering wheel to adjust the level of brake regeneration, especially on downhill sections or when slowing down from speed for a junction.

Kia Soul EV 2023

Ultimately, the Soul EV is more about being affordable, a doddle to drive, well-equipped, comfortable and practical. Judged on that basis, it ticks all the right boxes.

Finally, the batteries on both versions can be charged from 10-80% in 47 minutes via a 100kW connection, while a 10-100% charge on a 7kW wallbox takes six hours – ideal for charging overnight at home or during the day at a workplace.

At the end of the day, if you like its looks, the Soul is very capable and an easy car to live with. Plus, it comes with peace of mind because like all Kia cars, it’s blessed with a generous seven-year warranty.

Verdict: The Kia Soul is a quirky family EV choice. Offering good value for money, it’s spacious, safe and well-equipped.

Kia UK

Meet the MG Cyberster EV sports car

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

MG Cyberster EV sports car

The all-new, all-electric MG Cyberster has been announced at Auto Shanghai 2023.

The exciting two-seat roadster marks a much-anticipated return to sports car production for the now Chinese-owned MG marque.

MG Cyberster EV sports car

“Our intention was to create a completely new roadster ready for a new generation of sports car drivers and which opens a bold and compelling new chapter for M,” said Carl Gotham, Advanced Design Director of the company’s Marylebone design studio in London.

“The focus for Cyberster was to create a design that was respectful of the brand’s illustrious past and to bring back that sporting bloodline, while also being absolutely clear that it should be modern and forward-facing like the MG of today, completely in-tune with the rapid transition to electric vehicles.”

MG Cyberster EV sports car

The Cyberster’s styling pays homage to much-admired roadsters from MG’s rich heritage, with its distinctive long bonnet, low nose and curvaceous surfaces, while also introducing striking new features such as its distinctive scissor doors and Kammback rear design.

“This is the perfect time to introduce an MG that completely reconnects with our performance DNA and is designed to enthral the driver on every level,” said Guy Pigounakis, MG Motor UK’s Commercial Director.

“MG is all set for an electric, sporting future and it is the perfect way to start celebrating our 100th anniversary.”

The Cyberster is expected to arrive for sale in the UK and Europe in the summer of 2024.

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