Kia Niro Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I was doing some mountain driving in my Niro on steep grades traveling to San Diego and noticed that when going up long mountain grades that the battery will degrade down to one bar. I would think the idea would be to be in Sport mode as much as possible to help but I could not keep it there long because of the battery level. Sometimes I did not use Sport mode at all and it still would go down to one bar. At some point does it stop using the hybrid battery completely in situations like this? Can someone else comment that has done mountain driving on steep grades and share your experience as well? It seems bizarre that such driving would be such a wear on the battery and that the engine does not keep up with charging it. Would like to hear from others that do mountain driving. As soon as grades normalized this was not a problem and the battery was quickly charged back up. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,051 Posts
Yeah, the Niro is not really built for long climbs. Many of us have seen similar behavior and it appears to just be a case of the car not having enough ICE horsepower to maintain speed on a steep hill. It ends up using the battery to try to make up but that just runs the pack down to minimum and you're left with just the rather anemic gas motor. It's worse if you are heavily loaded. You can try a lower speed and manually shifting down to try and keep the ICE in its power band (haha) but even that isn't likely to be able to hold up on an extended climb.

In the end the ICE only produces so much power and if it needs every pony just to maintain speed there's nothing left to charge the battery. Without regen there's no energy going into the pack so it just slowly discharges as the electric motor tries to help keep the pace. I wouldn't call it a flaw, it's just a consequence of optimizing the car for fuel economy. The PHEV is actually slightly better since it has a larger battery so if you start out with a bit of charge it can often carry you to the top and then you get some decent regen on the way down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It ends up using the battery to try to make up but that just runs the pack down to minimum and you're left with just the rather anemic gas motor. It's worse if you are heavily loaded. You can try a lower speed and manually shifting down to try and keep the ICE in its power band (haha) but even that isn't likely to be able to hold up on an extended climb.
I assume there is no harm in this; it's just not having a whole lot of horses left to get the job done. In other words it sounds like the battery will just sit there on one bar and the gas engine will be the only thing in use once one gets down to this. It looks to only happen on very steep and quite long grades. Sounds like no reason for concern, and a "just be patient" thing. Once the grade gets a bit better the battery starts to recharge from the gas engine pretty quickly. But notice it goes down real fast with Sport mode. When down to two bars I just leave that off. And if I think it's going to be going down to that range with the length of the incline I stay away from that mode in order to provide longer battery power.
 

·
Registered
2020 HEV EX Premium (White / Lt. Gray)
Joined
·
85 Posts
I just drove from Denver to Phoenix and back within the past week and I had plenty of long grades both up and down to test some of the systems. I noticed exactly what you did regarding the battery level degrading pretty quickly on inclines and I was left with the 104 HP motor do do all the work and it struggled quite a bit even though the car wasn't loaded. To keep the car from shifting down and up I was inclined to disengage the cruise control and use the Sport Mode with the paddle shifters to keep the car in one gear (typically 4 or sometimes as low as 3) to at least keep a lower, constant speed. I think the battery was going to drain out regardless so I'm not sure it was any less efficient at that point. My first mountainous tank on B roads (secondary, 65 mph tops) returned 55 mpg which is among my top three since I've had the car so I must have been doing something right. The battery was often recharged on the declines and I used regen levels 1 and 2 on the steeper descents although applying the brakes would have probably recharged the battery to the same level (although I'm not 100% sure about that so techies can feel free to enlighten me!). One thing I did not like about Sport Mode (as compared with the VWs I've owned), is that when you initially switch to Sport Mode the changed display on the dash does not indicate which gear you are in. You have to upshift or downshift with the paddles for the gear number to appear. I don't understand why that is and the VWs always immediately showed what gear you were in which helped you determine if you might want to downshift or not. I got pretty good at looking at RPMs to know which gear I was likely in but I wish Kia would do it the way that VW does. Anyway, overall I was impressed with the efficiency and the ride although it's not always the best cornering vehicle on windy roads but I never expected it to be. It's a great city car and it loves a long, fairly straight drive across the plains at 65 mph or slower but its just so-so in mountain driving scenarios.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top