evaluating for purchase - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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evaluating for purchase

hi all,

ive been raking through the forums here to help me decide if i'm getting a niro or something else. lots of great info -- and that community is a big factor in buying a car.

so i've found on my two test drives, that the salesperson knew almost nothing about the PHEV niro, including simple charging and transmission gear facts.

i have two questions which might only come from living with the car.

1. i tried to get a Niro with a half-full battery into ev mode when test driving. just did not work. salesperson had no idea, except to say what i think it said on the dash -- it needed to be charged more. is that true?

2. if i can't charge it for a week (out of town use, etc), how well does it work as just a regular hybrid? the sales person tells me it only charges the battery when braking and if in low gear (?). but if anyone has some mpg numbers for extended non-plug in periods, please let me know.

thanks all!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jnight310 View Post
hi all,

ive been raking through the forums here to help me decide if i'm getting a niro or something else. lots of great info -- and that community is a big factor in buying a car.

so i've found on my two test drives, that the salesperson knew almost nothing about the PHEV niro, including simple charging and transmission gear facts.

i have two questions which might only come from living with the car.

1. i tried to get a Niro with a half-full battery into ev mode when test driving. just did not work. salesperson had no idea, except to say what i think it said on the dash -- it needed to be charged more. is that true?

2. if i can't charge it for a week (out of town use, etc), how well does it work as just a regular hybrid? the sales person tells me it only charges the battery when braking and if in low gear (?). but if anyone has some mpg numbers for extended non-plug in periods, please let me know.

thanks all!
1) if the battery shows any EV capacity, the car will default to EV mode. Even if the EV range is only 1 mile, it will still default to EV mode. Only when the EV range is 0 will it revert to HEV mode. This requires no user input, it's all automatic (though, you can override it).

You probably pressed the gas pedal too hard on your test drive, and/or the cabin heater was on.

The car has a lot of combined gas/electric power, but in order to use all of it (such as during full-throttle), both the gas and electric motors need to run simultaneously. Therefore, even in EV mode, when you mash the gas pedal, the car assumes you want MAX power, and so it gives it to you - by activating the gas engine.

Also, the gas engine runs when the engine is cold and you have the cabin heater turned on. This is because the cabin heater uses engine coolant heat, and if the engine is cold, it needs to warm it up so you get hot air.

2) it works fine as a regular hybrid. I often go a week or two without charging. No big deal. If you don't plug it in, then it works exactly like a regular hybrid. You literally never need to plug it in, if you don't want to. The car charges the HEV battery just fine by itself. This is completely not a concern whatsoever.

The PHEV is exactly the same thing as the HEV, but with a bigger battery and a power jack. Whether or not you use the bigger battery and power jack is optional. It works exactly the same as a regular hybrid if you never plug it in.

2018 PHEV

Last edited by cockedandglocked; 11-08-2018 at 12:28 AM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 08:20 AM
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You can see the mpg hit from the EPA ratings of the hybrid versus the PHEV. Most actual users will plug in at least sometimes, so their results are irrelevant to just operating in hybrid mode.

If you will not be able to plug in regularly, this is not the car for you. The lighter hybrid will be more enjoyable to drive and presumably suffer less wear. More storage in the rear too, including the capability for a spare tire.

Salesman is wrong about charging. Anytime the engine is running, the car is being charged at a low rate. That is how this hybrid works in hybrid mode. You can force it to charge fully by running in Sport Mode (which results in engine running much of time), but that doesn't make economic sense to burn gasoline to fill the large PHEV battery.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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perfect, thanks for the info.
i've taken a bunch of test drives lately and every time sales person cranks the AC on full throttle (LA area). this must be the cause of the non-ev mode.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-08-2018, 11:47 PM
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perfect, thanks for the info.
i've taken a bunch of test drives lately and every time sales person cranks the AC on full throttle (LA area). this must be the cause of the non-ev mode.
AC will not make the engine start. The other posts/answers were regarding heat. The AC is straight up electric so that won't start the engine. In your question you state "i tried to get a Niro with a half-full battery into ev mode when test driving. just did not work." That confuses me. 'tried to get...' ??? It's a button by the shift lever. Are you saying you pressed that button to put it in EV mode and it didn't work? Pretty certain EV mode is the default upon 'starting' the car. Or are you saying you had it in EV mode and the gas engine kept running?


More precisely on the AC issue. Sure it might cause the engine to start but for a very different reason than the engine starts for the heater. The engine MUST start for the heater in order to generate heat. But you are saying putting the AC on kicks in the engine. That's not a necessity but rather caused by excessive power requirements. i.e. if you are driving down the freeway at 70 and turn the AC on, the additoinal electric power requirements might tip it over the edge due to not enough HP. The electric motor in the PHEV is 60 HP. It is not powerful enough to accelerate quickly or drive at high speed all by itself. Max speed is 72 MPH if I remember correctly. As mentioned hard acceleration will turn on the engine and so will steep hills...just not enough oomph. But it sounds to me like you are just at the high end of the electric systems range of capability then cranking the AC puts it over the threshold where the car needs some more power from the engine.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 09:10 AM
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AC will not make the engine start. The other posts/answers were regarding heat. The AC is straight up electric so that won't start the engine. In your question you state "i tried to get a Niro with a half-full battery into ev mode when test driving. just did not work." That confuses me. 'tried to get...' ??? It's a button by the shift lever. Are you saying you pressed that button to put it in EV mode and it didn't work? Pretty certain EV mode is the default upon 'starting' the car. Or are you saying you had it in EV mode and the gas engine kept running?


More precisely on the AC issue. Sure it might cause the engine to start but for a very different reason than the engine starts for the heater. The engine MUST start for the heater in order to generate heat. But you are saying putting the AC on kicks in the engine. That's not a necessity but rather caused by excessive power requirements. i.e. if you are driving down the freeway at 70 and turn the AC on, the additoinal electric power requirements might tip it over the edge due to not enough HP. The electric motor in the PHEV is 60 HP. It is not powerful enough to accelerate quickly or drive at high speed all by itself. Max speed is 72 MPH if I remember correctly. As mentioned hard acceleration will turn on the engine and so will steep hills...just not enough oomph. But it sounds to me like you are just at the high end of the electric systems range of capability then cranking the AC puts it over the threshold where the car needs some more power from the engine.
FWIW My PHEV will do 85mph+ with AC in EV mode.

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