Engine whirrs in first gear - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Engine whirrs in first gear

Hey all, I have a 2018 plugin. I'm pretty sure this is normal, but wanted to get other peoples takes. I noticed that in hybrid mode with the ICE on (not electric mode), when coasting in first gear at low speed, the engine seems to whirr loudly, even when I let off the throttle. It seems to have some inertia and sounds like it keeps 'going' even after letting go of the throttle. Does everyone else experience this? It's not a big deal and the car drives as I expect, but in city driving at low speeds it makes for an unsatisfying driving experience and sounds very much like the CVTs in the Prius I've tried to get away from.

It's not an issue if I just accelerate normally up through the higher gears, only if I'm crawling at very low speeds staying in first gear. It's sort of the equivalent sound/feeling as if I were in a manual and pressed in the clutch after accelerating in first gear, but kept my foot on the gas for an extra second or two. It seems like the car should be upshifting sooner.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 08:25 PM
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Are you sure you are not in EV mode? My car engine turns on fairly quickly to warm up, but the car motive power is still 100% EV. Look for the lighted EV green logo, however the instant mpg will be low because the engine is on using gas. Anyway, perfect fit for your description.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2018, 11:38 PM
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I have the PHEV. I don't think I understand parts of your question. You say at one point that you are 'coasting in first gear'. Hmm...doesn't compute. Questions/comments for clarification.
1. How do you know you are in first gear? It's nearly impossible to tell that you are unless you have the transmission over in sport mode. And even then it isn't going to hold first gear when 'coasting'. It'll upshift. As far as I can tell what you are saying is that you have manually shifted it into first gear (i.e. you're doing your own shifting with the dual clutch mode). On this (probably false) assumption then I say....
2. If in regular mode (transmission in the D selector position), if you lift off the gas at low speed, the engine is going to turn off....almost always within a couple seconds.
3. When you are in D, the 'coasting' will not really coast, it'll turn the electric motor into a generator. If you are in sport mode and have manually selected first gear then yes it's a manual transmission in first gear and that's going to spin the engine.

You ARE driving a manual transmission.

Reference pages (my summary) from owner's manual. See owner's manual for full quote.

1. Page 6-16. Your car may not be smooth at low speeds/shifting for 1000 or so miles. It's learning your pattern.
2. Page 6-15. The dual clutch transmission is a dry clutch not a torque converter (standard automatic). "Think of it as an automatically shifting manual transmission". It will have a more direct feel than an automatic and feel different. This is most noticeable at low speeds.
3. Page 6-15. "If you release your foot from the acccelerator pedal at low speeds, you may feel strong engine brake (which is the engine spinning at high rpm), which is similar to manual transmission"
4. Page 6-35. "Don't let your vehicle creep forward." To avoid this keep your foot firmly on the brake. (creeping forward by the way is EXACTLY the same as riding the clutch in a manual transmission vehicle and creeping forward a bit putting the clutch in/out slightly for each creep. That's because that's exactly what is going on.

As I mentioned though, in D the thing should just shut the engine off and flip the electric motor to generator and brake with the electric motor. If you are in sport mode and truly in first gear, it's just going to engine brake keeping the ICE motor running and thus the ICE will spin up. It anticipates you are going to accelerate (it's sport mode after all) so keeps all the power on tap by holding the gear longer and keeping the motor running.

But that's all speculation since I don't know for sure what the scenario is.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-27-2018, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Hi thanks for the replies. I'm definitely NOT in EV. This is particularly noticeable in Hybrid mode when I have basically no juice in the battery.

It might not be exactly first gear, but low gears. I'm not talking about when in sport mode and manually shifting. Holding low speeds or accelerating to a low speed (<15mph) then letting go of the gas, there is a bit of engine spin/noise intertia.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-27-2018, 10:54 PM
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Hybrid mode includes EV only propulsion. EV only propulsion can happen while the engine is spinning, usually when the engine is cold so it will warm up. Thus it appears the engine is whirring disconnected from the wheels - because it is. As I said, a perfect fit for your description.

"No" juice in the battery - I suspect you are referring to a PHEV display showing range/battery capacity left in PHEV EV mode. If so, you are now operating in hybrid mode no matter where you have set your PHEV/hybrid mode preference. Then the above situation, very well known to Niro HEV owners, can occur.

2018 Kia LX HEV Metal Stream with Advanced Tech
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-28-2018, 04:20 PM
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I have a Niro PHEV and I agree with the last post. With juice in the battery for Pure EV there is a lot of torque available, In Hybrid mode ( depleted EV battery) the engine also needs to supply torque. An ICE has little torque at slow revs so it must get to high revs fast and that's what you are likely hearing.
If the EV mode is depleted at highway speeds you expect the engine to rev fast and that with road noise makes it seem uneventful. At low speeds it seems unexpected but we had a Prius V with CVT and got used to the whirr. The Niro PHEV does whirr less often but the 26 miles EV range is silent and is more than we need for a daily commute.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-28-2018, 05:46 PM
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That sounds like it could be the speaker with the engine sound (forget the official name) that comes on when you start up.It's to warn pedestrians. You might be hearing it because you're going so slow, engine/car noise covers it up at faster speed. It sounds more like a growl than an engine sound.

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