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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
PHEV drivers: Under what circumstances do you select Automatic mode when toggling the EV/HEV button? Is it to let the car determine the most efficient balance between EV and HEV when driving distances beyond pure EV range?
 

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Not sure what you mean by auto mode.

Ev mode. Battery is used first before changing automatic switch to HEV mode.

Hev mode. Battery state of charge is maintained at current level. Ev miles are saved.
 

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I leave it on EV unless I'm going to be driving more than 25 miles. If that's the case, I will press the button after I get up to full speed on the freeway to swtich the car to HEV mode. I'll switch back to EV if there is heavy traffic, or when I get off the freeway and am on city roads.
 

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What CharlesH said. There is no "Auto" mode with the PHEV. I think you are referring to the hybrid mode, which does two things. It maintains the battery charge level to roughly what it was when you enabled the mode, and by doing that you're going to operate with the ICE running the majority of the time. It basically turns the PHEV into a HEV, with the option of resuming EV mode when it might be more advantageous to do so.

That is what I do on long distance trips. I use EV mode around town, until I get on the freeway. Once of the freeway, I switch to HEV mode, when saves my remaining charge for non-freeway driving at my destination. If I end up using most of my EV range around town, I switch to Sport Mode (that's using the shifter, it's not a button you press), which will actually slowly recharge the battery, at the cost of lower MPG. But I can drive from my Seattle area home, across Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 to Ellensburg, drive around town for a couple of hours, then drive back home on I-90. My route takes me across two mountain passes in each direction, and I still get 60 MPG for the overall 250 mile trip by using EV mode when it's most efficient, which is around town.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just to be clear, it's actually called Automatic mode. When I start the car and hit the EV|HEV button, it appears. Hitting the button again brings up Hybrid mode, and hitting it again brings up Electric mode, which must be the default at startup (see pics). Perhaps this was a software update for the 2020 models, but I don't see it mentioned in my manual anywhere.
Mode button.jpg Automatic.jpg Hybrid.jpg Electric.jpg
 

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What year is your car? I don't think mine has ever said automatic mode on screen.
 

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Ah, OK. New "feature". It's likely explained somewhere in the manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Automatic mode is available on my 2020 PHEV LXS. I only select between EV and HEV modes and leave auto out of it since I don't actually know what it does.
I have the same year and model. It must've been an update to the software for the 2020 model year, but they didn't update the manual accordingly. If none of the gurus here know its purpose I may see if there's someone at Kia I could contact about it. I seriously doubt anyone at the dealership I leased it from would have a clue, since early on in my dealings with them it became obvious I new a lot more about the car than they did.
 

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It's a rare animal indeed when I find someone at a dealership that knows more about their cars than I do :p
 

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PHEV drivers: Under what circumstances do you select Automatic mode when toggling the EV/HEV button? Is it to let the car determine the most efficient balance between EV and HEV when driving distances beyond pure EV range?
PHEV drivers: Under what circumstances do you select Automatic mode when toggling the EV/HEV button? Is it to let the car determine the most efficient balance between EV and HEV when driving distances beyond pure EV range?
That's it exactly. I use Auto mode when I'm on the highway. The car stays pretty much in ev mode and turns on the ICE when needed. One big difference between Auto and Hybrid mode is that you can delete the EV battery completely, at which time the car switched to Hybrid mode automatically. If, say, when I get down to 5 miles of EV battery left (the distance from highway to my house), I switch to Hybrid mode, the EV battery doesn't go down and often goes up.
 

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The salesman at Folsom dealership in CA near Sacramento said to put the car in automatic when taking a long trip. It’s a PHEV 2020 LXS. Thanks for the other ideas. They make sense.
 

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I try to drive my 2018 PHEV in a way that prevents the ICE from starting (which means when driving in EV mode, I try to stay in the Eco zone), if it's only going to run for a few seconds. I believe that the most engine wear occurs when the engine is cold and not very well lubricated. If you drive in a way that starts the ICE but then shuts it down a few seconds later, and then starts again a few minutes later, you are probably increasing engine wear more than you realize.

On the other hand, it is really nice to have the ICE start when you are driving in EV mode, doing a left turn across traffic, and find yourself needing a bit of extra acceleration because the oncoming traffic is coming faster than you expected.

In response to Ranger20's question, when I'm taking short trips around town, I drive exclusively in EV mode. As Beth and
atc98092 mentioned, when I'm taking a long drive, I usually wait until I've gotten up to speed on the highway before toggling into HEV mode. Part of the reason I wait is because I want to wear down my charge below the 26 mile range, so that the computer will (hopefully) decide that the battery can take additional charge and will shunt regenerative braking to the battery. I usually try to reduce my EV range to about 18 miles before toggling into HEV, but that's just me, not an authoritative or necessarily optimal value.

I have found that when climbing mountain highways (esp at freeway speeds), that having surplus battery charge in the PHEV improves performance while climbing. I also have the impression that if I get stuck in stop-and-go traffic along the way, having surplus charge in the battery results in fewer starts of the ICE, even when I'm in HEV mode.

But the great thing about the Niro is that you can just drive it like a regular car: you don't need any of this information in order to drive it successfully (although you might have better hill climbing performance and better fuel economy if you do practice these procedures).

The downside is that if you want to maximize fuel economy and you toggle into HEV mode before your charge runs out, you need to remember to toggle back to EV mode on the way home. In my experience, if my car says it has an EV range of maybe 16 miles, and if I'm already up to speed on the highway, I probably need to toggle into EV mode about 18 miles before I get home, in order to roll into the garage with an EV range of 0 miles.
 

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This is an easy question for me. Most days I drive under 26 miles and occasionally just a couple miles above it. I naturally just leave the car in EV mode which is the default position for my 2019 Kia Niro phev. But if I'm going on a long trip I just turn over control with HEV mode to the Car. on very long trips I get 48 miles per gallon and the 26 mile EV mileage eventually gets used up. With my current electricity bill in Portland Oregon 26 Miles costs a dollar fifty. Not that much better than the current gas prices due to the recession associated with covid. but I assume that gasoline prices are going to go up faster than electricity prices. Always best to use EV mode whenever you can especially for short stop and go trips because of the engine wear associated with starting the gasoline engine, as has been mentioned. B o b o b
 

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What CharlesH said. There is no "Auto" mode with the PHEV. I think you are referring to the hybrid mode, which does two things. It maintains the battery charge level to roughly what it was when you enabled the mode, and by doing that you're going to operate with the ICE running the majority of the time. It basically turns the PHEV into a HEV, with the option of resuming EV mode when it might be more advantageous to do so.

That is what I do on long distance trips. I use EV mode around town, until I get on the freeway. Once of the freeway, I switch to HEV mode, when saves my remaining charge for non-freeway driving at my destination. If I end up using most of my EV range around town, I switch to Sport Mode (that's using the shifter, it's not a button you press), which will actually slowly recharge the battery, at the cost of lower MPG. But I can drive from my Seattle area home, across Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 to Ellensburg, drive around town for a couple of hours, then drive back home on I-90. My route takes me across two mountain passes in each direction, and I still get 60 MPG for the overall 250 mile trip by using EV mode when it's most efficient, which is around town.
Great advice ! .. and always remember.. Never arrive at a charging location with EV miles still in the tank,, or you've wasted gas.
 

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I think the auto mode is only for those owners who want to set and forget it. Those interested in best use of EV will flip between hybrid and EV modes. For owners too lazy to ever charge (or cannot), any setting yields the exact same results.
 

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PHEV drivers: Under what circumstances do you select Automatic mode when toggling the EV/HEV button? Is it to let the car determine the most efficient balance between EV and HEV when driving distances beyond pure EV range?
I have tested this method. In auto it drains the battery but not significantly depending on drive. Since o love in an apartment complex and work commute is 2p Mina. On weekends I drive HEV home on full charge. Even with that
PHEV drivers: Under what circumstances do you select Automatic mode when toggling the EV/HEV button? Is it to let the car determine the most efficient balance between EV and HEV when driving distances beyond pure EV range?
I purchases a 2020 phev ex trim. I have tested all 3 modes. As auto goes. It will pick which mode. Best fits for the drive. As I live in an apartment complex on weekends when I fully charge on Friday at work to go home. I drive hev. Those it does use the battery in my 20 min commute. I can still get home with full battery using my pedal shifters to regen battery. It does use it but very slightly. I perfer hev on long trips and auto during thr week as I can charge up daily at work.
 
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