2019 Plug in LX - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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2019 Plug in LX

Greetings

Bought a 13 or so Elantra during that ridiculous cash for clunkers program where I got $4000 for a $200 Chevy. Not a bad car at all. Got me thinking about the company. Bought wife a '16 Soul a couple years ago. Cheap and she loves it.

Always been interested in EV's and hybrids. Daughter has a Leaf. I drive often too far for a pure EV so hybrid it is. The plug in is a bonus for local stuff..

Out the door for $28k and change. With $4500 tax credit, cheap for what it is.

I have a host of questions. The most burning is how to tell where regeneration braking turns to friction braking.

Looking forward to perusing the forum and the owner's manual.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 12:08 PM
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Above 30mph, you can watch the charging meter, and when you hit the brakes hard enough for the meter to drop to "max charging" (the lowest point on the meter), then if you brake any harder it will start adding friction braking. But it doesn't switch from one to the other, the friction brakes only supplement the regenerative braking when they're needed for additional stopping force.

Below 30mph, it gets less obvious because the meter will never hit "max charging" no matter how hard you hit the brakes. So what I do, is slowly add pressure to the brake pedal and watch the charging meter, and once I hit the point where applying more brake pressure isn't causing the meter to show any increase in charging, I keep the brake pedal where it's at.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 05:10 PM
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That's a good explanation, glocked. I've owned my Niro Phev for a few months now and still don't understand the charge meter when slowing down. I own a Pacifica PHEV, and the regen charge meter is very 1:1 with braking, and very accurate at all speeds. In other words, if I slow at 50mph or 25 mph, it will show a very realtime regen amount on the meter, and even the slightest changes to the brake pedal will be reflected in the regen meter immediately. However, with the Niro, it's like it's kind of lazy. Like it's just guessing. If I barely push the brake at 50mph, it'll jump down to max regen, but then if I do the exact same thing as I slow, it'll only go to, say 75%. If I push down on the brake harder, it doesn't regen any more than 75%. It doesn't correlate with changing brake pedal movements. I wonder if it's intentional to allow better traction by involving the rear brake pads more readily, or who knows. But I gotta say, it's a bit annoying when compared to my Pacifica.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 08:27 PM
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Physical brakes never kick in for me until the final couple feet of a full stop. But I usually am slowing down well ahead of a full stop and seldom stop briskly. Even a fairly brisk stop does not engage them. At highway speeds, never (outside of a panic incident). Regen provides a lot of deceleration, and at least in theory, the PHEV provides more.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent, great advice in watching the meter for it ceasing an increase with additional brake.

Does the brake light light ever with smart cruise regen slowing or just when it uses friction brakes? I wish they'd just give us a wee light when the friction brakes activate.

Also, has anyone figured out a good way to pre heat the car on charge to avoid IC engine starting purely for heat? My LX doesn't have eather an inverter or a hot 12v outlet.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 05:56 PM
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Excellent, great advice in watching the meter for it ceasing an increase with additional brake.

Does the brake light light ever with smart cruise regen slowing or just when it uses friction brakes? I wish they'd just give us a wee light when the friction brakes activate.

Also, has anyone figured out a good way to pre heat the car on charge to avoid IC engine starting purely for heat? My LX doesn't have eather an inverter or a hot 12v outlet.

Yes, the rear brake light does illuminate whenever the friction OR regen brakes are active, including when the car does it automatically during cruise control. Pretty sure it's legally required to light the brake lights any time the car is actively slowing itself down (whether it be through regen braking or friction braking, or automatically or manually).


Good question on the pre-heating... I never really thought about using a space heater to pre-heat the car, but that's an interesting idea. Curious what others here think. For power, you could install your own 12V "always on" outlet, someone here was talking about how to do that in another thread some time ago. Be aware that it uses the 12v lead-acid battery, though, which means a portable heater will drain it fairly quickly, and cause the car to automatically disconnect the battery to avoid it getting completely drained. I doubt you can connect a portable heater directly to the HEV battery, nor would I think the Kia warranty department would be keen on that idea.


Maybe run an extension cord out to your car, through a cracked window?

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Isn't there a provision for the traction battery to charge the lead acid?

Sorry if I'm a bit behind in reviewing the owner's manual.

As far as the brake lights during regen; there must be some threshold. My wife on the phone in a car behind me said they never came on as I forced a good bit of regen braking approaching a slower truck in smart cruise. YMMV
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 12:51 AM
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Isn't there a provision for the traction battery to charge the lead acid?

Sorry if I'm a bit behind in reviewing the owner's manual.

As far as the brake lights during regen; there must be some threshold. My wife on the phone in a car behind me said they never came on as I forced a good bit of regen braking approaching a slower truck in smart cruise. YMMV

Yes - there are (slightly different) mechanisms in the PHEV and the HEV for charging the 12V battery from the traction battery. But I don't think this is a good option for preheating the car. A few years ago, I was going to a pot-luck dinner and I looked into the idea of plugging a crockpot into an inverter plugged into my cigarette lighter so that I could keep my contribution warm on the way to the dinner. After all, the crockpot only draws about 150 watts (less than an old 3-way incandescent lightbulb), which is way less than an electric space heater (typically those run around 1500 watts). But the cigarette lighter was rated for a max of 10 amps at 12 volts: e.g. 120 watts, and that's before any parasitic losses from running the inverter to convert DC into AC. I've seen what can happen to a wiring harness if you overload the cigarette lighter circuit and you're unfortunate enough to not have a fuse blow: it isn't pretty, and it's very expensive.


As for the brake lights, this is a really interesting question that I've been wondering about too. If you've had someone following you and telling you via phone when your brake lights come on, my bet is that you know more about the Niro behavior in this regard than most anyone else here.

I recall reading about a lawsuit many years ago where someone was going up a hill, took their foot off the accelerator to slow down and avoid cross traffic, and the guy behind them plowed into their rear end and then sued because they slowed down without ever signaling. I don't recall who won the suit, almost think it was the guy who hit them. But whether he won or not, just the fact that you could even be sued over something like this is food for thought.

When driving a conventional car, we can slow down by taking our foot off of the accelerator and also by shifting into a lower gear and using engine braking. Neither one of those actions will turn on the brake lights. When driving a car with regenerative braking, what we're really doing is something very similar to engine braking, in that the electric motor which normally propels the car is being used to slow the car down by generating electricity to recharge the battery. Until the brake pads actually make contact with the rotors/drums, there might not be an actual legal requirement for the car to turn on the brake lights: at least, the manufacturer might not be required to make that happen, but we as drivers might be required to signal to traffic behind us, regardless (and any such requirement might vary from the laws of one state/country to another).

However, there is at least one electrical switch that is triggered by moving the brake pedal, and in most cars, that switch does at least two things, even at the lightest touch of the pedal: it turns on the brake light and it disengages the cruise control. In the Niro, I believe that there is a second switch/mechanism that first switches on regenerative braking and then eventually engages the hydraulic brakes if you push the pedal far enough, hard enough. So I'd be very surprised if putting my foot lightly on the brake pedal was not turning on the brake lights at the same time that it was disengaging cruise control and engaging regen braking.

But when driving with smart cruise control where the car is actively slowing down by engaging regenerative braking, I've often wondered if the brake lights come on or not.. Perhaps they aren't legally required to from the manufacturer's perspective, because it's technically just "engine braking".

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 10:15 PM
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Not sure if there are legal requirements yet for regen to light up brake lights, but for Ioniqs/Niros with regen paddles, you definitely don't get brake lights on the first level of regen. Nor does my Niro HEV (no paddles) light up brakes when I take my foot off the accelerator. I don't think it does with light "braking" either, but I'm not positive. I would like to know, but I've not had anyone follow me yet or jury rig a mirror on my back window yet.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 10:37 PM
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Update to my prior post: This evening I noticed that when driving after dark, the brake light casts a dim red glow on the rear wiper arm that is visible in the rear view mirror (at least,it's visible if you don't have someone tailgating with their high beams on). But! This idea is kind of in the "don't try this at home" category. Driving around in the dark and looking at your rear view mirror when you have a legitimate reason to slow down because of something in front of you isn't exactly the safest/smartest thing to be doing. With that said, what I observed during a very brief drive this evening is that the Niro's brake light behavior seems to be exactly like I would hope and consistent with my experience in conventionally powered cars.


Coasting down hill with my foot off the pedals, I observed a mild charge indication on the dashboard and a sensation of gradual slowing, consistent with engine braking in a conventional car, and as I would have hoped/expected/anticipated, there was no brake light.


But with a light tap on the brakes, there was both a mild charge indication on the dash and a brake light glow visible in the rear view mirror.


With Smart Cruise Control enabled and actively decelerating more quickly than would happen with just coasting (because the car in front of me was slowing down) the brake lights came on and were visible in the rear view.


These observations reflect about 10 minutes of driving under a very narrow range of conditions. If you observe something that contradicts the idea that the Niro brake lights behave like a comparable but conventional ICE powered car, I think many forum readers would be interested to hear about that.

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