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2021 Kia Niro HEV
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all

Just bought my first KIA: a 2021 Kia Niro hybrid. One question I had that the dealers could not answer was about the regenerative braking modes and their relation to fuel economy. Does it make any difference in terms of fuel economy/battery charge whether I use the brake pedal to brake or whether I use one of the three regenerative braking modes operated via the left paddle on the steering wheel? Do you use these modes, and what is your rationale for using them?

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Priit
 

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Sorento SX AWD 2015
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I haven't heard of them hear, at least yet. Used on commercial vehicles. It typically turns the drive motor(s) into a generator using the kinetic energy of motion to create(generate) current back into the batteries and slowing the vehicle down. That load on the motor produces the braking power and the more power it generates the more braking load is created.
 

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2020 Niro EV SX Touring
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I have the EV version, but my understanding is that the brakes do the exact same thing as the paddles until you press hard enough to engage the physical brakes. Whatever method you use to slow the car, it will first use regen followed by physical brakes. In theory it is better to never use the brakes because that kinetic energy is lost as heat. It's better yet not to use regen at all and just coast as much as possible because regen is nowhere near 100% efficient at capturing the energy back - but it's better than braking, and you have to drive very very carefully to coast to a stop all the time!
 

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2019 Kia Niro EV Premium
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Hi Priit, I drive the EV version of the Niro, but the regen braking process is similar to the hybrid. In essence, the regen braking is recharging your battery, which will improve your overall mileage. More importantly, it will reduce the wear and tear on your brakes. I sit on level 2 regen most of the time, which slows the vehicle so nicely that I hardly ever use the brakes...unless I need to come to a full stop. Once you get used to driving using the regen, you will never want to be without it again. Coming off freeways or driving on curvy roads becomes a breeze without ever really having to use your brakes. I regularly drive on a curvy road going over a mountain pass, ending up with more available miles of travel than when I started going over the pass. Every curve allows for replacement energy to the battery, even on uphills. There are very few curves where I would ever apply the brakes. Of course, if you are an aggressive driver and push every curve to the max, you will need to utilize your brakes.
 
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2021 Kia Niro HEV
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Awesome, thank you for the insight! Yeah, I've been using the regenerative brakes quite a bit in my first weeks of driving the Niro. I kinda paddle through them: generally sitting on level 1, shifting to 2 or 3 if the situation demands it, trying to avoid having to use the brakes. I have been getting good mileage on most trips (50-53), so hopefully it is paying off. This is my first hybrid, so I still have some way to go to wane myself off my "dynamic" driving style as Kia would describe it.
 
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