Kia Optima Forums banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I have looked in this forum a bunch of times to find answers to PHEV-specific questions but often there aren't enough owners of the PHEV's to generate enough info. That said I appreciate what info people have posted! So I figure, now that I have a PHEV-specific issue, I should give back a bit and document things here for future visitors.

I have a 2017 PHEV, with the tech package, bought new in April of '17 (now has about 39k miles). At that time they were only selling them in a few states, Illinois being one. Was hard as **** to even get one with the right/package color. Anyway I've now had it for almost 4 years, and mostly am very happy with it.

All batteries decay a bit over time. On the HV battery packs in Kia cars, looking at the averages I've seen posted, it should typically be around 2% or a little more per year. So I should have 90%+ of the battery energy capacity remaining at this point. And until maybe 3 months ago, at about the 3.5 year mark, that held. The 25 to 29 miles of electric-only range was more 23-26 typically. I always run in ECO mode, FWIW.

Then it started to tank. When I start the car, fully charged, the range estimate on the dash that used to say anywhere from 26 to 29 (depending on air temp and whether or not I was running HVAC), now says 19 when fully charged. And it isn't just an artifact in the software that provides the number - I've tested it via odometer a few times and last I tried I got 16 miles before it flipped to HEV. That is a drop of near 40%. No other problems with the car, and I've kept it in regular maintenance including any recalls. So I made an appointment at my local dealer (Liberty Kia, in Libertyville, IL) to have it tested and checked.

But that dealer called me the day before and said they cannot do the checks I need. Only dealers and mechanic(s) certified on PHEV, and with the right equipment, can do it. Amazingly, there appears to be just ONE DEALER in the entire MIdwest who can do it - Bob Rohrman Kia in Schaumburg, IL. I feel really badly for anyone who owns one of these and lives in the Midwest but not in the Chicago area.

Took it there today. Tested the range on the way since it's a bit of a drive, got 17 miles in this case before it went zero and switched. I assumed that with an appointment, and this being just a test of some kind, I would be there an hour or two. Well after an hour I was told that in order to even do the testing, they need to fully charge the battery and then run some kind of process after, all of which takes a few hours before they even get to the testing stuff. So they gave me a loaner and sent me home.

Now I wait, and I will update this thread as I find things out. Hopefully this ends up being helpful for folks if they have a similar issue. Also hope that this can be fixed without headaches (it is still well within warranty). Hopefully the answer comes today, but might be tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
2012 Black SX Prem. & Tech.
Joined
·
2,194 Posts
hmm i wonder if a large section of the battery malfunctioned?

Like perhaps a cell in a module failed, so the battery controller locked out the entire module and now your capacity is reduced by that amount?

I don't know the specific structure of the Kia battery, but I've watched videos of other cars where you can selectively replace one module if you need to, like it is modular and somewhat easy to do that replacement. But it's harder to replace an individual cell, and the cells all have to be matched etc., so better to just replace on a per-module basis.

But I wonder if the modular approach is beyond the scope of what the dealer can accomplish, so they just order an entire battery new?
 

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hmm i wonder if a large section of the battery malfunctioned?

Like perhaps a cell in a module failed, so the battery controller locked out the entire module and now your capacity is reduced by that amount?

I don't know the specific structure of the Kia battery, but I've watched videos of other cars where you can selectively replace one module if you need to, like it is modular and somewhat easy to do that replacement. But it's harder to replace an individual cell, and the cells all have to be matched etc., so better to just replace on a per-module basis.

But I wonder if the modular approach is beyond the scope of what the dealer can accomplish, so they just order an entire battery new?
That certainly could be it - I don't know. But this isn't a fully electric car where the battery pack(s) are huge. A typical Tesla pack for example has nearly 10 times as much energy storage, which doesn't align perfectly with size or modularity but I am sure it dramatically increases the cost of replacing the full set. Plus there is always the possibility they replace a module or modules, only to then find out it was something else and have to go in again anyway. So my barely-educated guess is they would replace the full pack at once, in the case of these Kia PHEV's. In the end I don't care that much as it is under warranty, though obviously a nice new full pack would probably give me an extra mile or two!
 

·
Registered
2012 Black SX Prem. & Tech.
Joined
·
2,194 Posts
This mechanic shows how to pull out the hybrid battery from a Sonata hybrid, and that the battery is stamped with the Hyundai and Kia logos:


But a quick check shows it's like $9K for the whole battery?

The mechanic in the video claims he will make another video showing how to disassemble the hybrid battery (e.g., remove the battery modules) but I don't see any such video.
 

·
Registered
2013 Kia Optima
Joined
·
178 Posts
This mechanic shows how to pull out the hybrid battery from a Sonata hybrid, and that the battery is stamped with the Hyundai and Kia logos:


But a quick check shows it's like $9K for the whole battery?

The mechanic in the video claims he will make another video showing how to disassemble the hybrid battery (e.g., remove the battery modules) but I don't see any such video.
i've seen that with most make of vehicles where they last an average of about 10 years and cost an average of about $10K with reman at about half that. the dealer hopefully replaces it under warranty but if not may pro rate it.
 

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This mechanic shows how to pull out the hybrid battery from a Sonata hybrid, and that the battery is stamped with the Hyundai and Kia logos:

But a quick check shows it's like $9K for the whole battery?

The mechanic in the video claims he will make another video showing how to disassemble the hybrid battery (e.g., remove the battery modules) but I don't see any such video.
i've seen that with most make of vehicles where they last an average of about 10 years and cost an average of about $10K with reman at about half that. the dealer hopefully replaces it under warranty but if not may pro rate it.
Considering the car's drivetrain and everything associated with the PHEV all have 10/100 warranties and I am at 3.5/39, if they try to pull some proration crap they are going to have a fight on their hands. I've reviewed the warranty documents and there is nothing about prorating costs. Just repairing/replacing at no cost. So that is what I expect. Although I suppose it is possible that A) this is a BMS problem and could be a software or chip issue, or B) there might be some sort of battery conditioning routine they can perform to address it electrically. Whatever it takes to fix it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
This mechanic shows how to pull out the hybrid battery from a Sonata hybrid, and that the battery is stamped with the Hyundai and Kia logos:


But a quick check shows it's like $9K for the whole battery?

The mechanic in the video claims he will make another video showing how to disassemble the hybrid battery (e.g., remove the battery modules) but I don't see any such video.
The 2017 Kia Optima PHEV battery is actuallly easier to get to. It basically replaces the spare tire and is a big square box in the bottom of the trunk. It is slightly different as well (more square, less rectangular).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
hmm i wonder if a large section of the battery malfunctioned?

Like perhaps a cell in a module failed, so the battery controller locked out the entire module and now your capacity is reduced by that amount?
There is a piece of software called PHEV Watchdog for Android phones that will connect to a wireless OBDII connectors and tell you a lot of information about the Kia PHEV battery. (It's originally designed for Kia Hybrids, but the author has expanded it to also read battery information from the PHEVs....)

If the original poster had that software and an OBDII adapter I'd really like to see what it said before taking it in for service. As a point of comparison, here is what my 2017 Kia Optima PHEV showed in December of last year:

249806


249807
 

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well so far this is quite painful.

They were supposed to call me back by end of day yesterday but didn't, so I called, and they said they need to keep the car overnight. They will call me first thing next morning. Fine. Talked with my service contact this morning. He tells me that, after the car was fully charged, one of their techs drove it home about 15 miles away. Then this morning drove it back another 15. And according to her, it stayed in "EV" mode the entire drive.

This is of course not useful information at all. First of all you are comparing apples to oranges since I have no idea how this person drives, what accessories or features they were running while driving, etc. Second, you are trying to tell me the car got MORE EV range than I have ever gotten, including when it was brand new? Baloney. Not even possible. Third, your crew so proudly told me when I booked the appointment that you were the only dealer in the Midwest certified to do EV-specific stuff, and you are saying that in 24 hours all you managed to do was charge it, then drive it? Are you ** serious? Any dealer could do that. I can do that. Fourth, it is winter in Chicagoland. The gas engine engages shortly after you turn on the car to run the heat, because the car lacks an electric heater. So you are using the gas engine too, which makes your test of the range kind of useless unless you turn off the HVAC (she said she ran it with typical accessories).

So at this point I was very blunt (no yelling or cursing or anything, I don't go that route), and told them I asked for a very specific thing when I brought the car in. I asked them to please determine the health and state of the battery pack and related systems. I even used the word Diagnostic, multiple times. As in, tell me the data. What is the current battery capacity, versus when new? When fully charged, how much energy is there, versus when new? Are there any signs of non-responsive units/modules batteries? How is it at 1.5 days you haven't yet done this thing that should take you all of 5 minutes? She also said Kia expects them to follow certain steps in a certain order, which I said I get, but then why didn't you tell me YESTERDAY these steps were necessary? And I am sure it would not be some huge breach of the rules for them to run a **** diagnostic for a few minutes and look for issues when you've already wasted 1.5 days.

Anyway she says she would work with her foreman who has a tablet with more info than her's, to see what they could see, and will call me back within the hour. I have a feeling I'll be calling in about 1.5 hours when they failed to call me back.

I'll update again later. But...

There is a piece of software called PHEV Watchdog for Android phones that will connect to a wireless OBDII connectors and tell you a lot of information about the Kia PHEV battery. (It's originally designed for Kia Hybrids, but the author has expanded it to also read battery information from the PHEVs....)

If the original poster had that software and an OBDII adapter I'd really like to see what it said before taking it in for service. As a point of comparison, here is what my 2017 Kia Optima PHEV showed in December of last year:
Yep, I knew about a year ago, but at that time it didn't support the Optima PHEV. Now it does, and I will download and use it! But I have not yet actually used it before because I didn't know about the support update until yesterday.
 

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Talked now with three people there today. I got the foreman who I think finally sorta "got it", after all the talk of test drives and checking for error codes. If the battery is degrading that might not throw an error - just like the L-ion batteries in a laptop, if they start to decay, that won't necessarily be an error situation because it still holds a charge, just a much smaller one. So I pleaded with him to get the actual data on battery health and energy, to compare to specs. At first he seemed to argue that all his testing would be able to tell him was if the battery was good or bad, but looking at the output from the example above in this thread from PHEV Watchdog, it seems clear there is much more useful raw data than that available. I explained this and he said he would look.

He said he will get it done and contact me tomorrow morning or possibly tonight. If I don't get anywhere tomorrow, I'll pick up the car, put on the OBD link device (ordered today, arrives tomorrow), start up the app and see what I can see. Thanks everyone so far for your input.
 

·
Registered
2012 Black SX Prem. & Tech.
Joined
·
2,194 Posts
didn't you say that this dealership was special for being able to diagnose the battery?

From what you've described, this sounds like a typical dealership that has no idea about batteries or other aspects of the car specifically?
 

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
didn't you say that this dealership was special for being able to diagnose the battery?

From what you've described, this sounds like a typical dealership that has no idea about batteries or other aspects of the car specifically?
I've had this exact same thought. Every time I've spoken with them, in fact. Here's the latest:

They didn't call this morning (shocking, I know), so I called them at like 11:30. Apparently they did some more functional testing and used a different scanner to look for issues and found none. Now, having used up most of the battery, they need to charge it up, so that they can do the battery health and capacity checks. They say this will likely take 5-6 hours. Why they didn't charge it overnight, do the battery health tests first, THEN do the draining stuff, is beyond me. Also, how the **** does this supposed EV-specialist shop not have a rapid charger? Mine charges in 7 hours from flat, just plugged into a regular wall outlet. WTF guys.

So tomorrow morning at 9am, I am going down there (in the loaner I still have), to look at the data they can pull. Looking at the output from the watchdog app, it is clear the car CAN provide meaningful raw data about the energy storage and capacity (in Ah and KWh), as well as the voltage and throughput of the cells, at least. I asked them to see if they can get that kind of info. Then we can see where we stand.

Now I need to go dig around the interwebs for the original specs on that battery pack, so that I know what I am comparing it to. I don't expect the batteries to still have 100% of the energy storage they did when new, but it really should only have dropped by some single digit percentage. Wish me luck!
 

·
Registered
2017 Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Following with interest. I too have a 2017 PHEV purchased in April of 2017. My electric range hasn't suffered quite as much as yours, but it's definitely down a lot. The estimate with a full battery now shows maybe 23-24 miles, but it dropped to 6 remaining miles after a 10 mile drive the other day (mostly ~65 mph). The weather these days is as benign as could be as well.

I figure in a year or two the range will be so bad that Kia won't be able to deny anything's wrong. @BlueUnicorn, have you learned anything since your last post in this thread?
 

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Following with interest. I too have a 2017 PHEV purchased in April of 2017. My electric range hasn't suffered quite as much as yours, but it's definitely down a lot. The estimate with a full battery now shows maybe 23-24 miles, but it dropped to 6 remaining miles after a 10 mile drive the other day (mostly ~65 mph). The weather these days is as benign as could be as well.

I figure in a year or two the range will be so bad that Kia won't be able to deny anything's wrong. @BlueUnicorn, have you learned anything since your last post in this thread?
This is weird, I could have sworn I posted an update Sunday night. It seems to be gone now. Yes, got some good info, or at least useful info. Will post momentarily...
 

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Alright, so this is what happened that Saturday morning when I went to go get the car.

Most importantly, I FINALLY got them to actually run the battery health check and diagnostics to show me. I was able to see it myself on their tablet. The individual cells all were showing voltage diff of .02 or less, which is good. But the overall SOH (Battery health, as capacity) was 74.1%. That mean it has dropped almost 26% in 3.5 years (39k miles). Not quite as much loss as my mileage-based estimates projected (which was more like 35%), but still it is a lot more than it should be.

I asked them if that was normal, because it seemed like a lot of loss in that period, to me. They hemmed and hawed a bit (probably trying to be careful what they said), but didn't exactly disagree with me either. Here is the key piece of info though: 70%. That is the magic number. If the SOH falls below 70%, they send the data to Kia corporate, and they will confirm the battery is "bad". At that point, if it is still under warranty (which it very much is in this case), Kia will replace the entire pack free of charge with a brand new one. No partial repairs or module swaps, and no proration.

So mostly this is good news - confirmed I am not crazy, confirmed Kia does full new replacements when needed without cost, and gave me a precise number to look for. Of course, none of this really excuses that they had the car for three effing days before they did this, which I politely but directly told them. They were somewhat apologetic, but basically, they have to follow some procedures or else Kia won't cover costs.

Oh and, here's a kicker. The lead tech explained basically that what Liberty Kia had told me - that I needed to go to an EV-certified shop to do this kind of testing - is B.S. The tests he showed me on his device, literally any dealer can run. The EV certification is only about the pure electric vehicles. For hybrids and PHEV's, any dealer can do all the same stuff, or should be able to. This doesn't necessarily mean the guy at Liberty was lying intentionally - I already know they rarely ever get PHEV Optima's in there (when I did my first regular maintenance there, they said this was their first ever work on one). They may just not have known, and were possibly too lazy to really find out. Anyway, good to know for others - these sorts of tests can be done at any Kia shop!

HERE IS WHAT IS NEXT... I bought an OBDLink MX+, got it connected and working on the car. Downloaded the PHEV Watchdog app. So far I am having a bit of an issue with the app, which I am emailing back and forth with the developer about (the Battery Condition screen comes up blank, even though the Cell Chart is live and working). But assuming that issue can be cleared, I will just be checking the SOH on that app periodically. If/when it drops below 70% (seems likely in the near future, given the trend) and stays there for a few days, I'll go back to the dealer and get the ball rolling on a new pack. I suppose if it never drops any further (unlikely) then I'm just stuck with a three-quarters battery.

We'll see how things go!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Here is the key piece of info though: 70%. That is the magic number. If the SOH falls below 70%, they send the data to Kia corporate, and they will confirm the battery is "bad". At that point, if it is still under warranty (which it very much is in this case), Kia will replace the entire pack free of charge with a brand new one. No partial repairs or module swaps, and no proration.


HERE IS WHAT IS NEXT... I bought an OBDLink MX+, got it connected and working on the car. Downloaded the PHEV Watchdog app. So far I am having a bit of an issue with the app, which I am emailing back and forth with the developer about (the Battery Condition screen comes up blank, even though the Cell Chart is live and working). But assuming that issue can be cleared, I will just be checking the SOH on that app periodically. If/when it drops below 70% (seems likely in the near future, given the trend) and stays there for a few days, I'll go back to the dealer and get the ball rolling on a new pack. I suppose if it never drops any further (unlikely) then I'm just stuck with a three-quarters battery.

We'll see how things go!
Hurm...that makes me want to know what the State of Health (SOH) is for my battery. I've got some numbers in this screenshot, but I didn't see a "SOH" label on it, is the 88.6% the current state of charge, or the current state of health?

249857
 

·
Registered
2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hurm...that makes me want to know what the State of Health (SOH) is for my battery. I've got some numbers in this screenshot, but I didn't see a "SOH" label on it, is the 88.6% the current state of charge, or the current state of health?

View attachment 249857
My understanding is that State of Health (SOH) is generally represented by that charge total number (88.6% in your screenshot) when it is fully charged. So if that is fully charged, then your battery has 88.6% of it's original spec energy capacity.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top