If a Niro is Unused for 5 Months a Year? - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-27-2018, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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If a Niro is Unused for 5 Months a Year?

It is time (probably past time) to replace the 1996 Ford Ranger I bought new. I am pretty sure I want a 2018 Niro.

My major question is whether a hybrid or plug-in hybrid is a wise choice if it will only be running it during summers. I took early retirement and we spend five months away from rainy Vancouver weather each year. Of course, that was never a problem for the old Ranger.

I suppose I could get someone to periodically come to plug in the PHEV version, or drive around a standardtype, during our time away. Still, it seems silly to buy something that need will need 'babysitting'.

Given that I plan to only drive the vehicle 7 months a year, what are your opinions on my ownership of a Niro? In your opinion, would I be better served with a new, decked-out ICE Soul instead?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-27-2018, 08:22 AM
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I agree it would be a hassle to have someone come in and drive the car while you're away. But apparently this would be needed, as the manual says (on p. H10): "If you park the vehicle for a long time, the hybrid system will discharge. You need to drive the vehicle several times per month to maintain a charge." I think "several times" is a bit vague -- once per week? Mine sometimes sits for 5-7 days without being driven, and it starts right up, no problem, so I'm not sure what "several times per month" translates to.

It's also worth noting that even gasoline can go bad after a few months, so the Niro may not be unusual in needing "babysitting."

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-28-2018, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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If run flat, I wonder if the battery life descrease a lot? The PHEV could at least be charged while stationary.

I dump a few bottles of conditioner in the gas before leaving the Ranger for months. The newer ethenol blends might only last a few months, but regular gas with additional "dry gas" will run okay well after a year.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-28-2018, 09:10 AM
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There's another thread on here where folks are talking about this issue. You may want to check it out. It's under "2017+ Kia Niro Tech Section - Electric Powertrain Discussion - Total Battery Drain if car isn't used?" Based on some of the posts, it sounds like the Niro manual may be overly cautious in recommending "several times" a month. Still, leaving it alone for 2 or more months at a time might be inviting trouble.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-28-2018, 02:01 PM
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I too am interested in this subject. I will not be using my Niro in the winter when the roads are covered in salt and gravel. I will be keeping my current car for 2-3 years to beat in the winter. And there are times when the Niro could be used in the winter but nothing close to once a week. Wonder if just starting it and let sit in the garage would help. That would be the regular Niro.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-28-2018, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisSylvesterHurd View Post
I suppose I could get someone to periodically come to plug in the PHEV version
Why not just leave it plugged in?

In the US, there is a 12 volt lithium battery under the rear seat separate from the 240 V main battery. Any drain from accessories will only drain that battery. If that 12 volt battery drains and your start button does not work, you can refill the 12 volt battery from the 240 volt battery with the push of a dashboard button just for that purpose. During regular use, the main battery maintains the charge in the 12 volt battery via a DC to DC inverter.

Lithium batteries typically last longest if the charge level is about 40 to 80 percent of capacity. And indeed the Niro strives mightily to keep the main battery (and presumably the 12 volt battery) within that range. So yes, if you routinely run the battery down to zero, it may not last as long (same with your cellphone battery). It won't fail catastrophically as might a lead acid battery that could drop a cell under full discharge and be less than 12 volts. Probably.

If it does fail, you still have your 100,000 mile warranty. Not using a car does not constitute abuse.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-29-2018, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
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Playing well with others ...

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Originally Posted by yticolev View Post
Why not just leave it plugged in?
That would be ideal. I live in a condo building though. Actually, a committee has been looking into having one area of our parking floors designated for plug-in guest and resident parking. However, already near the front of my parking space, there's a publicly-accessible, regular 120V plug (for vacuuming, etc). I'm pretty sure no one will think twice if I use it overnight as long as it is not EVERY night. I'm also pretty sure no one will hit me up for any money either. Yet, it wouldn't be possible for me to leave it plugged in for 5 months.

I'm glad there are big incentives by our power company to ensure condo 'strata' tower residents in British Columbia have the necessary infrastructure.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-29-2018, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by yticolev View Post
If it does fail, you still have your 100,000 mile warranty. Not using a car does not constitute abuse.
You're making me feel so much better. Just yesterday, I authorized a dealer at home to start the process of ensuring I have a PHEV ready for delivery after I get back to Canada in three months!

Last edited by DennisSylvesterHurd; 01-29-2018 at 02:37 AM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-29-2018, 10:20 AM
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I guess I should add that the software refilling the 12 volt battery does not do it when the car is off. That is why there is a refill button. So the charge in the main battery should remain intact. For a little bit more anecdotal information about lithium batteries, Apple recommends a phone that is not being used is charged to 50% every six months. However, those devices have a trickle charge to some chip so they can be turned on from the power button (which is software run, not a switch). I'm not an engineer, but I believe all systems are run from the 12 volt battery in the Niro and the 12 volt battery is completely isolated unless it is being charged. I could be wrong about that as something has to make the refill button on the dash work. But based on Apple recommendations, you may not be harming your battery by not charging it for three months.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-29-2018, 01:30 PM
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Here's my $0.02 on these things... with no first hand knowledge.

The manual is probably ultraconservative in many cases. For instance, I read last night that it has not to have anything plugged in to USB when you start the engine or it could damage the device.. Um, okay, I've done that probably 100 times in the three months I've owned the car without issue. That seems pretty unlikely. However, putting that in the manually does give them a nice CYA if anyone ever calls up saying the USB port broke their phone (when perhaps their phone just died of natural causes).

Secondly, it seems pretty likely the Niro/Niro PHEV would work similarly to any other hybrid/PHEV out there, and there's probably more experience with those. Ask in a Prius forum or something to see if people have had their vehicles for many years, including some of the old PHEV, and see if anyone has ever let it sit for months?

... just my best guess.
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