Customized for bicycle/sleeping - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Customized for bicycle/sleeping

Prior car was a 2001 PT Cruiser with removable rear seats - taken out day one and not put back in until I bought the Niro. I was easily able to put a bicycle or two inside, as well as sleep fully stretched out on my frequent trips across the country. Not as much interior room in the Niro in any dimension, but the seats do come out!

Took maybe 15 to 30 minutes to unbolt everything. All can go back (in the unlikely event I sell it), but will take a good bit longer I expect!

Photos below show the seats out and the load floor removed, and a pile of the stuff I took out. For all the modifications, about 85 pounds out, and 40 back in for a net vehicle weight loss of 40 pounds.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the new load floor installed, and on the driveway. No bolts, comes out easily. Hinged in the middle for easy access to the traction battery and the tire well - for storage: no longer enough vertical space for a spare tire.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a bicycle inside. Note how close the chainring is to floor. You can still put this same bicycle in upright without removing the seats, but the chainring will hit the floor and the saddle has to be lowered. The PT had more vertical space than an unmodified Niro (still several inches of saddle clearance for this same bike), and no battery under the rear seat meant a lower floor so the chainring also had a lot of clearance. Now my bike just fits.

The new load floor is 3/4" plywood. Still, to save an inch of room, you will see a cutout under the rear wheel. The original load floor pieces added five inches, so I've increased the net vertical room by about 4" with the new load floor.

This bike has 700C wheels and I just used it for an example. My usual bike has twenty inch wheels and the front wheel axle is below the load floor. After I first put this in, the axle tended to catch on the carpet and lift up the battery cover. So the aluminum was added so the mechanical bits would slide easily across it when I remove the bike - I like it easy to use, so I can quickly pop the bike out for a ride.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Here is both the bicycle and a mattress. 6' long with the front passenger seat forward. My usual bike with 20" wheels has a bit more room for the mattress. So far, All I've done are short trips - if you call two weeks short! Worked fine. As you can see, plenty of room left for bags between the bike and the mattress.

In the PT when I went across the country for three months at a time (sleeping in car only on trip portion), I carried stuff including pots and pans for living at the other end. I used four plastic storage bins, flipped the front passenger seat forward (flattening it), and put the mattress on top. About 8 feet of room!

I may do something similar with the Niro if I do work out of state again. I'm OK with the interior now, but the PT did have more interior room despite being shorter and narrower than the Niro.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Finally, three exterior mods. This is an LX. I removed the roof rails to bring the EPA highway rating back to the FE rating and put on the FE roof trim. I also removed the passenger side outside mirror mostly for aero benefit. But I never use that mirror finding it faster (which to my mind means safer) to look through the windows instead for making lane changes. I do have an aftermarket wider inside mirror which takes care of most of the blind spot that I cannot see by turning my head.

For a splash of color and mystery on the car, I replaced the Kia emblem with a K5 emblem from South Korea. Oh, didn't take a photo, but I also removed the eco hybrid emblem from the back hatch. I thought it was rather hideous and stupid besides.

That's it!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 11:10 PM
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Should have gotten the FE to make things easier haha
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 08:14 AM
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Thanks yticolev for the great idea and write up.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olimpiaKIA View Post
Should have gotten the FE to make things easier haha
Removing the roof rails was trivial, a few minutes. Adding the tech package to the FE, impossible. Otherwise I would have gotten the FE.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yticolev View Post
Removing the roof rails was trivial, a few minutes. Adding the tech package to the FE, impossible. Otherwise I would have gotten the FE.
how does one remove the roof rails?

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Take a close look at them. There are plastic caps on both ends you can remove by hand (rock and pull up) and a couple of covers to remove with a screwdriver. Under those are nuts holding them to the roof. Does require a deep socket, 8mm I believe.

The frontal area is larger than just the cross section of the rails. They are curved from front to back so they have an outsized effect on drag. Removing them is theoretically good for the full difference between the FE and LX highway EPA rating, 3 mpg. Perhaps a bit less because of the weight difference between the two models, but that is super small at steady highway speeds. Weight has a bigger impact in stop and go city driving.

A side mirror is good for 2 to 3 percent (also mpg in the case of the Niro) per ecomodder at highway speeds. Take a bit off of both improvements to be conservative and call it 5 mpg gain on the highway. While the weight I took off has some small impact, I'm not really counting it as it simply brings total vehicle weight closer to the FE.

I'm expecting my lifetime mpg to exceed EPA (a recent 701 mile tank yielded 58 mpg) but of course much of that will be my environmental conditions and driving habits. In fact, this summer has been so nice that I've prioritized riding my more efficient motorcycle (last two tanks were 79 and 78 mpg). That will actually bring my Niro annual average mpg down this year as more miles will be done when it is cold, missing most of the possible summer miles.

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