Kia Niro: What does that eco gauge actually measure?

Discussion in 'General' started by Jaral, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. Jaral

    Jaral Well-Known Member

    I return! I was active on this site some 10 years ago, back when I had an old Accord, and boy did I love it. Then it got stolen. Then I had to get a car with an automatic transmission, and it would not hypermile for ***, no matter what I did with it. There wasn't much point in tracking my progress with that car (2007 Optima), so I stopped.

    But this year I got a Niro! Dear god I love this car. It hits EPA rating effortlessly, and just mildly gentle driving gets you in the 55-60mpg range. Plus, comfortable and drives beautifully. A nit to pick: its a very large hatchback, not a CUV. It's also a damn nice large hatchback, and I love hatchbacks.

    In general, I get how this hybrid system works and the information it gives, although minimal, is useful. The instant mpg gauge is helpful. The cumulative mpg reads a bit high on mine; when it tells me I have ~55mpg, I am actually getting about 52.5mpg. Doesn't matter, had.. mpg.

    The eco gauge on the left of the dash cluster confuses me though. Its not a tach, and I can't figure out what information it is actually telling me. Its not instant mpg, its not battery current flow, its... what is it?

    P.S. Your hybrid section needs a Kia entry.
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  2. Jaral

    Jaral Well-Known Member

    Unrelated, my eyes about fell out when my Kia dealer showed me the Guinness World Record and I saw Wayne Gerdes' name on it.

    "Wait, what?! I know who that is!"

    I had a serious hipster knew-him-before-he-was-famous moment.
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  3. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    ECO: Shows that the vehicle is being driven in an eco-friendly manner... Kia owner's manual

    I think it's just a vacuum gauge on the intake.

    Congratulations on your car! What trim level is it? Looking forward to hearing your driving impressions.
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  4. Jaral

    Jaral Well-Known Member

    I don't think it can just be vacuum, because the computer should be running it at optimal throttle almost all the time, and using any excess energy to push the generator instead of the wheels. Also it still indicates... whatever it indicates, when running in electric-only mode.

    I got LX trim. I strongly considered EX but after putting the two side by side and going back and forth between the driver seats a few times, I decided the LX is actually more comfortable. I don't really like the vinyl seat trim in the EX much. Touring was always a bit out of my price range. I straight up love this car. I'm hitting mid 50s right now driving pretty much like anyone else minus the standard lead foot and plus sticking to speed limits.
    BillLin likes this.
  5. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Very nice, and I love that Cerulean Blue.
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  6. Jaral

    Jaral Well-Known Member

    Well as far as I can tell, no one really knows what this gauge is reading. Unless I can somehow get in contact with an engineer at Kia, I will just have to guess. My best guess so far is that it reads throttle position. Not throttle position on the gas engine, which is controlled by the computer, but throttle position input to the computer, ie, the combined input from gas and brake pedal. I think it is basically just giving you a visual of what your left foot is doing with the pedals. The only thing I see that doesn't quite match this hypothesis is that it slips a little down into charge when moving with no pedal input. I think what is happening is it is applying very slight regenerative breaking to simulate the transmission drag that most cars get from coasting in drive.

    At least, this is the best answer I have come up with so far. If this is correct, its not really very useful information. :/
    BillLin likes this.
  7. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Based on typical movement of the Eco gauge, I suspect it is a reading of throttle position versus engine load. To test the theory, try some DWL on a flat road with no wind and see if the needs freezes in position.
    BillLin likes this.

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