2020 Kia Niro EV

Please Note: This page is just for my 2020 Kia Niro EV, USA model. There may be things here that work on other cars, but I have no idea, and I do not guarantee your experiences are the same as mine. Please be careful when trying to update firmware to follow the instructions from Kia.

Just bought one in May. My two Fiat 500e's were fun and cute, but the range of 80 miles and less in the winter made round trips of 30 miles dicey. I also could use a bit more space.

I researched the Chevy Bolt, the Hyundai Kona and the Kia. I'm tall, so the 2019 Bolt was out, many complaints, and the 2020 was just coming too late in the year, as my Fiat lease is up in a month.

So it was really down to the Hyundai and the Kia... probably the biggest differentiator was the rear seat room, with the Hyundai, if the front seats are way back, there is basically a friction fit for people's legs in the back seat. The Kia is about 4-1/2 inches longer overall, and there is 4-1/2 inches more legroom in the back seat. Also there is significantly more interior cargo space, like one more large suitcase... mostly from the wider rear opening and the 4-1/2 inches in length.

In 2020 there is a larger display inside and it is much nicer than the previous year.

After buying:

Sign up for the UVO connectivity app. Works OK. Set the charging schedule to match your discounted electric price times. www.kia.com/owners After signing up, load the Kia Access app on your phone.

There are some how to's on YouTube, www.kia.com/howto  will take you there. Some OK, some worthless.

Manuals: main manual https://www.kiatechinfo.com/ext_If/kma_owner_portal/content_pop.aspx

Read my FAQs

Just click here to read the Kia Niro FAQs. I have read virtually all posts on FOUR Kia Niro forums and listed up the things that people ask over and over.

Do this first!!!

Stuff I have done to improve the car:

Bought the cargo net for the back,I went to https://kiastuff.com/ good prices and delivery. Really helps keeps stuff from sliding around all over the place.

It's really easy to trigger the unlock button on the remote when it is in your pocket. The fob is easy to take apart. I added a couple of pieces of high density foam between the button and circuit board to radically increase the pressure required. I also added an inexpensive rubber boot around the fob, they are on Amazon


Stuff I will do to improve the car:

Blinding dash trim:

There is a shiny silver trim piece going across the dash, with a couple of bends in it. If the sun is shining down, there WILL be a blinding reflection of the sun in your eyes, and it gets really bad some times. It's terrible.  I'm going to look for a matte vinyl trim put on this. Have to be careful they don't slice the dash, or cover the lights underneath it.

This is terrible, looking for some matte vinyl "wrap" to stop this, also the trim on the console and the shift knob. Don't they have sunlight in Korea?

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Obnoxious reverse warning beep

On the 2020, the level of the beeping when backing up is really loud, like 85 dB.

It is in a speaker behind the front nose trim, where you cannot see it.

Stifle the backup warning noise, beeps REALLY LOUD outside, and inside, although inside beep can be disabled, but turns back on next drive, will disconnect or find way to reduce volume.

I found someone that had investigate how this works, and funny enough he is a large scale train guy also: Eric Reuter

The following applies to the Hyundai Kona. While the speaker may be the same, the wiring is different in the Kia.


Here's a manual entry on removing the front bumper cover:


A friend sent me this schematic, but realize it is for a 2019 Kona



Ok so now investigate the Kia, what you see is a 2020 Kia Niro EV, no idea if other models are different.

I pulled the switch panel off, you remove the left side panel, then pull 2 screws to pull the lower panel away (it must come away first) and then you can remove the switch panel with one screw.

I managed to open the panel, and investigated the insides, especially where the "blank switch" is.


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you can see the location for the missing switch, SW4, and notice it says "latch"

there are 2 leads from this switch, the one on the left has a test point on the other side, TP20, and it goes to pin 16
the other lead, on the right, comes out to TP11 and goes nowhere

The other side of the board shows the test points:

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notice TP17 is right next to TP11, and there are solder pads where a resistor could go and TP17 goes to pin 13

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note also that pin 12 is directly across from pin 24,

Unfortunately, in the plug, there are no wires to pins 13 or 16, so if this switch was to turn off the backup beep, or moving sound, there are no wires in the harness to make the switch work.

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So the next investigation is to get a current wiring diagram for the 2020 Niro EV, and see if the wires from the speaker go anywhere. Failing that, then it will take pulling the front bumper cover and make modifications there.... Seems that the 2019 models were easier to modify, and definitely the 2017.

Settings not remembered

Find a way to have sport mode "remembered", resets every time, would also be nice for decel mode, etc.


OBD2 reader

Just something to play with, getting the Car Scanner app (icon is side view of a motor with fan, air cleaner and torque converter) and a Veepeak OBD2 bluetooth dongle OBDCheck VP11. Android app works with BT so the dongle is cheap, liek $13. If you are so unlucky as to be using an iPhone, you need to buy the more expensive dongle that has WiFi (and it's bigger of course)

Another neat gadget is the extension cable below with a power switch to disconnect the dongle to avoid battery drain, and other possible problems, and not have clearance problems when the dongle is in.





Well, apparently the "let me help you optimize your life" idiots have invaded the simple task of charging. Why do I say this?

  1. You cannot enter the charging schedule in the car, you must use the stupid app.
  2. The app is really goofy, you cannot just enter the special rate hours for charging, you must enter TWO schedules for when you want the car charged, a "departure" time. WTF? Where I live the super off peak rates are midnight to 6am weekdays and midnight to 12pm. So the way this apparently works is it "helps" you be sure the car is charged before you go, as the schedules just ask when you need to leave, so I told it 6am on the weekdays, and 9am on the weekends. I'll report back if this works as I am guessing.
  3. Apparently you may be able to set this in the car if you get some extra cost software, more later.
  4. If you don't have the schedule set, it automatically charges as soon as you plug in your charger, and I have seen the damn thing start charging even with a schedule set... so the normal thing is you drive home, plug in the charger go inside and eventually go to sleep, but now you have to watch the stupid thing and if it starts charging right away, you have to stop it, and of course now you need to use the app.

Here is a link to show the hours and pricing, I have to print this up for my wife so we don't run high capacity appliances during the day:



Roof Racks

The car has a nice roof rack system, i.e. real rails to clamp to.




A frunk is a FRont tRUNK, popular in many countries, extra storage space under the hood, http://www.frunk.at/en/pageId9/

Quirks / tips:


Jacking and spare tire

Here's a nice video that shows where the jacking points are, you want to be VERY careful with a car with a battery on the bottom: https://youtu.be/7bnAr-HOhPM

I intend to buy the spare tire kit, and also make sure the jack locks onto the bottom seam, and will probably put some red paint to mark the right location.

Turning off the recirculating mode timeout:

If you turn on recirculating mode in the HVAC system, it will turn itself off after a while.

You can change it: When the air conditioning system is on, select Face Level mode and press the recirculated air position button five times within 3 seconds, while pressing the A/C button.

When the automatic ventilation is canceled, the indicator blinks 2 times. When the automatic ventilation system is activated, the indicator blinks 5 times."


Other popular accessories

Mats: the KIA ones don't seem to work well.





 camwipe.com .... brush that attaches to rear wiper that cleans camera

Engineering Mode / Menu

There's a lot on the web, with passwords, etc. Go to the software version menu (where you see the update bar at bottom), tap 5 times just to the left of that bar, and then one time just to the right. No password required.

There's not much you can do, but there is a part where you can enable/disable stuff.


Map (really more than that) updates: 2020 only!!!

my map version as delivered: NAM.

updated in July 2020:              NAM

Note for 2020, there is no longer a SD card hidden behind the little hatch on the dashboard, apparently you use the center USB on the dash.

The map updates actually have a bunch of updates, the GUI, the Android apps, GPS, broadband radio comm, and indeed the nav maps.

There are 3 ways to update:

  1. One way to do the update is to go to your dealer and have them do it, I have heard it cost about $200, no thanks.
  2. Another way is the company that will charge you $25 for the SD card. No mention on their site if they have the USB version. https://www.mapnsoft.com/
  3. The third way was announced some time ago, and just recently (July 2020) is sort of working http://update.kia.com/US/EN/Main

Clearly you can do 1 or 2 easily.

So, here is the free way, using the site in #3 above:

  1. Go to http://update.kia.com/US/EN/Main
  2. Click in the navigation updater part.
  3. You will now download a program, called "navigation updater"
  4. Install it
  5. run the program
  6. do not try to log in, on the left on the bottom it says "non members", click there
  7. now click KIA MOTORS
  8. again do not register, click the Register Later button
  9. Now you are in the program, select the gear up at top right corner and make sure your settings of the car and region are correct. Usually they default to Korea and wrong car.
  10. Now you will be prompted to specify where to download the update file... put a 32 gig SD or flash memory stick in your computer. Make sure it is formatted FAT32. (you can also specify a place on your hard drive, I have found no difference the files)
  11. Now you can download the files. The speed is pretty poor, try doing it in the evening or weekend
  12. After downloading, the files should be in the root of your flash, if not, move to root...
  13. Now the update tells you to put the USB into the socket (the middle one, the only one that plays music)
  14. Turn on the car and it will read the USB and will bring a screen, there are a few options, the QUICK option disables the car for the term of the update about 27 minutes. The other options will take longer but let you use more of the car. I chose the quick option.
  15. The system will complete, boot up, then say restoring data (your radio stations, etc.) then reboot again.


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