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We are planning on buying a 2020 Niro PHEV that my wife will be using mostly for her 15km commute to work during the week, and then various longer trips on weekends.

That said, my wife isn’t the most technologically inclined person, so I have a question about monitoring driving modes. Can she just push an EV button and drive in electric, and the car will switch to ICE if there is no more battery, or will she have to monitor battery and manually switch to hybrid if the battery gets low?

Thanks in advance.
 

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The car is completely automated in the way you are asking about. She will have to do nothing other than make sure the car is full of gas and if she wants to take advantage of the electric portion just plug it in to charge it up. This car handles everything itself, it will pick the most economical/practical way to propel the car and do all the calculations and switching itself. It really does require no driver input other than making sure it has gas in it and if you want to take advantage of the electric drive make sure it is charged up. The PHEV will run on gas only if she runs out of electric charge and she will never know the car switched over. A wonderfully engineered vehicle! Incidentally fully charged with a full tank of gas our 2019 NIRO PHEV shows a 545 mile range before we would run out of gas.
 

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How this works in a real world example - we took a 150 mile trip in our PHEV this weekend. It had a full tank of gas and a full electric charge. I pushed the start button and began our trip the car ran on electric for 31 miles and switched over to gas for the rest of the trip. I had to do nothing other than drive the vehicle the car did all the rest. On getting home I plugged it back in and the electric battery charged and the car is ready to run on electric for its first 30+ miles. If my trip was less than 30 miles the car would have run on all electric for the full trip.

You tube has some good vehicles on how plug in hybrids work.

Additional post as this site has problems with allowing edits on post
 

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The PHEV does have methods to control when to use EV and when to retain charge. But as mentioned above it's completely optional. I took a 250 mile trip yesterday over mountains. I held charge (using Sport Mode) as soon as I hit the freeway, so when we reached our destination we motored around town completely in EV mode. I was down to about 8 miles when we headed for home, and again switched to Sport mode which not only maintains the battery charge, it adds a small amount. When I was about 13 miles from home I switched back to EV mode, and had about 5 miles remaining when I parked in the garage and plugged it in. Is it necessary to do this? Not at all. I just wanted to have EV at both ends of the trip so have a more enjoyable drive once off the freeway. The point is that the car gives you the flexibility to do something like this.
 

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Hands on management boils down to this:

1. Charge at every possible convenient time if you are not paying a meter.
2. Keep it in EV mode in city driving, and HEV mode on highways.
3. Try to arrive at a charging destination (usually home) with no EV miles remaining.

You don't have to do any of this, but this is how to get best efficiency out of a PHEV. If that is too much trouble, you are better off getting a plain HEV. Less weight, wear and tear on engine and components, and better overall mpg that using the PHEV only in HEV mode.
 

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Hands on management boils down to this:

1. Charge at every possible convenient time if you are not paying a meter.
2. Keep it in EV mode in city driving, and HEV mode on highways.
3. Try to arrive at a charging destination (usually home) with no EV miles remaining.

You don't have to do any of this, but this is how to get best efficiency out of a PHEV. If that is too much trouble, you are better off getting a plain HEV. Less weight, wear and tear on engine and components, and better overall mpg that using the PHEV only in HEV mode.
Other than point 1 I don't do any of that in my PHEV. I've tried maximizing efficiency manually but in my experience the car does a pretty good job and I've never been able to measure any significant improvement. I think the PHEV is a perfect fit for anyone whose normal drive is within the EV range but needs the essentially unlimited range compared to the full BEV regularly and can't afford or doesn't want another car for that case. I would say if you want to amuse yourself by trying to beat the computer rock on, but it's certainly not necessary for the PHEV to make sense for a lot of people.

Having said that, yeah, if you can't charge regularly for a good price then the PHEV is probably not a good fit. The plug-in part is kinda fundamental to the whole deal. :D
 

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What? The computer doesn’t know how long your trip is or what kind of roads you will be on at what times on this trip that only the driver knows will happen and when.

If you cannot increase your efficiency over leaving it in (I assume) EV mode 100% of the time, you are not doing it right. That mode means you will be in EV mode until that runs out and then HEV mode the rest of the trip. That is how dumb the computer is and that is not maximizing your efficiency.
 

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What? The computer doesn’t know how long your trip is or what kind of roads you will be on at what times on this trip that only the driver knows will happen and when.

If you cannot increase your efficiency over leaving it in (I assume) EV mode 100% of the time, you are not doing it right. That mode means you will be in EV mode until that runs out and then HEV mode the rest of the trip. That is how dumb the computer is and that is not maximizing your efficiency.
that may be true for the hev but for the phev ev mode is best unless you are trying to reserve battery soc for some reason. Use up the cheaper ev miles first before using any more expensive hev miles.
 

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that may be true for the hev but for the phev ev mode is best unless you are trying to reserve battery soc for some reason. Use up the cheaper ev miles first before using any more expensive hev miles.
point is the hev has no cheaper ev wall plug miles. For the hev, all miles are ice miles.

In my case I'm paying 3.5/4 <1 cent per ev wall plug mile. $2.70/45 = 6 cents per hev ice mile.
 

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I THINK the point he was trying to make is...If your going to jump on a highway right away and know when you get off you have to drive 20 or so miles in city traffic it's better to save your "electric" miles until the end when you get off the highway. I think that was more or less the point, I hope LOL.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is in energy consumption you don't make energy out of thin air - any work done will consume equal energy from each source.

If you want to go 30 miles you must have an energy source capable of providing enough energy to move 3,500 pounds that distance.Whether it is gas or electricity the net input of energy to move this mass that distance will be the same. The variable is the cost of that energy. Currently in some areas it is cheaper to move the 3,500 pound load with electricity, in other areas with exorbitant tax rates it may be cheaper to use gas.

It is easy to calculate for an area, for us electricity is $.08 per kwh Gas is $2.80 gallon. Our Niro get 30 miles per electric charge

so for us
$.08 x 8 kwh =$.64 for 30 miles on electric
$2.80 =$2.80/2=$1.40 for 30 miles on gas

There are other subjective or emotional factors like wanting to save the EV for specific situations but I question if there is any objective energy or economic criteria for that.
 

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What? The computer doesn’t know how long your trip is or what kind of roads you will be on at what times on this trip that only the driver knows will happen and when.

If you cannot increase your efficiency over leaving it in (I assume) EV mode 100% of the time, you are not doing it right. That mode means you will be in EV mode until that runs out and then HEV mode the rest of the trip. That is how dumb the computer is and that is not maximizing your efficiency.
Entirely true as far as it goes but largely irrelevant in terms of actual significant repeatable efficiency gains. Sure, I know my route and when I'll be on the highway vs on surface streets. I don't know to any real accuracy what the traffic will be like or if I will make the light 5 miles down the road. What that means is that I'm guessing almost as much as the car is.

Here's the basic truth: EV mode is always more efficient than HEV mode whether I'm on the highway or on surface streets. The difference in EV efficiency between highway and back roads is ~1 mile / kWh based on my experience. I pay $.13 / kWh to charge. The juice is just not worth the squeeze.

I'm not interested in obsessing over every last kWh. I'm very happy with the efficiency I'm getting just leaving the car in D and getting on with my life.
 

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I THINK the point he was trying to make is...If your going to jump on a highway right away and know when you get off you have to drive 20 or so miles in city traffic it's better to save your "electric" miles until the end when you get off the highway. I think that was more or less the point, I hope LOL.
That was my point. But yes you need to be aware of what driving you'll be doing at the end of the trip, and where using EV mode makes the most sense.
 

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I THINK the point he was trying to make is...If your going to jump on a highway right away and know when you get off you have to drive 20 or so miles in city traffic it's better to save your "electric" miles until the end when you get off the highway. I think that was more or less the point, I hope LOL.
I agree that's what he's saying, I dispute whether it actually makes a significant difference in overall energy use. On the highway I usually get ~30 miles of EV range even with the A/C on. A normal full charge for me is right around 8kWh (measured at the charger) so on the highway I'm right at 3.75 mi / kWh. On surface streets I see ~4.6 mi /kWh. Given that I pay $.13/kWh to charge that works out to $.035 / mi on the highway and $.028 / mi on surface streets. That's a $.007 / mile difference. 7 tenths of a penny. I hardly think not worrying about 7 thousandths of a dollar per mile qualifies as "not doing it right". :D
 

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I think that for myself, I find driving on the city streets in EV mode is simply more enjoyable, so saving the EV range for the end of a freeway trip makes sense. On the freeway there's so much tire and wind noise that having the ICE run doesn't make any noticeable difference in noise. There is less vibration overall in EV mode. But cruising quietly through a town is very enjoyable. So while it doesn't make much economic difference saving EV mode for certain parts of the trip, there's a greater satisfaction (at least for me) driving in EV mode on city and residential streets.

With my electric rate at a hair under 11 cents per kWh, I'm about .005 cents cheaper to charge than you. But yeah, either way it's far cheaper than the cost of gas. Even using the absolute lowest gas price around me ($2.98) that's a hair under 6 cents per mile.
 

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What? The computer doesn’t know how long your trip is or what kind of roads you will be on at what times on this trip that only the driver knows will happen and when.

If you cannot increase your efficiency over leaving it in (I assume) EV mode 100% of the time, you are not doing it right. That mode means you will be in EV mode until that runs out and then HEV mode the rest of the trip. That is how dumb the computer is and that is not maximizing your efficiency.

Upon further reflection I agree with you, in the case where the trip is far enough that the ice will need to be used. Making sure the ice use occurs during those segments of the trip where the ice is most efficient (e.g. freeways) and using the battery for the rest is the most efficient use of all resources.

Not my usual use scenario but I understand and agree with your point. Since you have the hev you see this scenario all the time while I see this scenario rather rarely since I have the phev.
 

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I do drive my HEV per my advice to the potential PHEV owner: ICE on highway (or whatever car decides), EV on streets. I see significant gains in mpg driving this way, but it would certainly make life easier with an EV force button! I have to be super gentle on the throttle depending on SOC up to 20 mph.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is in energy consumption you don't make energy out of thin air - any work done will consume equal energy from each source.

If you want to go 30 miles you must have an energy source capable of providing enough energy to move 3,500 pounds that distance.Whether it is gas or electricity the net input of energy to move this mass that distance will be the same. The variable is the cost of that energy. Currently in some areas it is cheaper to move the 3,500 pound load with electricity, in other areas with exorbitant tax rates it may be cheaper to use gas.

It is easy to calculate for an area, for us electricity is $.08 per kwh Gas is $2.80 gallon. Our Niro get 30 miles per electric charge

so for us
$.08 x 8 kwh =$.64 for 30 miles on electric
$2.80 =$2.80/2=$1.40 for 30 miles on gas

There are other subjective or emotional factors like wanting to save the EV for specific situations but I question if there is any objective energy or economic criteria for that.
It makes some sense what you wrote, but you are leaving out an important aspect. The energy needed to move the mass is also dependent on speed SQUARED. Now I don't have the PHEV, but I had the HEV and now the EV, so my real life experience is based on these variants.

Power is Work divided by time. Work has a force component and forces needed to move a car increase as you need to overcome the counter force caused by wind drag, which will increase with speed SQUARED (again). Also if work is done in a short time, more power is needed. This is all basic physics.

So in real world car driving at very low speeds with low acceleration or on moderate constant speed there is very little power needed and thus a small engine with a low capacity battery can perform the work (HEV, PHEV). By reading some of the comments from others with a PHEV it is likely (given the theory) that they observe to have more electric range at moderate city driving then on highway cruising. And ICEs are notoriously inefficient in typical busy city traffic, so to me it makes a lot of sense to use EV mode in the city and the gas engine on the highway (if that applies).
 
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