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Discussion Starter #1
Well, at least it is Saturday and my car is in the driveway. I had several issues happen.

1. Warning message displayed when it went thru the startup sequence: Check Regenerative Braking System. Car is fully charged. I tried a few times and each time it displayed the message and would not drive at all. I opened the front windows due to the heat (S. Fl). I went in the house to check the internet and had no hits on that message. Nor was the message mentioned in the owner's manual.

2. Tried again and this time, it did not go thru the startup check and instead displayed that the key was not found. The fob was in my pocket. None of the buttons did anything. The other fob was with my wife somewhere.

3. Called Kia Roadside Assistance to tow the car to a local dealer. I am waiting for him to arrive (given 90 minutes). I tried again. This time when I stepped on the brake, it vibrated. Nothing on the display. Nothing when I pressed the start button.

4. Wife arrived and I tried her fob. This time, the brake did not vibrate and the car just seems completely dead. The windows are still down and no way to get them up.

Looks like I will have to work from home Monday and hopefully they will be able to fix the problem quickly. This is the first issue with the Niro since I got it about 5 months ago.
 

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Maybe. The HEV does not have a 12 volt battery, I do not know if the PHEV does or if its integrated like the HEV.
The HEV has a lithium 12 volt battery, the PHEV and EV have a lead acid 12 volt battery. The HEV battery is not integrated into the traction battery, but it is attached on the side of it under the rear seat. Can be unbolted and replaced.
 

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The HEV has a lithium 12 volt battery, the PHEV and EV have a lead acid 12 volt battery. The HEV battery is not integrated into the traction battery, but it is attached on the side of it under the rear seat. Can be unbolted and replaced.
I've had the rear seat out several times and I've yet to find a 12v battery that can be removed on the HEV. Unless it's under the car.
 

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If the problem is indeed the 12V Li battery, at least it's covered under the KIA warranty still. OBTW, don't try to find it at your local Batteries Plus store.
 

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The OP has a PHEV, whose lead acid battery can indeed be found at Batteries Plus! It may be covered under the Kia warranty if the Kia has a fault that caused a failure. It may also be covered by the battery manufacturer as typically batteries are not covered by the car manufacturer. Kind of like a bulb going out, it is a maintenance item. The traction battery is specifically covered of course, as is the lithium 12 volt battery in the HEV.
 

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Regardless of model, if the 12 V battery is actually defective (won't take/hold a charge), then I believe that there is a 36 month warranty that applies.


With a conventional car, one really simple way to diagnose problems with the 12V battery used to be to turn on the headlights:if they were dim or didn't come on, then you could be pretty sure that there was either a bad connection at the battery terminal or the battery was discharged. On the Niro though, it seems that the headlights might not come on if the car isn't logically "On", and if the battery is low (or there is some other malfunction in the computer), then it might not be possible to turn the car logically on. So I probably need to figure out (for my own awareness), which systems I can turn when the car is logically off. For example, maybe the daytime headlights will come on when the car is off. Or failing that, I'm aware that the radio will come on when the car is in the accessory-on state.


With the Niro, the high voltage battery starts the ICE, but even if the high voltage battery has sufficient charge to do that, if the 12 V battery lacks sufficient charge to power up the computer and the necessary relays, then my understanding is that the car won't start. In this situation, it seems like a conventional boost from another car and jumper cables should be sufficient to correct the problem, but I don't have first hand experience with this on the Niro and I might be mistaken.


With the HEV, owners have the option of hitting a button the dashboard to transfer some charge from the high voltage battery to the 12 V battery. Whith the PHEV, that transfer of charge happens automatically by default, unless the owner has disabled it via software configuration. The "switch" that controls this is a software choice configured on the dashboard/steering wheel switch, rather than a physical switch on the dashboard.


Finally, it seems like some Niro owners might someday be confronted with the opposite problem: the 12V battery is fine, but the high voltage/traction battery is depleted. In this situation, my expectation is that the computer would work, but the ICE wouldn't start. In the case of a PHEV, if the 12V battery has enough charge, then it seems like it should be possible to recharge the high voltage system by plugging in the car. I believe it requires the 12 V system to close the relays that allow the high voltage battery to receive a charge.
 

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The reset button does not recharge the 12 volt battery directly, it merely opens a relay to power up the 12 volt system. Manual says to run car for at least 30 minutes after such a reset to ensure the 12 volt battery is fully recharged.
 

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The reset button does not recharge the 12 volt battery directly, it merely opens a relay to power up the 12 volt system. Manual says to run car for at least 30 minutes after such a reset to ensure the 12 volt battery is fully recharged.
Hey can you educate me then? I always thought using that re-set button just puts a little charge into the 12v. battery enough for it to power up the computers and start the car. Is that not true? Does using the reset button do something different for the HV battery to provide 12v. to the computers? If that's the case why have the 12v. battery at all? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The Roadside Assistance truck arrived Saturday within about an hour and towed it to the dealer.

The Niro has been in the shop being worked on since yesterday (Monday). The service manager has called several times. They are a bit confused. He said the car was completely dead when they first tried to start it. They jumped the battery and brought it back to life. The battery checked out OK and did not need to be charged.

He asked if I charged the car every night and I said yes.

I don't need the car for a few days and he wanted to keep it overnight to continue investigating and see if it failed again the next day (today). It did not fail. He is opening a ticket or something with Kia on this unusual problem.

I'm glad I did not try a jump start on my own so they could see the issue first-hand.
 

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There are two batteries and either you, or your service manager, is being somewhat confusing when you report: "They jumped the battery and brought it back to life. The battery checked out OK and did not need to be charged." I assume you mean that they jumped the 12V battery and the high voltage battery did not need to be charged.



The owner's manual indicates that you can deplete the 12V battery by leaving certain lights on (rear hatch light, vanity light over visors). There may be other ways as well - I think that even when the car is off, if I walk near it with my key fob or my paired cell phone in my pocket, something wakes up and starts drawing more electrical power.



You might also just have a defective 12V battery.


Or maybe you had the software configuration set to not automatically recharge the 12V system? Or maybe the "Battery Saver Plus" logic that's supposed to kick in and preserve charge in the 12V battery is enabled but not working for some reason such as a faulty relay? Do you ever see the alert immediately after powering up the car that tells you that the battery saver system ran while the car was off? (I see that about every other day).
 

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Have you found what the problem was? I had a failure yesterday to start. Pop up screen flashed on start up saying something about the backup battery, but vehicle frozen. No phone help or ideas from dealer. Tried leaving it for half an hour and it started. Maintenance light on for two trips then off. I think there are software glitches. Very unhappy with Lev Kia service having zero knowledge or advise other than I have to bring it in and have it scanned. There are no dealers authorized to work on plug ins close to me. They have declined to go electric so far. This is northeast Massachusetts, have yet to have a nice experience with any Kia service departments, just seem like the don't know the vehicles at all.
 

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PHEV or HEV? But yes, you need service. Any auto parts store will scan for free, but it won't be the same depth of info that the dealer can do.
 

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Have you found what the problem was? I had a failure yesterday to start. Pop up screen flashed on start up saying something about the backup battery, but vehicle frozen. No phone help or ideas from dealer. Tried leaving it for half an hour and it started. Maintenance light on for two trips then off. I think there are software glitches. Very unhappy with Lev Kia service having zero knowledge or advise other than I have to bring it in and have it scanned. There are no dealers authorized to work on plug ins close to me. They have declined to go electric so far. This is northeast Massachusetts, have yet to have a nice experience with any Kia service departments, just seem like the don't know the vehicles at all.

Let me guess: did you by chance, call your nearest dealer and tell them you had a Niro plug-in hybrid before they told you they couldn't work on it? That was my mistake when I called my nearest dealer asking for an oil change. They told me that they weren't allowed to work on that car, but they were. It turned out that my nearest dealer has three mechanics that have been trained to work on the Niro HEV and PHEV. Unfortunately, they didn't think to train the people that answer the phone in the service garage and when I said "plug in" they assumed that I had the new EV, which they haven't trained any of their mechanics on yet (it's not even being sold around here so far as I'm aware). It was only after I explained to the guy on the phone that a PHEV was a hybrid, not an EV, that he agreed to make an appointment. Fortunately, the service writer than I met when I brought the car in was much better informed than the one who answered the phone.



I doubt that any dealer would want to give you advice over the phone about this sort of problem without having first seen the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
There are two batteries and either you, or your service manager, is being somewhat confusing when you report: "They jumped the battery and brought it back to life. The battery checked out OK and did not need to be charged." I assume you mean that they jumped the 12V battery and the high voltage battery did not need to be charged.
When I said the battery was jumped, I meant the 12V battery. Though if the battery was good and did not need a charge, how would jumping it provide any more voltage than was already being supplied? The car has continued to work without problems.

The owner's manual indicates that you can deplete the 12V battery by leaving certain lights on (rear hatch light, vanity light over visors). There may be other ways as well - I think that even when the car is off, if I walk near it with my key fob or my paired cell phone in my pocket, something wakes up and starts drawing more electrical power.
What if I never shut down the engine when leavint the car? Would that deplete the battery overnight? I'd tend to doubt it. I do know there is a warning beeping it that happens.

Or maybe you had the software configuration set to not automatically recharge the 12V system? Or maybe the "Battery Saver Plus" logic that's supposed to kick in and preserve charge in the 12V battery is enabled but not working for some reason such as a faulty relay? Do you ever see the alert immediately after powering up the car that tells you that the battery saver system ran while the car was off? (I see that about every other day).
The Aux Battery Saver is enabled. I have never noticed any message about it kicking on.

Thanks,
Gary
 

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What if I never shut down the engine when leavint the car? Would that deplete the battery overnight? I'd tend to doubt it. I do know there is a warning beeping it that happens.
Intriguing question. Do you think you might have done that?


I don't know the answer. I do know that if I sit in the car with it "On" but in EV mode, and I'm playing the radio for a while, eventually the ICE will start for a few minutes to run the charging system. If you get out of the car with it "On", as you mentioned, it will yell at you for a few seconds after you close the door by putting out a high pitched, extended, tone. I've only ever left it in that state long enough to open my mailbox and retrieve my mail, and it quickly trained me out of doing even that. So I'm wondering what happens if you get out with it on and close the door and go to bed for the night. Maybe you left the fan running on low, or something similar, but even if you didn't, just running the computer and dashboard display is going to impose some electrical drain and eventually it's going to get to the point where it would start the ICE if you were still sitting in the car. Except that there is some logic that wants to prevent the car from starting if the key fob isn't inside the car. So the question in my mind is: what happens if it's electrically On, and the ICE needs to start to charge the battery, but the key fob isn't present? Does it start the ICE or not?


We know that people with UVO can cause the ICE to start even when there is no key fob present, by dialing in a climate setting for cabin heat. But they also have to check a box indicating that the car is in a safe place for the ICE to start (not a closed garage). If the folks who wrote the software gave this any thought, they might have elected to not let the ICE start if there's no key fob in the cabin and no human response indicating that the car is not in a closed garage and it's safe to start the ICE.



In that scenario, it's easy to imagine what would happen over time. The computer and instrument lights (if nothing else like a fan or radio or heated/cooled seats) would continue to deplete the 12V battery, the battery saver logic would run a few times to restore the 12V battery, and then limit out after a certain number of attempts to save the 12 V battery. The 12V battery would get low after that, and then at some point, the computer would have to shut down. If everything works according to the documentation, at that point you would only be able to start the car by hooking up a 12V charger or booster cables (because the battery saver logic would have preserved charge in the high voltage battery and sacrificed the 12 V battery instead).



Whether it really works this way in practice, I dunno. Maybe someone will want to test and see.



The Aux Battery Saver is enabled. I have never noticed any message about it kicking on.

Thanks,
Gary
It's easy to miss the message indicating that the PHEV battery saver ran while the car was off. It only presents itself at the end of the standard system check when starting the car. It has a visual signal (a popup that displays on the instrument cluster for about 2 seconds) and a "double ding" sound that plays immediately at the end of the standard system check jingle. I'm usually in reverse and looking out the back window at that point, but the double ding sound is unique to this notification, so I know if it ran regardless of whether I'm looking at the dashboard or not.



When I first got my Niro, I'd get that notification about twice a week. Then I started getting it about three times a week. Now I'm getting it almost every day. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm wondering if my cell phone's blue tooth connection might be triggering an electrical load in the car every time the phone is in range (which is often - my office is located over the garage where the car is parked, and I'm pretty sure that the signal carries that far, and I spend a lot of time in my office because I work from home).



I'm shutting off the blue tooth on the cell phone for a few days to see if it makes a difference. Curious to hear from other PHEV owners about how often they might be seeing the battery saver plus notifications (I don't think HEV owners get this signal, because the HEV has a physical switch rather than a software preference setting to accomplish the same thing).
 
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