Battery charging while traveling at 120 km/h - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Battery charging while traveling at 120 km/h

Hi guys. We just traveled from Winnipeg to Moose Jaw yesterday and from Moose jaw to Calgary and i noticed that the battery level goes downs as low as 1 bar or charge. I noticed that it wont charge more than 2 bars while traveling at 120 km/h, temp of 32C. Anyone has the same observations? Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Nestor Tee Martinez II View Post
Hi guys. We just traveled from Winnipeg to Moose Jaw yesterday and from Moose jaw to Calgary and i noticed that the battery level goes downs as low as 1 bar or charge. I noticed that it wont charge more than 2 bars while traveling at 120 km/h, temp of 32C. Anyone has the same observations? Thanks in advance
hev or phev?

The niro uses regenerative braking to recharge the battery. The ICE is not used to charge the battery. Using ICE generated electricity is very expensive.

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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 06:55 PM
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On a hybrid, the battery level should never drop as low as two bars. You generally see it vary between around 30-70%. The system is designed to keep the battery within that range. On my son-in-law's Ionic HEV, I think the lowest I've seen the battery readout is about 4-5 bars, but his battery display doesn't have the same number of bars that my Niro has.

On a PHEV, yes you can take it down to "nothing", although the battery is still around 20% when the car switches to hybrid mode. Looking at the battery level on the EV info screen, I've never seen mine go below about 16%. This is due to the fact that it's very bad for a battery to be completely discharged, so the engineers ensure that it's never drained completely. Same at the top end. Even when it shows 100%, there's still a little headroom before actually reaching the maximum charge the battery can hold. And as Charles mentioned, the Niro cannot charge the battery with the ICE. Switching top hybrid mode will save the battery at it's current charge level, but not add anything to the battery. Regen is the only way to add energy to the battery while in motion.

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Last edited by atc98092; 08-01-2019 at 06:57 PM.
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 07:53 AM
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I have seen two bars of charge twice in my HEV. Once was a very steep five mile climb at 25 mph (the five mile descent was the only time I've seen the battery charge graph full). The other was 40 miles highway in heavy rain.

The Niro can and does charge the battery without regen. Just watch the flow diagram, not to mention the battery charge level, while the engine is running and speed is constant (not slowing or going down a hill). As far as the PHEV goes, effectively the plug in energy is partitioned from the HEV energy, and under normal conditions the normal up and down charge running ICE in HEV mode does not affect that virtual (software) partition. However, you can charge the plug in partition by running Sport mode. Hard to imagine how that could benefit, running the ICE specifically to recharge the portion of the battery reserved for plug in is very inefficient.

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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 09:16 AM
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Any time I manually enter HEV mode, say for climbing a long hill, I switch to sport mode because I prefer to control which gear I'm in. In normal mode it will downshift when it's not really necessary. According to the manual, and based on my observations, it is only a charge sustain mode, and will not charge the battery. I've never seen any increase in range while running in Sport mode. The range might increase by a mile, but then it might go back down, so I never see any net gain in range.

My only experience driving a HEV is my son-in-law's Ioniq, and I have to admit the display is not as bright and visible as the Niro dash, so I might have overlooked how low the battery gauge has dropped. That's another reason I prefer my Kia over a Hyundai, the dash display is overall much nicer. Anyway, for my 65 year old eyes it's better.

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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 08:51 PM
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If you want to try an experiment, leave your car in Sport for a long drive. Many report that adds EV miles. This includes one (sort of nutty) Ioniq PHEV owner (exact same drivetrain as the Niro PHEV) who seems to prefer fully charging his PHEV in Sport mode versus plugging in.

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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 09:09 PM
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I have to pick my son-in-law up at the airport this evening, and the round trip is beyond my EV range. Once I get down to about 5 miles remaining, I'll kick it into Sport mode and see what happens. I'm going to have to burn a little gas anyway on the trip, so I may as well test it.

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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 12:24 AM
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Experiment concluded. I ran the battery down to 69%, then kicked it into Sport mode. It was about another 10 miles to the airport, with a little bit of a climb at the end. When I parked in the garage, I still had 69% charge. I saw as high as 71% and as low as 68%. When I left the airport, I switched back to Sport mode after I cleared the garage. This time I had some downhill to make up for the climb getting there. After about 10 miles I had enough battery range remaining to finish the drive in EV mode. When I switched back, I had 71%.

Based on this test, I don't believe the Niro PHEV has the ability to charge via the ICE. Most of the 2% improvement in SoC was from the downhill stretch that had a slight regen in effect. The rest is the same +/- 1% change I've seen just using the HEV mode (which is also labeled charge sustain mode in the manual). Perhaps the Ioniq will charge in Sport mode, and maybe, just maybe I did pick up 1% battery charge from the ICE in Sport mode. But with the severe drop in my average MPG display, there's no way it is of any value to use the ICE to charge. At the rate I might have seen, it would take several hours of freeway driving to add any useful amount of charge. Any power flow the display shows from the engine to the battery is solely to maintain the state of charge that was shown when the switch to HEV mode was made.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 08:18 AM
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I've experimented with the Sport mode recharging rumor floating around. My PHEV Niro did not recharge the EV portion of the battery on a 60 mile road trip on relatively flat terrain in sport mode after depleting the EV range and switching to HEV mode. It seems odd that some report that it recharges the battery and some report that it doesn't (myself included).

I know the Outlander PHEV will recharge the battery once depleted but you have to switch that feature on using a dedicated button otherwise it will default to charge sustain mode. Charging the battery fully using the ICE seems extremely inefficient which is why most Outlander PHEV owners don't do it. Source: I creeped on the Outlander PHEV FaceBook group for several months when shopping/researching.

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 09:03 AM
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Of course the Niro can charge the battery using ICE, your flow diagram will show that. The question is more about if the software PHEV partition of some of the SOC can be overridden in some circumstances. We seem to have some credible reports both ways. Not knowing the exact methodology and not owning a PHEV myself to test, I'm not sure what is going on here. We also have a number of reports of HEV owners who report charging the battery unusually high by running in Sport. I almost never use Sport, but in my experiment to determine the true gas tank capacity, I did run in Sport for about 20 miles trying to run out of gas faster, and indeed my battery charge went up to three quarters or so, a seldom seen charge for me.

It doesn't really matter one way or the other as running Sport to charge the battery is clearly inefficient to say the least. But it is still interesting. Got to wonder about the conflicting reports.

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