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Discussion Starter #1
Prior car was a 2001 PT Cruiser with removable rear seats - taken out day one and not put back in until I bought the Niro. I was easily able to put a bicycle or two inside, as well as sleep fully stretched out on my frequent trips across the country. Not as much interior room in the Niro in any dimension, but the seats do come out!

Took maybe 15 to 30 minutes to unbolt everything. All can go back (in the unlikely event I sell it), but will take a good bit longer I expect!

Photos below show the seats out and the load floor removed, and a pile of the stuff I took out. For all the modifications, about 85 pounds out, and 40 back in for a net vehicle weight loss of 40 pounds.
 

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Here is the new load floor installed, and on the driveway. No bolts, comes out easily. Hinged in the middle for easy access to the traction battery and the tire well - for storage: no longer enough vertical space for a spare tire.
 

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Here is a bicycle inside. Note how close the chainring is to floor. You can still put this same bicycle in upright without removing the seats, but the chainring will hit the floor and the saddle has to be lowered. The PT had more vertical space than an unmodified Niro (still several inches of saddle clearance for this same bike), and no battery under the rear seat meant a lower floor so the chainring also had a lot of clearance. Now my bike just fits.

The new load floor is 3/4" plywood. Still, to save an inch of room, you will see a cutout under the rear wheel. The original load floor pieces added five inches, so I've increased the net vertical room by about 4" with the new load floor.

This bike has 700C wheels and I just used it for an example. My usual bike has twenty inch wheels and the front wheel axle is below the load floor. After I first put this in, the axle tended to catch on the carpet and lift up the battery cover. So the aluminum was added so the mechanical bits would slide easily across it when I remove the bike - I like it easy to use, so I can quickly pop the bike out for a ride.
 

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Here is both the bicycle and a mattress. 6' long with the front passenger seat forward. My usual bike with 20" wheels has a bit more room for the mattress. So far, All I've done are short trips - if you call two weeks short! Worked fine. As you can see, plenty of room left for bags between the bike and the mattress.

In the PT when I went across the country for three months at a time (sleeping in car only on trip portion), I carried stuff including pots and pans for living at the other end. I used four plastic storage bins, flipped the front passenger seat forward (flattening it), and put the mattress on top. About 8 feet of room!

I may do something similar with the Niro if I do work out of state again. I'm OK with the interior now, but the PT did have more interior room despite being shorter and narrower than the Niro.
 

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Finally, three exterior mods. This is an LX. I removed the roof rails to bring the EPA highway rating back to the FE rating and put on the FE roof trim. I also removed the passenger side outside mirror mostly for aero benefit. But I never use that mirror finding it faster (which to my mind means safer) to look through the windows instead for making lane changes. I do have an aftermarket wider inside mirror which takes care of most of the blind spot that I cannot see by turning my head.

For a splash of color and mystery on the car, I replaced the Kia emblem with a K5 emblem from South Korea. Oh, didn't take a photo, but I also removed the eco hybrid emblem from the back hatch. I thought it was rather hideous and stupid besides.

That's it!
 

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Take a close look at them. There are plastic caps on both ends you can remove by hand (rock and pull up) and a couple of covers to remove with a screwdriver. Under those are nuts holding them to the roof. Does require a deep socket, 8mm I believe.

The frontal area is larger than just the cross section of the rails. They are curved from front to back so they have an outsized effect on drag. Removing them is theoretically good for the full difference between the FE and LX highway EPA rating, 3 mpg. Perhaps a bit less because of the weight difference between the two models, but that is super small at steady highway speeds. Weight has a bigger impact in stop and go city driving.

A side mirror is good for 2 to 3 percent (also mpg in the case of the Niro) per ecomodder at highway speeds. Take a bit off of both improvements to be conservative and call it 5 mpg gain on the highway. While the weight I took off has some small impact, I'm not really counting it as it simply brings total vehicle weight closer to the FE.

I'm expecting my lifetime mpg to exceed EPA (a recent 701 mile tank yielded 58 mpg) but of course much of that will be my environmental conditions and driving habits. In fact, this summer has been so nice that I've prioritized riding my more efficient motorcycle (last two tanks were 79 and 78 mpg). That will actually bring my Niro annual average mpg down this year as more miles will be done when it is cold, missing most of the possible summer miles.
 

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Here is the new load floor installed, and on the driveway. No bolts, comes out easily. Hinged in the middle for easy access to the traction battery and the tire well - for storage: no longer enough vertical space for a spare tire.

That's really nice. How much would you say you spent on everything (upholstery, wood, etc)?

Also, that custom floor looks really well made. Is that foam on the underside? How did you fit it to rest within the contours of the exposed floor?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think I paid the custom guy $600. Not at home to look at receipt. The floor rests on supports, simple wood blocks attached to the floor which is flat. Not necessary to mess with the contours. Hinged so I still have access to storage in the rear, as well as the battery in the front. There is some extra space above the battery too, but I never considered putting anything in there. Don't want to mess with ventilation or creating insulation on a hot battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Nope. Possibly manufacturer rules require it, but the uniform vehicle motor code only requires a single mirror if it has a sufficient view to the rear. Could remove driver's side mirror too, but I do use that one (would prefer Europe legal aero camera instead). I've not had a traffic stop in this car (safety check once when I had pulled over for a nap), but a cop would certainly notice the lack of a driver's side outside mirror and possibly hassle you. Unlikely to notice the passenger side mirror - and it looks OEM. But no, not against the law.
 

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States have different requirements for mirrors.

Here is a website for each states rules: https://ecomodder.com/wiki/Mirror_Laws_by_State_(U.S.)

Here for example is New Jersey requirements:

New Jersey

Added: 4-28-09 Regulation: 39:3-71.Mirrors

Every motor vehicle shall have rear view mirrors so located and angled as to give the driver adequate rear view vision. Every passenger automobile manufactured after January 1, 1965 and registered in this State, shall be equipped with an interior mirror and an exterior mirror on the driver's side. On and after January 1, 1965, every commercial motor vehicle registered in this State, other than a trailer or semitrailer, shall be equipped with an interior mirror and an exterior mirror on the driver's side, except that every such vehicle so constructed or loaded as to obstruct or obscure a rear view from an interior mirror shall, in lieu of an interior mirror, be equipped with an exterior mirror on the side of the vehicle opposite the driver's side. The director may by regulation establish other mirror requirements for special or unusual types of vehicles. Any person operating a motor vehicle without the equipment prescribed by this section shall, on conviction, be fined as provided in Revised Statutes 39:3-79.

Amended by L.1964, c. 119, s. 1.

Other states also have rules.

A better answer is Yes some states do require outside mirrors if you want to register a vehicle in the state.
 

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Yeah, I was going to say it varies by state. Your link didn't work, so let's see if it pastes correctly this time:

https://ecomodder.com/wiki/Mirror_Laws_by_State_(U.S.)

And this is what I expected to find for my state (WA):

(1) Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a mirror mounted on the left side of the vehicle and so located to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least two hundred feet to the rear of such vehicle.

(2) Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with an additional mirror mounted either inside the vehicle approximately in the center or outside the vehicle on the right side and so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least two hundred feet to the rear of such vehicle.


So there has to be a driver's side mirror, and there must also be either an inside rear view mirror or a passenger side mirror. Been that way a ling time here.

And since we have that link, here's what the state of Ohio says...

A. Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a mirror mounted on the left side of the vehicle and so positioned and located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway to the rear of the motor vehicle.

B. Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with an additional mirror mounted either inside the vehicle approximately in the center or outside the vehicle on the right side and so positioned and located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway to the rear of the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Your search was better than mine! But upshot is I'm legal in Ohio apparently. Had my last car almost 20 years with no right outside mirror, not a single comment from police during a fair number of traffic stops in multiple states.

Besides the aero benefits, and the general uselessness of the right outside mirror (for me and my driving style), I really enjoy the added visibility where the mirror formerly was.

Not recommending this for anyone else, just mentioning my own aero mods: deleting roof rails and side mirror, which are responsible for about a 3% gain each at highway speeds.
 

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Your search was better than mine! But upshot is I'm legal in Ohio apparently. Had my last car almost 20 years with no right outside mirror, not a single comment from police during a fair number of traffic stops in multiple states.

Besides the aero benefits, and the general uselessness of the right outside mirror (for me and my driving style), I really enjoy the added visibility where the mirror formerly was.

Not recommending this for anyone else, just mentioning my own aero mods: deleting roof rails and side mirror, which are responsible for about a 3% gain each at highway speeds.
As long as you have the inside rear view mirror, you're legal with no external right side mirror. Same as my state. But if the interior view is blocked so the inside mirror is unusable, then technically you'd be illegal. But something like that is unlikely to be noticed by law enforcement. Especially with the heavily tinted rear windows of our car. :D
 

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I recall when the passenger outside mirror on cars were an option. This persisted into the 90's. Including my base model Pontiac Firefly.


Don't know if there is a law requiring it.
I remember Dad installing a passenger side mirror on my Mom's brand new 1963 Dodge Dart. Of course, back then even the heater was an option on the lower models. :D

From what I've seen, the law has one of two options: either the interior mirror looking out the rear window, or a passenger side exterior mirror. But every state has their own laws, and I haven't read every one. I think most manufacturers put mirrors on both sides mostly for the look, keeping it symmetric.
 
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