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So everybody's been posting about how much MPG they're getting, city/highway %, and speedimit they're following but there's not as much post about throttle control, braking, or whatever other tricks people are using.

I have a 18 Niro EX with premium package (stock 16" rims) and I've been averaging 48 MPG with good amount of highway driving but I see tons of posts claiming they've achieved 55+ MPG with large amount of highway.

So I figured I'd start a thread asking, how are you driving? what do you recommend to maintain high MPG?

Few info recommendations:
1) state your year and trim
2) state your rim size
3) your typical MPG, city/highway %, and those type of info
 

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So everybody's been posting about how much MPG they're getting, city/highway %, and speedimit they're following but there's not as much post about throttle control, braking, or whatever other tricks people are using.

I have a 18 Niro EX with premium package (stock 16" rims) and I've been averaging 48 MPG with good amount of highway driving but I see tons of posts claiming they've achieved 55+ MPG with large amount of highway.

So I figured I'd start a thread asking, how are you driving? what do you recommend to maintain high MPG?

Few info recommendations:
1) state your year and trim
2) state your rim size
3) your typical MPG, city/highway %, and those type of info
The PHEV probably calls for different driving techniques, but when I drive my son-in-law's 2018 Ioniq HEV (almost identical drivetrain to the Niro HEV) I generally accelerate smoothly, brake smoothly but also attempt to maximize regen. To do that I might coast longer than normal before starting to brake, so I can brake more heavily for stronger regen. Driving this way, I would get about 60 MPG on my work commute. This includes climbing hills in both directions. My Outback with a 6 cylinder engine would get about 20 MPG on the same route. Of course, my PHEV Niro can do almost the entire route under EV power so 999 MPG probably doesn't count. :)
 

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The more you use cruise control (preferably standard), the better your economy will be. It spends more time in EV in the city, and accelerating on freeway ramps - I cannot reproduce these real and repeatable results with foot control - must be a difference in CC versus manual in the algorithms designs. My use is apparently 90% eco and 10% normal - I'm not sure if this includes CC use (which I'm in over 90% of the time) or not but it won't display driving style at all while CC is in use so I seldom see this screen. My main use of foot control is getting up to the speed limit in the city - I try to get to 40 mph (in a 35 mph zone) fairly briskly, as there is an upshift that happens around 38-39 mpg and the instant mpg gauge jumps at that point. In city conditions at the beginning and end of most trips, I baby the car like crazy and that makes a real difference. I don't think much of anything matters at highway speeds - unless you use ACC in heavy traffic: then you are mirroring the speed of the idiot in front of you which always results in more speed changes than closely monitoring standard CC and making smaller adjustments.

Removing the roof rails is good for at least 2 mpg. Get the roof trim for the FE if you want to go this route. It will fit your car.

For my 2018 HEV LX with 16" wheels and stock tires, my mpg maxes out at 59 mpg over a full tank topped off driving per above with a max highway speed of 65 mph and no AC, in 80 degree plus weather, without adverse wind or inclement weather.

At conditions worse that than, less and not really worth talking about as there will be no way for someone else to reproduce the exact conditions to compare driving styles or efficiency. But my bottom last winter was 49 mpg (plus or minus a quarter mpg) over a full tank topped off. That included some of that Arctic weather we had, but not so many miles at zero or below so it didn't affect the full tank mpg by very much. I don't drive every day.
 

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jihyungchun, that's a really good question. I regret that I'm probably not the best person to answer it. My own driving habits (in a 2018 PHEV) are such that I can go for weeks or months without starting the ICE. When I go on a long trip that exceeds my EV battery range, my overall economy is boosted by the 26+ "free" miles from the battery, but even so, if the trip is several hundred miles, I generally come in somewhere between 52 and 56 mpg. The PHEV is expected to be a bit worse on gas than the HEV, due to the extra battery weight (maybe also the electric motor weighs more?).



atc98092: interesting theory that harder breaking might be beneficial for regen: it's something I've wondered about too. We know that at some point, harder breaking engages the conventional brake pads, turning kinetic energy into friction and heat rather than electricity, but if I see a red light a half mile away and I start coasting, the "Charge" indicator on the instrument cluster just barely moves into the Charge position, and if I brake more aggressively at the last minute, it moves much further into the Charge position (albeit for a shorter period of time). So I've wondered, if my battery is close to fully charged and I'm coasting and just getting a mild charge indication on the instrument cluster, is any energy really being moved into the battery?



Classic physics concepts about conservation of energy say "yes", in order for regenerative braking to work to decelerate the car, it has to either charge the battery or else generate heat, and I don't think it generates significant amounts of heat (but it probably generates some, which is why it isn't 100% efficient). My conclusion is that aggressive breaking doesn't recover any more charge than coasting, and it runs the risk of engaging the break pads and converting kinetic energy to heat instead of electricity, but I'll be interested to hear if anyone has a different take on this..


I tend to use the adaptive Cruise Control, but I think this works against my fuel economy because it accelerates and decelerates more aggressively than I would in the traffic conditions that I'm usually confronted with. Still, it feels safer to me, because it's a "second set of eyes" watching for the need to engage in quick breaking. I think I could get better MPG if I didn't use it at all, or used it without the "adaptive" feature engaged.



In response to your request: 2018 PHEV EX Premium, 16" rims, and typically about 54 mpg on a long trip of 1000 miles with only one full charge (26 free miles) at the outset. Some of that is mountainous, some is stop and go, and lot of it is flat highway around 70 to 75 MPH. I do have the impression that 65 MPH is about optimum for highway fuel economy.
 

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I have had as high as 60 mpg for a trip without plugging in (2019 PHEV), and that just comes from coasting, gentle acceleration, and knowing the area well enough to know when I will crest a hill. Until fairly recently, my driving style readout was always 0% aggressive acceleration and about 90% eco, despite having to get up to speed on an on-ramp to an 80 mph stretch of freeway on my way home from work (I often cheated by hitting cruise and pushing it up to 80).
I had to know, though, how it would do at higher speeds, so I took it up to 110 mph on a short stretch of freeway. Gas mileage plummeted, as expected, but I was pleasantly surprised that acceleration was smooth and nothing felt too loose or rattly. I may try again, just to see how the governor feels when I max it out.

Long story short, gentle acceleration, probably to around 65-70 mph, gives pretty good gas mileage. I do not try to get the heavier regen unless decelerating across a fairly short distance, since coasting and/or light braking has worked very well for me. Having the PHEV makes it hard to get exact gas mileage figures most of the time, but it does pretty well.
 

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I concur the cruise control can do a better job economy-wise than I can with my foot. In particular, the CC will hold a speed down a slope far more accurately than I can, and it seems to use the regen very smoothly and at maximum efficiency. My Subaru Outback had Eyesight, and it was no where near as smooth and accurate holding a speed. It would stay about +/- 3-4 MPH, where the Niro will just peg the speed on the nose. Since the computer is controlling the regen, it is always using the exact amount necessary to hold the speed, which also provides the maximum possible regen. Even on level ground, the CC is far smoother than the Subaru system.

I've never been able to tell when regen has maxed out and the physical brakes engage. That's also something that has been mentioned in car reviews. Kia has really nailed the transition between the two.
 

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I have found the best route back and forth to work which allows me to use the cruise control and long coasting to red lights. Have several small hills that allow me to coast down long ways too. Plus where I live off the highway lets me stay in EV mode the two miles to my house. I have been averaging 52 plus mpg per tank but last three tanks have hit over 60 several average. Also use driver only AC but not we are in fall just vent. Highway I drove from Ft Worth to San Antonio and back and got 46 mpg down and 48 mpg back with 75 mph speed limits.

2017 Niro EX
 

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Discussion Starter #8
you know.... I only just realized that I typed the title of this post wrong.... fail
 

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atc98092: interesting theory that harder breaking might be beneficial for regen: it's something I've wondered about too. We know that at some point, harder breaking engages the conventional brake pads, turning kinetic energy into friction and heat rather than electricity, but if I see a red light a half mile away and I start coasting, the "Charge" indicator on the instrument cluster just barely moves into the Charge position, and if I brake more aggressively at the last minute, it moves much further into the Charge position (albeit for a shorter period of time). So I've wondered, if my battery is close to fully charged and I'm coasting and just getting a mild charge indication on the instrument cluster, is any energy really being moved into the battery?
If the battery is fully charged, like at 99%, then no, there's little energy being sent to the battery because there's nowhere to put it. However, even at 98% it still sends power back, so yes that small indication into the charge section is sending some regen back to the battery.

I'd also like to clarify my braking statement. While I might delay heavier braking until closer to the reason for stopping, I am not still using the throttle to maintain speed. I too will begin coasting in anticipation of a complete stop. Even with that low level of regen, I have seen the range gauge increase while coasting. I have to say, I honestly cannot tell when I run out of regen and the conventional brakes apply. Kia really nailed that transition.
 

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To do that I might coast longer than normal before starting to brake, so I can brake more heavily for stronger regen.
in slow and go traffic i set the acc to its slowest speed, 20 mph. then when i take my foot off the accelerator i get the stronger regen and more braking. i like it because it mimics one pedal driving, hopefully saves the brake pads, and will slow the car to around 5 mph before acc disengages. i typically don’t bother in stop and go traffic because i would constantly have to resume acc after stopping.
 

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in slow and go traffic i set the acc to its slowest speed, 20 mph. then when i take my foot off the accelerator i get the stronger regen and more braking. i like it because it mimics one pedal driving, hopefully saves the brake pads, and will slow the car to around 5 mph before acc disengages. i typically don’t bother in stop and go traffic because i would constantly have to resume acc after stopping.
Just a thumb flick. Why not?
 

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How are driving

2017 HEV Kia Niro LX with theTech. Package and standard 16” tires.
I use the climate control inAUTO mode set to 70-73F. The driving style is usually 90% eco. 9-10%normal and sometimes ~1% aggressive. The average for 30000 miles(48000 km) is 47 MPG (5.0 l/100 km), with the lowest in the 35 MPG(6.7 l/100 km) range; strong headwinds, low temperature and speed 70MPH (112 km/h) in flat countryside. Under this conditions the vehiclewill run only on ICE without charging the battery. Recently in thestrong headwinds winter weather on US I-80 going West in NE, thevehicle stayed in ICE only mode for over than 300 miles and did notcharge the battery more than 3 bars.
Driving in warm to hot weatherwill result in the best mileage around 60 MPG (3.9 l/100 km), and ofcourse at lower speed the fuel economy will improve (up to a point).
Beware of the the SCC cruisecontrol on the 2017 model as it is prone to sudden slowdowns inplaces you do not expect it, even with no other vehicles in front ofyou and the road wide open, followed by pretty fast acceleration(even in the slow setting). Not only it will increase the fuel usage(in my estimate around 2 MPG), but could result in quite dangeroussituations, especially if there is another vehicle close behind you.While the “follow” function can be convenient at times, itresponds fast to vehicles changing lanes in front of you and will notrecognize another vehicle moving into the lane, resulting indangerous and unnecessary braking and accelerations. I hope that SCCissues were addressed on newer versions of this practical vehicle.
I will recommend using thestandard CC, because adjusting the speed is as easy as pushing thebutton on the steering wheel.
 

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Thanks for mentioning that, Perk - I tried ACC once, and when it kept popping out when the person in front of me tended to brake too suddenly, I haven't used it again. I will do more experimentation, as slow-n-go is fairly typical on L.A. freeways. On surface streets, stop and go is the norm.
 

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My overall average after 10kkm is now at 24.8km/l (4l/100km), so that would translate to about 58 MPG. One obvious trick is driving as much in EV mode as possible. That and always smoothing out acceleration/deceleration in all driving modes. In my situation that works out to driving EV-only around 4-5 days out of the week as I hardly ever need the full 50+km range on those days. The other 2-3 days I've got a commute of about 140km (86mi) which comes down to driving 50km in EV and 230 in PHEV mode as I haven't found a way yet to charge at work.
  • For the EV trips I try to avoid using the heating as it will bring on the ICE. Clearly this is getting more difficult nowadays as it's getting colder and the windows tend to fog.. putting the AC temp to 'Low' and setting the fan to it's lowest setting seems to work but it isn't ideal. Then again, for a 10km trip it's simply not worth trying to heat the interior IMHO.
  • For the long trips I try to spread EV-use as intelligently as possible over the day: mostly EV in slow traffic (city, traffic jams, ...) and anything above 90 kph in PHEV mode. Additionally I tend to go 'as fast as possible' in the morning (which is either the speed limit or whatever traffic I'm stuck in. So yes, 'fast' can be a very relative term ;-) while when returning home in the evening I tend to drive more at ease (read 105kph / 65 mph) or even 'hook' myself behind a lorry using the ACC (read lower 9x kph/ higher 5x mph) assuming 2 'blocks' of distance is enough margin for the ACC to kick in safely if need be and me not having to hover with my foot above the brake all the time. (I do pay attention, but it's pretty much on automatic with only 20% brain-cpu needed)
    Not only does this result in lower fuel consumption but it's also remarkably more silent in the car like that which comes in handy as I tend to listen to podcasts or music during those drives. The extra time needed (in practice it then takes about 1:35 versus about 1:20 when going 'full throttle' because not all of it is high-way) comes in as additional me-time =)
Looking at the history, those long trips seem to average around 21 km/l in the morning and 24.5 in the evening... not too shabby IMHO. Seems though that overall those longer trips are having quite an influence on the average even though there are plenty of 999km/l trips in the history from the EV-only days. Well, those are much shorter trips and as such hey don't make that much of a dent in the overall average.

Kr,
Roby

PS: As for the 'hard-deceleration' discussion a couple of posts above. Firstly, I doubt there is any better way than coasting to preserve energy, so looking far ahead and anticipating traffic pays off. That said, I try to guesstimate my 'landing' by decelerating to a lower speed in the first part and then gently coasting to whatever reason there is to stop (traffic light, end of the road, jam, ...). The reasoning behind it being that I'll spend less time in a 'high resistance' situation while at the same time early on push more energy back into the battery pack.

IIRC the formula for kinetic energy is E=(mv^2)/2. As a result there is a huge difference between braking at from 50 to 20 kph and 90 to 60 kph. If my math is not too rusty (please correct me when I'm wrong, I'm using m = 1500kg) the former will return (a theoretical) 33Wh while the latter amounts to 70Wh! Assuming you do both over a 5 seconds interval, that means you push almost 23kW and 50kW through the system respectively. As the (PHEV) electric motor is rated at 59kW it should be able to convert that kinetic energy into electrical energy again but whether the batteries are able to absorb this I can't tell. Also, I'm not entirely sure the electrical motor is able to run 'backwards' at the same numbers, we have to assume it's optimized to be most efficient in accelerating the car, right? Anyway, when looking at the dash and decelerating you can tell that when braking at high speed it's easy to max-out the regen indicator; while doing a similar deceleration at lower speeds it hardly gets 'halfway'. So I tend to mildly brake when still going fast but not too much as not to max-out, presssing the brake a bit harder when closing in on my target at lower speeds... all while trying not to be a jerk in traffic off course. Being a 'gentleman in traffic' still trumps 'personal MPG record' =)

PPS: I'm not even sure the electrical motor is what is being used to decelerate. When driving EV this makes sense, but what confuses me is that when I'm in EV mode and the engine is running because the heating is on, the display will show energy flowing from the battery to the wheels but it also shows energy flowing from the engine to the battery even though (judging by the sound of the RPM) there is no link between the ICE engine and the electrical motor. I can only assume there has to be yet another (dedicated?) electrical generator somewhere? Or maybe it's simply the 12V battery that's being charged and so the display technically isn't wrong, but in that case I'd call it misleading in the least. Haven't found an answer to that conundrum yet.
 

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There is a much larger than normal starter /generator on the ICE. Traction battery can be charged independently from the traction motor/generator or the started/generator.
 

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PPS: I'm not even sure the electrical motor is what is being used to decelerate. When driving EV this makes sense, but what confuses me is that when I'm in EV mode and the engine is running because the heating is on, the display will show energy flowing from the battery to the wheels but it also shows energy flowing from the engine to the battery even though (judging by the sound of the RPM) there is no link between the ICE engine and the electrical motor. I can only assume there has to be yet another (dedicated?) electrical generator somewhere? Or maybe it's simply the 12V battery that's being charged and so the display technically isn't wrong, but in that case I'd call it misleading in the least. Haven't found an answer to that conundrum yet.
Generally, if the traction battery is not adding torque to the drivetrain, and ICE is on, it is charging the traction battery at a low rate via turning the HSG through the serpentine belt. Thus the flow diagram showing energy going from the ICE to the battery. When decelerating, energy is flowing from the motor to the battery. None of this charges the 12 volt battery directly. This is done when the car wants to from the traction battery through a DC/DC converter.
 
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