Kia Niro under-rated battery – longer range possible!

Battery and Charging System

Taken from the Kia Niro EV forum:

I knew the Niro EV had an underrated battery. I’ve seen reports on the Internet about seeing upwards of 280 miles on a charge.

Well, today, in preparation for a “long” journey (275 miles one way), I charged my Niro EV to 100%. I typically charge to 80% for battery longevity. I had to take a short journey before it reached 100%, so at 92% it was showing 306 miles of range. I can’t wait to see what 100% brings!

My journey has only two places to charge along the way. The first leg, which gets me to Electrify America fast chargers, is just 97 miles. If those chargers are down, however, the next fast charging place is 178 miles from the starting location. Should be able to make that easily, but at least for this maiden long journey, I would rather be ultra conservative. I’ve seen people getting around 3.7kWh per mile, so I expect something around there.

The trip was uneventful. In fact, it felt pretty… normal.

My trip was from the Dallas, Texas area to the San Antonio, Texas area. The journey is about 305 miles (about 491 km) one way. There are two logical stopping points: First in Waco, Texas where there is an Electrify America charger installation. If those are down, there is little around this area, so I hope chargers appear elsewhere.

On this first leg of the journey, I got about 3.9 miles/kWh with the air conditioning running in about 92°F heat (33°C). For the most part, I was not using cruise control.

Charging at the Electrify America station was around 1% per minute going from 60 to 80%. Yeah, it seems like a waste of time to charge here, but the next stretch is to Round Rock, Texas… with NOTHING in between. I also got to see a Jaguar I-Pace charging there, too. Maybe an even more rare sight than my Kia Niro EV!

Since my Niro EV is new, I have 1 month of free charging at EVGO stations. Nice! I visited the Round Rock, Texas charging station at the Round Rock Outlet Mall. (For future reference, the chargers are in the south-east parking area, near the kids play area.) This segment was sometimes using the wonderful cruise control and air conditioning in about 96°F heat (35°C). I achieved 3.8 miles/kWh at around 70-75 MPH (113-121 KPH).

While the EVGO chargers were slower than the EA chargers (46kW vs 72kW), the overall wait was about the same charging to 80%. The cooling fan was going at top speed while charging in the hot weather. Oh, and by the way, the bathrooms at Round Rock Outlet Malls are terrible.

Once in San Antonio, I had plenty of charge left for my around-the-city driving. I visited an EA charger at Walmart in the north-east of the city to charge for my trip back. Got to chat with a Toyota Tundra owner who wanted to know about charging a Tesla at these stations. I advised him about the Chademo adapter, and he thanked me for making up for his carbon emissions.


Watching the weather, I noticed I would be going into a headwind on the way back. PlugShare said there was no significant elevation difference, so I decided to try worst-case driving on the way back.

The first segment back to Round Rock was uneventful, although it took me about 1.5 hours to leave San Antonio, due to traffic. That’s when I fell in love with the cruise control. It really makes start-and-stop traffic less stressful. At the Round Rock EVGO station, I registered 3.7 miles/kWh. I expected this drop due to the headwinds.

The next segment also had some stop-and-go traffic through some construction areas, but overall I was able to keep up with traffic. I used the cruise control exclusively, with the air conditioning going as it was around 101°F (38°C) on the way back. I also kept up with the fast traffic this time around 80 MPH (129 KPH). Sure enough, I dropped to 3.6 miles/kWh at the EA charger in Waco.

As I pulled up to the station, I saw a new LEAF charging and… a Toyota Camry. A tall African gentleman was looking puzzled, so I asked if I could help. He just wanted to know about EVs and was amazed that there were fully-electric cars. I took him for a short, spirited drive around the parking lot and he was amazed. He said these would never work in Africa because they always experience days- or weeks-long power outages, but he was happy to see them here.

Charging at the EA station this time (even at the station I originally used) did not work. I tried 3 different stalls before calling EA. To their credit, they were quickly available and, after some chatting, rebooted my charging station. A 5-minute reboot wait and my car was charging successfully at 72kW.

The final segment home, I also went fast with the knowledge that I had plenty of range left. It was a little closer than I predicted, arriving at home with about 25% capacity left with, again, 3.6 miles/kWh.

I’m so impressed with this car, especially since I gave it a “worst case” scenario (headwinds, 80 MPH, cruise on, hot weather) and it still did remarkably well. Now, to get my wife out of the driver’s seat. She loves it too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *