Question about 1 year old PHEV - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Question about 1 year old PHEV

Hello! I have been researching the Niro PHEV for the last several months, and hope to purchase one soon. A local dealership has a new 2019 PHEV EX Premium at a low price (currently lower than other nearby dealerships are selling the EX), but looking at the history, they have had it on their lot for almost a year now. I have gone in to test drive it twice, and both times the battery was discharged. Should I be concerned about the battery sitting for long periods of time with little to no charge in it?
Thanks in advance for any input!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 01:05 AM
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Interesting as I am considering a similar car in the Seattle area and have wondered the same things. How come the car hasn't sold for 9 months and will sitting on the lot without being driven or charged that long result in more a shorter battery life than a car that has been on the lot for two months?

What is the sticker, price and their sale price?
How many miles and what is the date of manufacture (can find this on the sticker inside the driver's side door.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 07:32 AM
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The Niro is not a high demand car that gets lots of advertising, so I can understand why it is a slow moving (selling) car. When I went out to try and find a new car, I was looking for a Hybrid and found it hard to find dealerships short of Toyota that would even tell me about what they had to offer. It was chance that I stuck my head into a Kia dealership as I knew about an Optima hybrid model as I had seen one in a used car dealership. The sales person tried their hardest to convince me that I should buy a gasoline car, and it was when I was about to walk out he relented and said they do have a hybrid called the Niro.


This version you are talking about is the PlugIn, and if you want to call it a fault with the design, there is the issue that all vehicles have an amount of vampire electric load that will eat away the battery load. In a regular gas car there is a big enough battery that it will go for months before it will eat away enough of the charge that the engine will not start. But the Niro Phev has such a small 12v battery and such a large vampire load that the batery gets eaten away quite quickly. If you drive your car all the time then you'd never know it. Leave it parked in an airport long term parkinglot for 3 weeks as you go for an extended european vacation and you will find your car dead. Or at least the 12v battery will be. The way Kia trys to protect you is it will steal charge from the traction battery to recharge the small 12v and so over a longer period of time the traction battery will also loose any charge it has.


This is likely what you are seeing at your dealership. A PHEV car that does't get driven very often as it isn't promoted so doesn't get many test drives, who's battery is always low just because the design put in too small of a 12v battery. You can tell just by looking at the milage on the car. if it's been in the dealership for a year and it has less than 2000 miles on it then it likely has hardly been driven at all. You are asking if it is damaging for the battery. Over the life of the battery, it likely will make very little to no difference at all.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 08:17 AM
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My question is, which battery was discharged? The HV traction battery or the 12v auxiliary battery? As Roadkill mentioned, the 12v battery is quite small, and could easily become discharged from lack of use. That would be something you could ask the dealer to replace if you are concerned about it.

The traction battery is designed to deep discharge, so it wouldn't concern me that they hadn't kept it charged. I found when I was shopping that few dealerships kept their PHEV cars charged, which was disappointing when I went to test drive them. Have them fully charge it (takes a bit over 2 hours with a 220v/16a EVSE), then see if you get the 24 expected miles on EV. That would be a test drive of under an hour, and the dealer should be willing to let you go for that long. If the battery is damaged from sitting with no charge, you probably won't get the rated miles. I have reached 34 miles with mine with the A/C running.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 08:24 AM
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If the battery was damaged from sitting (many cars take over a year from manufacture to a sale), then it is covered by warranty. Obviously one would like full capacity from date of sale, but given the warranty and a great? price...
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Dovidan, the MSRP for this Niro is 35,975, with their sale/sticker price is listed at 32,477. The first time I test drove it (a couple months ago now) the mileage was under 200. I'll check the date of manufacture next time I go in, thanks for the tip.
atc98092 and Roadkill401, sorry I didn't specify, the HV traction battery was discharged both times. From what I could tell, the 12V auxiliary battery was just fine. The engine had no trouble turning on, but I never got to drive it in EV mode, just hybrid mode. I went into a different dealership later on to test drive a PHEV LX trim, and after my experience with the first dealer asked them to have it fully charged ahead of time. Thank you for the detailed explanation on how both battery systems operate together, that's really helpful.
This dealer was also reluctant to have me test drive the Niro. They really wanted me to either buy a standard hybrid, or one of the used EVs they had in stock. The salesman I first talked to wasn't even aware of the federal rebate for buying a PHEV...
From everybody's advice, it seems like the battery should be just fine. I think I'll go to the dealer again, asking them to charge up the battery fully to do one more test drive. If all looks good, I'll pull the trigger.
Thanks again for all the help and advice!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 12:32 PM
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I had the same battery experience with the car I referred to. Sound like you have a good plan.

The price quoted is about 10% off MSRP which is a pretty good price. Here in the Seattle area a few dealers showed PHEV online prices for 9% off during the month of Aug. Now, in Sept one is showing 10% off. If you want the absolute best deal and don't mind haggling you might be able to get another 1-2% off. Love to hear how the dealing goes and your initial impressions after driving the car for a week or two.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 09:05 PM
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Wow!! you guys are lucky to have some % off the MSRP on PHEV in the US. Up here, it's MSRP and 0%.. LOL Why??, all the delivery's to Canada are still "order/cash down" related and are already sold... Kia Canada has the leverage on theirs customers.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 10:47 PM
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It is regrettably common that Kia dealers don't charge the battery of the PHEVs that they have for sale.


The PHEV tries to maintain the traction battery at a minimum of about 18% - 20% charge, which equates to zero miles of EV mode range. It can drop below 20% in normal use, or from sitting unused for an extended period. If it gets down close to zero percent, contemporary wisdom about rechargeable batteries in general suggests that this is bad for the battery's lifespan.



If it had been sitting in southern California summer heat for a year and fully discharged, I'd be leery. If it was in a cooler clime and at least 5% charged, I'd be less concerned.


There is an "app" that you can access via the console that will show the state of charge of the traction battery. You might want to look at that the next time you visit the car, before you've driven it and given the ICE or regenerative braking a chance to bring up the level of charge.



If it's currently around 20% charge, then if you take it out for a test drive on the highway for 15 minutes or so, you should then be able to pull into a parking lot, come to a complete stop, see the "EV" light come on on the dashboard and hear the ICE shut down, and then toodle around at low speed in the parking lot without causing the ICE to come on. It helps to have the AC and fan off for this kind of test.


I don't like to beat up on car dealers more than necessary, but I also don't like to be taken advantage of by them either. The price that you mentioned strikes me as one that is only "fair" for a PHEV EX Premium that is recently landed on a lot. If it had been sitting there for almost a year, I'd be wanting to get the price down somewhat more. On the other hand, chances are that this dealer came to have this car on their lot for so long because they have been unwilling to negotiate. You might actually find that you can get a better price from a nearby dealer who is more adept at negotiating.



Hope it helps. I still very much like my 2018 PHEV and I'm glad I purchased it.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Today, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by lafe005 View Post
Wow!! you guys are lucky to have some % off the MSRP on PHEV in the US. Up here, it's MSRP and 0%.. LOL Why??, all the delivery's to Canada are still "order/cash down" related and are already sold... Kia Canada has the leverage on theirs customers.
When I was shopping in Feb, there were dealer markups of $500-1000 at most dealers.
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