Kia Niro EV Won’t Charge

Owning a Kia Niro is a great choice for you and the planet. But if your Niro won’t charge then it becomes a big problem. There’s always a solution; below we discuss why it won’t charge.

Common reasons your Kia Niro won’t charge include:

  • Problems with the charging cable
  • Scheduled charging set
  • 12V battery issues

In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why your Kia Niro won’t charge and ways to fix the problem.

Problems with the Kia Niro Charging Cable

Your Kia Niro must be plugged into a power source to charge. This is the first place to look if the car won’t charge. There are 3 ways to charge your Kia Niro.

  1. AC – Level 2 at home or Destination Charger
  2. DC – Fast charger
  3. Trickle charge (Level 1)

AC – Level 2 Charger at Home or Destination Charger

Kia recommends that you use a Level 2 charger either at home or at a public destination charger. Your Kia Niro does not come equipped with a Level 2 cable as standard (some models may include one).

A level 2 charger can only be installed by a qualified electrician and should have its own breaker on your circuit.

The Niro EV uses a Type 2 connection, which will charge your car in approximately 9 hours.

But sometimes we run into problems with the Level 2 cable. This can range from a damaged cable to overloading of the circuit to foreign bodies in the socket preventing a complete connection.

Damaged Cable

EV charging cables are made of robust plastic and rubber but they can get damaged and if they do they will no longer charge your car efficiently.

The biggest culprit for damage is your car’s wheels and tires. It’s really important that you don’t drive over your cable.

Cables live in your garage or outside. If you drive over them the internal wires and makeup get damaged. If your car can’t make a complete safe circuit then charging won’t begin.

Firstly unplug the cable from both the wall and your car.

Examine the cable thoroughly, looking for any cracks, unusual bulges, or splitting. If you find any, you must replace the cable. The cable can’t be repaired and must be disposed of appropriately.

Replacement cables can be purchased online or through the Kia dealership.

Circuit Overloading

Your wall charger’s circuit may have overloaded at some point during the charging process, or even prior to plugging in.

Overloading will cause the circuit to trip. This is usually because of an error in your cable (damage) or another heavy-duty item has been plugged in, in the same zone as your charger. Everything in this zone is now unavailable.

This of course is a good thing as without a circuit breaker you will have a fire.

Look around your charging area to spot any unusual items plugged in, such as power washers or any high-usage item with an element such as a dryer.

If there is anything, unplug it, and go and check your circuit board. Flick the switch back on and hopefully, you’ll be back charging with no further difficulties. If it trips again then there is a bigger electrical issue. Unless you are a certified electrician, you will need to call one to check what’s going on.

Unplug everything in that zone and don’t use them until the electrician arrives.

This doesn’t help your charging position. Hopefully, you have enough range to get you to a fast charger or a destination charger nearby.

Foreign Objects or Debris in Cable

If your cable seems fine and nothing seems to have tripped there could be something wrong with the connection seal. This could be a foreign object in your connection.

With the cable unplugged at both ends check the connection for any debris. This can be anything from fluff or leaves to a bug. Bugs like the heat and climb in the connection without you realizing it.

If your onboard computer can’t make a complete seal then charging won’t begin.

Don’t stick anything sharp or pointy into the connection. If you can see anything there use a small soft brush or plastic tweezers to remove the item.

DC – Fast Charger

If you are having problems at a destination or fast charger, it’s easy to assume that it’s your car that’s the problem. But more often than not it’s the charger that is giving trouble.

Most fast charging stations are regularly monitored, (less so with destination chargers) but they can still cause trouble.

There could be a reduction in power in the area or an individual charger could be down.

Try moving to another charger. It’s a good idea to move to one that another customer has just used.

New Kia Niro models come with 500kWh of free charging, (about 1500-2000 miles) with Electrify America. If you have been using a fast charger on a regular basis, it could be that your free charging has run out.

Trickle Charging

Trickle charging is Level charging. It is not recommended by Kia as it takes so long to increase the range (about 36 hours). But many people find that this suits fine. Your Niro might not be your primary car, or you might not do a whole lot of miles. If your trickle charge is not working, the reasons are usually the same as your AC Level 2 – damage to the cable, or an overloaded circuit.

Reserved Charging Set

Kia Niro has the function to set a specific charging time and day. This may have been interrupted or hasn’t yet happened. This can explain the reason your Niro hasn’t charged.

You can check if a schedule is set by doing the following:

  • Select EV option
  • Select Charge Management Tab
  • Charging & Climate
    • Settings Icon (cog)
    • Scheduled Charging
  • Select the Start and End Time
    • You can select Off Peak only or Time Priority
  • Select Ok
  • After you connect the cable, scheduled charging will begin at the set time (this might be immediately)
  • Once the time is set, tap the ‘Next Dpearture’ settings (cog)
    • Departure
    • Select the Day frequency
    • Click Ok
  • There are a couple of reasons why you might not realize a Schedule Charge is set up. The car could have been in a dealership for a service and they set up a schedule and never canceled it. Or, you share the car with someone else and they set it up without telling you.

You can override the Schedule by connecting the cable and pressing the Deactivation button, located just below the steering wheel, on the left-hand side, within 3 minutes.

12V Battery Issues

All EVs, including the Niro, have two batteries. The high voltage battery and also a 12V battery.

The 12V runs all the auxiliary items in your EV, such as locking, window function, and media. If your 12V is flat then your car won’t charge or start.

The 12V lives under the hood. The hood latch is released by pulling the lever on the left-hand side in the driver’s footwell. It has an icon of an open hood.

Go to the front of the car and gently slide the latch, located in the middle, to the left. Your 12V is located on the right-hand side near the front.

The high voltage cables are identified by bright orange. Don’t touch them!

Remove the terminal caps for both the positive and negative. You can check the voltage with a battery charger or multi-meter. Anything less than 12V+, your battery requires a boost.

A booster is the better option but not always practical or available. You can jump your car from a donor gas car but never another EV.

Either way, the cables need to be attached in a particular sequence.

  • Connect the Red (+) to Red (+)
  • Connect the Black (-) to Black (-)
  • Your battery charger will give you a reading of the voltage in your battery if it’s a digital booster.
  • Turn on the battery pack
  • When 12V+ is achieved, disconnect the cables in the reverse order
  • Black and Black (-)
  • Red and Red (+)

Hopefully, the battery now has enough charge to get you going.

If your 12V is continually discharging or not holding a charge, it’s probably time for a new one. The factory-installed 12V is pretty standard. If you need a new one, it’s worth up specking to a better brand or indeed purchasing one of the acid-free Li-Ion ones.

They are more expensive at approximately $400-$500, but they have a much longer life span. They don’t however like a lot of cold, so speak to your Kia dealership if you live in a cold state.

The 12V is boosted by the high-voltage battery, models post-2020 have a software update that gives the battery a lift every 24 hours but your 12V can still run into problems.

Your 12V has most likely drained because something has been left on, such as interior lights. However, if you have extras plugged in, particularly a dash cam, this is known to drain the 12V. It’s good to check that the dash cam is switched off when you exit the car.

You can switch the car to Utility Mode if you wish to have things plugged in while you’re stationary and this will save the 12V. But the 12V is an integral part of charging your car and if it’s flat, then this won’t happen.

If you are relying on a scheduled charge to begin, and the 12V is below a certain level, this won’t kick in. If a 12V goes below 10V a number of times then it’s considered goosed. It won’t ever really recover or hold a charge to 12V again and needs to be replaced.

The life of an acid battery is approximately 3-5 years whereas a Li-Ion 12V (really 16V) will last 10 years plus.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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