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.
2019 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium
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Last edited by atc98092; 08-01-2019 at 07:57 PM.