Kia Niro EV - Towing Setup Walkthrough

Discussion in 'Kia Niro' started by Ecobrap, Mar 20, 2020.

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  1. Ecobrap

    Ecobrap New Member

    Hey all,

    In this video, we go over some general information, along with a walkthrough of what modifications we did to start towing 3200lbs with our Niro EV.

    Worth noting that we chose the EV over the PHEV, largely due to the transmission. Direct drive with single gear reduction, should be fairly reliable, but we will find out in the long run, especially as we do a cross country towing expedition later this year. California to Utah, towing 3200lbs, including the 7000ft elevation gain over Tahoe. Might have to turn around and regen downhill to make it to a charging station. Should be entertaining to say the least LOL.

    Hope you all enjoy the video, this one took a bit of time. Make sure to subscribe, we have some cool adventures coming up (motorcycle carrier, boat launching, etc).

    KiwiME, Domenick and niro525 like this.
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  3. Thanks for sharing this with us here. The InsideEVs news site wrote up a post for your video.
  4. Shark

    Shark Active Member

    Thanks for sharing. I have lots of experience towing and do like what you have done here.

    But I would just point out a potential liability issue. If you were towing, had to slam on your brakes, the trailer jackknifed and caused an accident in which someone was badly injured, some smart attorney might try to prove their client was injured because you were negligent in towing with a vehicle not designed to do so. Depending on your liability insurance (and umbrella liability policy if you have one) you might be on the hook for big, big bucks.

    Although what's interesting is I don't see anywhere in the owners manual where Kia says not to tow with the Niro EV. Perhaps I missed it, but one possible defense in the very unlikely chance you are faced with such a situation is that Kia never warned you. And in fact if it is missing from the owners manual it might be a substantial oversight by Kia's attorneys. And the smart attorney I mentioned above would likely love to go after Kia rather than you assuming Kia has much deeper pockets.

    As for warranty issues, you mentioned Kia would have to prove that the towing caused the problem with the car. It may not be so simple.

    If there is a problem with the electric motor or gear reduction unit, I would not rule out them denying the warranty claim based on your towing. And if you sue them to enforce the warranty (how much will that cost you?) one would expect them to have one or more of their technicians testify in his/her opinion the towing caused the damage. Sure, you might be able to find your own expert to contradict them, but at what cost? (And you would likely point out there's nothing in the owners manual about the subject, if in fact I did not miss it). And even if you do, that's no guarantee you will prevail in a legal action.

    Chances are it will never come to that, but you do need to recognize you are taking some risk.

    Same thing with the trailer wiring. You don't think a dealer is going to tend to try to blame every subsequent electrical malfunction on damage you caused hooking up the trailer wiring? Take a look at page 9-11 in the owners manual.

    Not saying I would not do the same thing myself, just pointing out there really are some risks.
  5. Very good video, thank you. I would be inclined to add a gearbox oil temperature gauge, at least temporarily if not permanently, to understand how hot it's getting since that's not included in the liquid coolant loop assisting the motor and electronics.
  6. Shark

    Shark Active Member

    Excellent idea. How would you do that?
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  8. davidtm

    davidtm Active Member

    Would that be in the CAN-BUS data? If so, could monitor through Torque Pro/OBD setup.
  9. I haven't seen any evidence that there is a factory gearbox oil temp sensor although there is definitely a motor temp sensor. You could buy a remote temp sensor kit and install it on the housing, or in a pinch just pull over and measure it from under the hood with a IR thermal gun. Not towing v.s. towing comparisons would be useful data.
    I don't expect it to overheat like a conventional automatic might, but the oil is a straight 70W (GL4) which is already pretty thin (almost like ATF) and will get thinner as it gets hotter. There are of course GL4 multigrades up to around 90 wt which if substituted won't make it run cooler but might protect the final drive gears better.

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