PHEV dead: Key not detected - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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PHEV dead: Key not detected

My wife went to drive our 2018 PHEV Niro and when she pushed the power button the display said "key not detected" Then everything went dead. I got out the spare key fob and no response, the car was still dead. I then jump started it, drove it around a little and everything seems to work fine now so far. Could leaving the key in the car when not in use drain the battery?? We live in a rural area so we think it remote for anyone to jack our car if we left the keys in it unlocked.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 08:08 AM
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One possibility is you forgot to turn the car off when you parked. Normally this would cause an alarm if you attempted to walk away with the fob in your pocket. Leaving the fob in the car would not trigger this car still on alarm.

Mind you, unless you had an unusual battery drain, I don’t think even leaving your car on overnight would have caused this problem.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 10:23 AM
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Yes, leaving the fob within range of a keyless system will cause the system to remain on a higher power level, so certainly possible to drain the 12v battery enough to cause this. I'd say the fob needs to be at least 6 feet away from the car. Notice how far away you can be for the mirrors to auto-unfold as you approach the car. You need to be outside that range.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 11:02 AM
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Doesn't the PHEV have that button to recharge the 12v. battery like the HEV does? That eliminated the need for a jump? Right?

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by FlNiro View Post
Doesn't the PHEV have that button to recharge the 12v. battery like the HEV does? That eliminated the need for a jump? Right?
Nope, the PHEV doesn't have that feature. It does have an auto aux battery saver that when enabled should in theory automatically recharge the dinky 12V battery from the traction battery. I've seen that in mine perhaps twice since I've owned the car. There is a limit to how many times the car will recharge the 12V battery before giving up to save the traction pack from being discharged too far so if there is a large drain you can still end up with a dead battery.

Not sure if the OP didn't have that feature enabled or if there was another problem that caused the battery to run down.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by jmurphEV View Post
Nope, the PHEV doesn't have that feature. It does have an auto aux battery saver that when enabled should in theory automatically recharge the dinky 12V battery from the traction battery. I've seen that in mine perhaps twice since I've owned the car. There is a limit to how many times the car will recharge the 12V battery before giving up to save the traction pack from being discharged too far so if there is a large drain you can still end up with a dead battery.

Not sure if the OP didn't have that feature enabled or if there was another problem that caused the battery to run down.

I see, Thanks for the info! Wonder why they did that on the PHEV?

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by FlNiro View Post
I see, Thanks for the info! Wonder why they did that on the PHEV?
Good question. It could be as simple as the fact that the PHEV battery is much larger than the HEV version and that necessitated a separate 12V aux battery and that in turn made it incompatible with the battery management system from the HEV. Note also that the PHEV (at least in the US) has a (tiny) conventional 12V lead acid battery. On the plus side, the fact that the PHEV can automatically recharge the aux battery is pretty cool and seems like an upgrade over the button on the dash method in the HEV. However, there have been a number of posts on this forum complaining about dead aux batteries in PHEVs. It seems like it's very easy to end up in a situation where the car is drawing significant power from the aux battery and the battery saver can't keep up resulting in a dead battery. In the end I suspect the aux battery is undersized and has little margin if the current draw is higher than expected.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 05:43 PM
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There is something technical about why the 240 volt HEV has a lithium 12 volt battery and the 360 volt PHEV/BEV has a 12 volt lead acid battery that has not been revealed yet in all my reading about these cars. About the only thing I can conjecture at the moment is the more expensive lithium battery in the HEV makes sense in terms of weight savings that would make less of a difference in the heavier PHEV/BEV.

The PHEV lead acid battery issues are a real eye opener for anyone considering buying one. Type of battery chemistry aside, I see no reason why the battery "reset" button (really just opens a tripped excessive current relay) would not work on the PHEV. For anyone who has had an issue with the PHEV, I might suggest disabling the battery saver option. Having it on results in a much higher vampire current paradoxically (presumptively from running an additional computer to monitor battery status) - which seems like it must be a bug or bad hardware.

The BEVs haven't been around long enough, even in Europe, to know if they suffer from the same issue.

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by yticolev View Post
For anyone who has had an issue with the PHEV, I might suggest disabling the battery saver option. Having it on results in a much higher vampire current paradoxically (presumptively from running an additional computer to monitor battery status) - which seems like it must be a bug or bad hardware.
I've had the battery saver enabled since I bought the car and over a year and a half it's activated maybe a couple of times, mostly when the car has sat for several days. I've never had an issue with the battery going dead.

My suspicion is that people having problems are either harder on the battery through connected devices, sitting in accessory mode for extended periods of time or leaving the fob in the car. The other possibility is, as you say, that there could be a hardware problem that results in excessive drain. Time will tell presumably.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 08:08 PM
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There certainly is an issue with the PHEV. The HEV has had no such reported problems, and indeed, the PHEV has higher vampire drain with battery saver enabled. If you are going to park it for more than a couple days, you are far better disabling it. More than a couple of weeks, be prepared to jump it either way. Some owners carry a jump start portable battery with the car.
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