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2017 Kia Niro


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#1 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 04:02 PM

It appears Kia is introducing a car that will be a direct competitor to the C-Max; the Niro. The exact dimensions have not yet been released, other than the wheelbase is 106 inches (slightly longer than the C-Max), it has a 0.29 coefficient of drag, and that it is expect to get 50 mpg, with 146 hp and 195 lb/ft. of torque. It will run with a 1.6L engine, electric motor, LiPo battery, and a six speed dual clutch transmission. 

 

It will be interesting to see more details about this car, particularly driving dynamics and interior space. Obviously, their main goal is to take sales away from the Prius with this style; to do that they claim the car will be fun to drive.









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#2 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 07:29 PM

It appears Kia is introducing a car that will be a direct competitor to the C-Max; the Niro. The exact dimensions have not yet been released, other than the wheelbase is 106 inches (slightly longer than the C-Max), it has a 0.29 coefficient of drag, and that it is expect to get 50 mpg, with 146 hp and 195 lb/ft. of torque. It will run with a 1.6L engine, electric motor, LiPo battery, and a six speed dual clutch transmission. 

 

It will be interesting to see more details about this car, particularly driving dynamics and interior space. Obviously, their main goal is to take sales away from the Prius with this style; to do that they claim the car will be fun to drive.

DSG transmissions are fun to drive, but complicated to maintain. We have one on our VW. Not sure about theirs, but the VW model has a 40K maintenance that costs about 350 bucks.

 

For reference, the cD of the C-Max is .30; this one is .29. The better mileage would come from the smaller engine and lower overall weight. They indicated that the height will be 65 inches or so. The C-Max is 63 inches high (but it isn't an SUV). If correct, that is going to be trouble for the MPG.


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#3 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 12:42 AM

DSG transmissions are fun to drive, but complicated to maintain. We have one on our VW. Not sure about theirs, but the VW model has a 40K maintenance that costs about 350 bucks.

 

For reference, the cD of the C-Max is .30; this one is .29. The better mileage would come from the smaller engine and lower overall weight. They indicated that the height will be 65 inches or so. The C-Max is 63 inches high (but it isn't an SUV). If correct, that is going to be trouble for the MPG.

 

I found a bit more information on this. First, they are using Aluminum in some areas, such as on the hood and tailgate, to save on weight. They did state that cargo capacity would be larger than the C-Max, but didn't state how much larger. It helps that they've stored the battery under the rear seats, rather than the cargo area. Also, they eliminated the 12V battery, to save weight -- that would seem to make sense that you could eliminate it. I'll be interested to hear more of how it will work without the 12V battery and what issues it might cause. It will also have a heat return system to heat the engine more quickly, again to improve efficiency.

 

They've also expanded on the navigation that they have in the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata Hybrids, which tells you when to start coasting to get the most regeneration when exiting a freeway or coming up on a stop sign/light. On the Niro it will also take altitude into account, delaying or going into EV mode earlier to improve efficiency. They expect 3% mpg gains with this feature.

 

It will be interesting to see if they can meet the 50 mpg number. With the smaller engine and weight saving measures, they might be able to get there. 

 

Hyundai first used the six-speed DSG in their Veloster, and I believe they had some early issues, though I believe they have been ironed out. Hyundai/Kia use a seven-speed DSG in some of their larger cars that is supposed to be quite good. There is no required maintenance on their DSG, though the fluid is supposed to be checked and topped up every 40,000 miles. However, for Extreme conditions the fluid is supposed to be changed at 80,000 miles. Of course, it will have Kia's 10 year/100,000 mile warranty if there are issues.

 

The Niro will also come with all the latest tech; auto emergency braking, lane keep (likely warning but haven't seen specifically), adaptive cruise (likely to a complete stop), and blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert. The audio system (at least with navigation, though I'm guessing also with the base audio) will support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It is scheduled to be released in the US early next year.


Edited by raadsel, 12 February 2016 - 12:46 AM.


#4 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 08:01 AM

It definitely sounds interesting, but I'd have to know just how comfortable and usable the interior is before I'd consider it a worthy competitor.

 

I really can't ride any "cars" anymore -- just too low to the ground for this old back.  That's why we were initially looking for a small SUV.  The C-Max is the only vehicle other than that I've ever felt "high enough" inside to be comfortable.  That and the visibility will be hard to beat in any other car.  

 

(I will give up a lot of mileage as long as I can sit high enough, but obviously that's just me -- and my wife).



#5 OFFLINE   scottwood2

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 08:38 AM

I like what I see and what others have said here.  Nice car!



#6 OFFLINE   ptjones

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 11:38 AM

Weight savings is important for City mpg's, but not much for hwy. Aerodynamics are much more important and you have  to wonder what a higher roof line going to do. :headscratch:  :shrug:  :)

 

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#7 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 12:30 PM

The only test drives have been with the prototype last year. It had a rough ride, but they may have adjusted that. I had not read about the 12v battery. They could just run off of the HVB for starting, I suppose.

 

I myself predict about 42 on the highway, maybe 47 in town. Could be more, we will see when the EPA numbers come out.



#8 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 02:03 PM

Weight savings is important for City mpg's, but not much for hwy. Aerodynamics are much more important and you have  to wonder what a higher roof line going to do. :headscratch:  :shrug:  :)

 

Paul

 

Except highway mpgs will be aided by the DCT, rather than having the CVT. Hyundai/Kia's hybrid system traditionally (with the auto transmission) does about 4 mpg better highway than city. The DCT will help city mileage; I'm guessing that mpgs will likely be fairly equal between city and highway; and it will be interesting to see what kind of mileage they can eek out. I don't know if they can get 50, but I do believe they'll likely get in the high 40s.

 

I'll be interested to see how comfortable it is, as well. It does appear it will have the high roofline. I'm guessing, based on other Hyundai/Kia models that the driver's seat will be fairly comfortable; other seats it may depends on how high the seats are, their other cars have a tendency for the passenger seats (without height adjustment) to be a bit low.

 

As for the 12V, it says they are using the HVB. I'm just curious how they'll do that, at least in a way where the HVB can't be completely discharged. I'll also be interested in hearing how the car will be jumped, if the HVB were to get discharged.

 

I suppose my hope in this is that we have a bit more competition in this "segment," that it makes Ford realize they need to improve the C-Max (such as including some of the newer tech and a new front end that has better airflow control). At worst, it will hopefully at least give us another alternative, that hopefully retains most of what we like about the C-Max, if Ford does discontinue the C-Max.


Edited by raadsel, 12 February 2016 - 02:10 PM.


#9 OFFLINE   Louder North

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 03:15 PM

More on the NIro in Gizmag.  Seating is slightly elevated according to the article.



#10 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 03:25 PM

Except highway mpgs will be aided by the DCT, rather than having the CVT. Hyundai/Kia's hybrid system traditionally (with the auto transmission) does about 4 mpg better highway than city. The DCT will help city mileage; I'm guessing that mpgs will likely be fairly equal between city and highway; and it will be interesting to see what kind of mileage they can eek out. I don't know if they can get 50, but I do believe they'll likely get in the high 40s.

 

I'll be interested to see how comfortable it is, as well. It does appear it will have the high roofline. I'm guessing, based on other Hyundai/Kia models that the driver's seat will be fairly comfortable; other seats it may depends on how high the seats are, their other cars have a tendency for the passenger seats (without height adjustment) to be a bit low.

 

As for the 12V, it says they are using the HVB. I'm just curious how they'll do that, at least in a way where the HVB can't be completely discharged. I'll also be interested in hearing how the car will be jumped, if the HVB were to get discharged.

 

I suppose my hope in this is that we have a bit more competition in this "segment," that it makes Ford realize they need to improve the C-Max (such as including some of the newer tech and a new front end that has better airflow control). At worst, it will hopefully at least give us another alternative, that hopefully retains most of what we like about the C-Max, if Ford does discontinue the C-Max.

The DCT is not going to be more efficient than the eCVT. It is cheaper, but six gears is inherently not as efficient as infinite gears. Everything I've read emphasized the cost and that it is more natural to drive, not that it is better at MPG.

 

EDIT: Not sure about weight, as to which one may be lighter.


Edited by stevedebi, 12 February 2016 - 03:26 PM.


#11 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 04:36 PM

I've grown so used to not having an engine "shift" that it would *not* be natural for me to drive something that felt different -- that alone might be a deal breaker for me.

 

We will surely want a new vehicle (for my wife) in two or three years, so this at least interests me to look at (but if the C-Max is around in some similar form I doubt whether I'd choose anything else).


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#12 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 04:39 PM

The DCT is not going to be more efficient than the eCVT. It is cheaper, but six gears is inherently not as efficient as infinite gears. Everything I've read emphasized the cost and that it is more natural to drive, not that it is better at MPG.

 

EDIT: Not sure about weight, as to which one may be lighter.

 

I'm not saying it will be as efficient as a CVT, at least in the city, but it is likely equally (or even slightly more) efficient on the highway (depending on the gear ratio); and it will be more efficient in the city than Kia/Hyundai's current hybrids with an automatic transmission. So, my point was the Niro will likely have better highway fuel economy than city; I'm guessing likely about 2 mpgs better highway than city. The current Hyundai/Kia hybrid power train, with a conventional automatic, is about 4 mpg more efficient on the highway than in the city; I'm guessing the DCT should improve the city efficiency by 1 or 2 mpgs.

 

Another interesting thing I've found, while the CVT is more efficient driving, what I've read states that a geared automatic can recapture more energy in regenerative braking than a CVT, which can offset some of the inefficiency of the gearing. Having driven the previous generation Hyundai Sonata for a few months, one thing I noticed was that I seemed to regenerate quite a bit more energy braking in the Sonata than in my C-Max. 

 

It is also worth mentioning the Hyundai Ioniq, which was introduced in Korea in January. It is a sedan version of the Niro put out by Hyundai, with the same powertrain and chassis. The Ioniq is supposed to be available in the US in the third quarter of this year; with the hybrid, followed shortly by a full electric, with the plug-in hybrid released last. If the Niro can get close to the 50 mpg they are shooting for (and I assume it must, or I don't think they'd be pushing those numbers now, when they are preparing to start production), it will be interesting to see what fuel economy the Ioniq can get, with the lower roof and 0.24 drag coefficient.



#13 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 04:42 PM

I've grown so used to not having an engine "shift" that it would *not* be natural for me to drive something that felt different -- that alone might be a deal breaker for me.

 

We will surely want a new vehicle (for my wife) in two or three years, so this at least interests me to look at (but if the C-Max is around in some similar form I doubt whether I'd choose anything else).

 

I was interested, as I mentioned above, in that it actually gives Ford a bit more competition in this segment, as well as at least giving us an additional option if Ford were to stop producing the C-Max. At least from how the car looks in pictures, to me it seems to be designed to directly compete against the C-Max, at least as much as the Prius.


Edited by raadsel, 12 February 2016 - 04:44 PM.


#14 OFFLINE   HotPotato

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 01:54 AM

Not sure I'd want to go down in power or sit closer to a pointlessly raised floor (microvans are more useful than CUVs), but that Kia is almost shockingly good-looking. They poached Audi's former design chief and it is paying off.



#15 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 08:08 AM

I was interested, as I mentioned above, in that it actually gives Ford a bit more competition in this segment, as well as at least giving us an additional option if Ford were to stop producing the C-Max. At least from how the car looks in pictures, to me it seems to be designed to directly compete against the C-Max, at least as much as the Prius.

 

Absolutely -- having more options is always a good thing.  I worry all the time that when we do get around to needing another vehicle the C-Max will be gone (since we only buy new and drive the heck out of whatever we do get).

 

I also think that in a couple of years gas prices will have gotten back (or exceeded) what we used to have and folks will definitely be feeling the pinch again.  This absolutely can't last too much longer.



#16 OFFLINE   SnowStorm

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 09:36 PM

Quite an interesting car - my thoughts:

  1. An HUV (Hybrid Utility Vehicle)?  Is Kia the first to use that moniker?  (If Kia takes it to England it should be popular in the Holbeck Urban Village!) :redcard:
  2. They may be using the DSG because they already have one (why develop a new transmission of different type).  Of course you then push any advantage you can think of - real or imagined.  I guess it does save one motor/generator and associated power electronics. :spend:
  3. As Kelly says though, I'd hate to go back to "shifting" - seems so archaic.  Just like hearing a normal ICE car starting up now - "rowl-rowl-rowl-rowl-verooom" - so antiquated.  Funny how for 100 years ICE cars needed, guess what, a battery and electric motor just to get the fool thing running! :shift:
  4. That TMED (Transmission-Mounted Electric Device) has got to win the YCA award (Year's Clumsiest Acronym).  Shucks - it could be a relay, a piece of wire, most anything!  Paul already has a TMED on his C-Max - a heater! :lol2:
  5. The "high" roof in these cars (including C-Max) may be a result of best aero design once you fix the needed height of the hatch.  An SUV type body requires the top of the hatch at a certain minimum height to give an adequate opening (the C-Max is at a minimum here).  Once that height is set, you can't just run a straight line to the top of the windshield - you need a smooth curve.  Lowering the roof (while maintaining the hatch height and top of windshield) might actually increase drag.  (Maybe Frank has a thought on this theory?)  If you lower the roof, you lower the back of the car - and you get the Prius shape! :superhero:
  6. The long list of details on soundproofing seems to indicate no active noise cancellation - we'll see how well they do. :waiting:
  7. The dedicated hybrid design with battery under the seats certainly sounds good. :salute:
  8. No 12V battery is interesting but I don't see why it should be a fundamental problem.  There should be plenty of ways to handle all the functional, fault and safety issues.  For all we know, they could have a few cells in there that function independently of the main battery.  They could also provide a "jump start" ability where a 12V jump starter could still be used - it would cost something but I'm sure it could be done.  And, no doubt, there will be a lot of safeties to prevent complete discharge. :victory:
  9. Driver assistance stuff is great - really want adaptive cruise (to complete stop).  My son has it on his car and its impressive. :thumbsup:
  10. But if there's no pano roof I'm going to :cry:

Will certainly have a look when it comes out (but really want a BEV).



#17 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 08:32 AM

Quite an interesting car - my thoughts:

  1. An HUV (Hybrid Utility Vehicle)?  Is Kia the first to use that moniker?  (If Kia takes it to England it should be popular in the Holbeck Urban Village!) :redcard:
  2. They may be using the DSG because they already have one (why develop a new transmission of different type).  Of course you then push any advantage you can think of - real or imagined.  I guess it does save one motor/generator and associated power electronics. :spend:
  3. As Kelly says though, I'd hate to go back to "shifting" - seems so archaic.  Just like hearing a normal ICE car starting up now - "rowl-rowl-rowl-rowl-verooom" - so antiquated.  Funny how for 100 years ICE cars needed, guess what, a battery and electric motor just to get the fool thing running! :shift:
  4. That TMED (Transmission-Mounted Electric Device) has got to win the YCA award (Year's Clumsiest Acronym).  Shucks - it could be a relay, a piece of wire, most anything!  Paul already has a TMED on his C-Max - a heater! :lol2:
  5. The "high" roof in these cars (including C-Max) may be a result of best aero design once you fix the needed height of the hatch.  An SUV type body requires the top of the hatch at a certain minimum height to give an adequate opening (the C-Max is at a minimum here).  Once that height is set, you can't just run a straight line to the top of the windshield - you need a smooth curve.  Lowering the roof (while maintaining the hatch height and top of windshield) might actually increase drag.  (Maybe Frank has a thought on this theory?)  If you lower the roof, you lower the back of the car - and you get the Prius shape! :superhero:
  6. The long list of details on soundproofing seems to indicate no active noise cancellation - we'll see how well they do. :waiting:
  7. The dedicated hybrid design with battery under the seats certainly sounds good. :salute:
  8. No 12V battery is interesting but I don't see why it should be a fundamental problem.  There should be plenty of ways to handle all the functional, fault and safety issues.  For all we know, they could have a few cells in there that function independently of the main battery.  They could also provide a "jump start" ability where a 12V jump starter could still be used - it would cost something but I'm sure it could be done.  And, no doubt, there will be a lot of safeties to prevent complete discharge. :victory:
  9. Driver assistance stuff is great - really want adaptive cruise (to complete stop).  My son has it on his car and its impressive. :thumbsup:
  10. But if there's no pano roof I'm going to :cry:

Will certainly have a look when it comes out (but really want a BEV).

 

A few answers, from the little I know:

 

1. No, HUV appears to be a term the US EPA has used, as well as car manufacturers.

 

2. Kia/Hyundai have been using a traditional automatic transmission (and 2 electric motors) in their current hybrid systems (largely the Optima/Sonata hybrids). I'm guessing they are using the DSG to get a bit more efficiency from the transmission.

 

3. I'm not sure that it makes a difference to most people; though I've seen speculation (at least by auto reviewers) that the majority of the public prefers the sound of having gears, if for no other reason than it is because it is what they are used to. I have to say, having owned my C-Max less than a year, that I'm still not used to some of the odd whines I hear from the CVT.

 

4. I believe that technically isn't an acronym, since "TMED" doesn't really make a word. It is really more of an abbreviation. 

 

5. Not sure what I can say to this, other than the height on the Niro is allegedly a couple of inches taller than the C-Max. I've also now heard reported that the Niro will have just over 25 cu. ft. of cargo space, so only slightly more than the C-Max. OTOH, it appears the rear hatch is indented at the top (somewhat like the Prius), so it likely has a fair amount more cargo space under the tonneau cover, but the rear hatch intrudes on the upper cargo area.

 

6. My experience with the active noise cancellation seems to be quite mixed. There are times it seems like the active noise cancellation actually makes the noise worse (as others have complained about here). I actually prefer the idea of more noise insulation -- though it will be interesting to see how they do. The problem is that noise insulation adds weight to the car, so it would be hard to add much to a car where you are intentionally trying to keep the weight down for fuel economy purposes. I've added a bit more, from the Autotrader first drive of a pre-production vehicle, below.

 

7. Better placement of the battery is definitely one of the advantages to a dedicated hybrid. OTOH, I have a hard time seeing why Ford didn't stick the C-Max battery under the rear seat -- that area seems largely unused on the C-Max.

 

8. I don't think anyone here sees that lack of 12V battery as an issue, and there do appear to be several advantages, just that we are interested in how they are doing it. As you point out, it makes sense to have a dedicated portion of the HVB, to prevent draining of the full HVB if something is causing a drain or the car sits idle for an extended period. It also raises issues of inefficiency, since you are constantly having to convert the high voltage from the battery down to 12V to run most of the cars accessories.

 

9. It sounds as if the tech will be quite good on this car, at least on the fully equipped model. Hyundai/Kia do have the auto emergency braking, as well as the adaptive cruise control that works down to a complete stop.I believe Kia currently only has a Lane Keep warning, though the mentioned this car will have Lane Keep assist; it will be interesting to see if it actually does actively keep you in your lane (such as the Fusion does).

 

10. From what I saw, this car will not have a Pano roof, only a standard sized sun roof. In some ways that is a shame, as Kia has some nice Pano roofs in their vehicles -- though I'm guessing they might not have included it to help keep the weight down.

 

Last, it is expected that the Niro will have a BEV model, though I don't believe it has been announced. Just that Hyundai recently announced their dedicated hybrid model (same frame and powertrain but a sedan), the Ioniq, and announced there will be both a BEV and plug-in hybrid versions. 

 

As for fuel economy, Autotrader apparently drove a pre-production Niro back in November and got 44-46 mpg in their test drives; they mention they believe the Niro is capable of getting a legitimate 50 mpg in EPA testing. They said that the one drawback was that the ride was overly firm, more like a sports car; though Kia responded that they hadn't tuned the suspension on the car yet. Since they did not mention cabin noise as a drawback, I would assume Kia has done a good job with noise insulation. It will be interesting to see what reviews say when the car is released. It is supposed to be released in the US in January, though apparently it will be released in Europe in late summer.



#18 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 08:58 AM

To me it isn't the noise the CVT makes (although I never hear it make any noise -- I'm guessing you do a lot of driving with the windows down, which here in Florida isn't much of an option) as the fact it just moves so smoothly throughout the entire power range.

 

Perhaps it's a result of being an old man, but since I grew up on manual transmissions and came to automatics rather late in life (in my late 30's) I never thought ANY vehicle I ever owned did the right gear change -- it was either too early or too late.  And I've owned some vehicles that were "touted" for their transmissions.  So I got to the point where I kind of dreaded stepping on the gas or reducing it, because that "clunk" just irritated the hell out or me.

 

But back issues forced me to automatics exclusively and until the C-Max I never even thought there was an alternative.  Now I don't even think about it -- if I need to "go" it just goes, and when I throttle back it's smooth and easy and, as I said, I just can't imagine any other way to drive now (I'm guessing there are other CVTs out there, and hopefully on a hybrid, just in case I can't get another C-Max in a few years).



#19 OFFLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 10:08 AM

I'm somewhat leery on using the HVB to replace the 12 V battery.  It seems that Hybrids do have no starts due to a discharged 12 V battery and that apparently engineers haven't found a way to detect and prevent this.  I doubt it matters as to the source of the power.  At least with a 12 V battery, Hybrids can be "started" via conventional methods.  How will one "jump start" a HVB? Remember, the generator (operated as a motor) is used to start ICE from the HVB.  I assume Kia will be similar.   I'd hate to be stranded hundreds of miles from a Kia dealer.

 

Also, the usable energy in a 1.4 kWh HVB may be less than what's in the normal 12 V battery.  Hence, a parasitic load could discharge the HVB quicker.  I don't know how low one can discharge lithium-ion HVB before the knee of the voltage discharge curve is reached.  The knee is dependent on discharge rate.  Anyways, if one assumes that the HVB could be near 30% SOC at shutdown and the knee is at say 15% SOC, that leaves nominally 1.4 kWh * (30%-15%) energy = 210 Wh of usable energy in the HVB.   At 12 V, that's equivalent to 17.5 Ah (assume 20 hour rating) as Ah capacity depends on the current draw.  IIRC, the C-Max 12 V battery has a rating of around 30-40 Ah (but probably only 60% of that is usable as voltage may be too low to operate the electronics).  It may be wise to see how Kia's system is designed and performs before jumping in to buy one. :)


Edited by Plus 3 Golfer, 17 February 2016 - 10:17 AM.


#20 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 11:25 AM

I'm somewhat leery on using the HVB to replace the 12 V battery.  It seems that Hybrids do have no starts due to a discharged 12 V battery and that apparently engineers haven't found a way to detect and prevent this.  I doubt it matters as to the source of the power.  At least with a 12 V battery, Hybrids can be "started" via conventional methods.  How will one "jump start" a HVB? Remember, the generator (operated as a motor) is used to start ICE from the HVB.  I assume Kia will be similar.   I'd hate to be stranded hundreds of miles from a Kia dealer.

 

Also, the usable energy in a 1.4 kWh HVB may be less than what's in the normal 12 V battery.  Hence, a parasitic load could discharge the HVB quicker.  I don't know how low one can discharge lithium-ion HVB before the knee of the voltage discharge curve is reached.  The knee is dependent on discharge rate.  Anyways, if one assumes that the HVB could be near 30% SOC at shutdown and the knee is at say 15% SOC, that leaves nominally 1.4 kWh * (30%-15%) energy = 210 Wh of usable energy in the HVB.   At 12 V, that's equivalent to 17.5 Ah (assume 20 hour rating) as Ah capacity depends on the current draw.  IIRC, the C-Max 12 V battery has a rating of around 30-40 Ah (but probably only 60% of that is usable as voltage may be too low to operate the electronics).  It may be wise to see how Kia's system is designed and performs before jumping in to buy one. :)

 

I'm sure they will have a way to jump start despite the lack of the 12V battery. I'm guessing it will have terminals under the hood, kind of like we do in the C-Max, just that theirs won't connect to a 12V battery.

 

My best guess is along the line of what SnowStorm speculated, that there will like be a cell (or cells) that act as a 12V battery. I'm guessing they are now confident in the life span of the LiPo battery is such that they believe this cell will last the life of the car (or at least as long as the HVB). Also, to create the HVB they string individual cells of lower voltage in a series, so that the cells working together create the high voltage. So, you could have a one or a few cells, connected separately from the main HVB, so that it creates a 12V battery. In fact, even if this battery fails, it may not be significantly more expensive to replace -- especially if it actually does have a longer lifespan -- than a traditional 12V wet battery.








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