2022 Kia Sorento PHEV in front of trees
Justin Hart's picture

How Far A Full Battery Charge Can Take You In A 2022 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid

I was scrolling through social media, reading about people’s experience with battery-only range in their Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrids (PHEV), as well as other PHEVS like the Chevy Volt, Kia Niro, and Rav 4 Prime. And then I realized, I have yet to do a test where I see just how far I can go on a full charge, intentionally trying to maximize every mile I can get.
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Let me be clear, for this test I am not talking about sticking side skirts on my Sorento PHEV, drafting semis, or treating my go pedal like it's a delicate flower. I am just going to drive gently, accelerate smoothly, try to maximize regenerative braking, and choose a route that has a maximum speed limit of 45 mph (because I know faster than that is going to shorten the distance a full charge will take me). I live in a suburban area, but am fairly close to some two lane country roads that are just beautiful places to go for a drive.

I take these routes sometimes when I am going for a hike, trying to get around congestion on the main thoroughfares, or for a change of scenery. There are only small elevation changes on the route I have chosen (I am skirting the shins of the Cascade foothills), and the roads twist gently back and forth among fields and forests. It could be some people’s normal commute, but it is really more of a relaxing, Sunday drive in the countryside for me (only it's a Monday). I’ve picked a route that is a little less than 40 miles out and back and I drove just over a mile around my neighborhood before starting off. I think, because it is June and the weather is mild (with no need for air conditioning of any sort) and my speed won’t be that high, I can exceed 40 miles on a charge. Do you think it's possible to attain for this heavy, midsize SUV that is only EPA rated for 32 miles of battery only range? Let’s find out!

I reverse out of my driveway and glide down my quiet street, sticking to the 25-35 mph speed limits for about 3 miles, until I enter the unincorporated area of the county and the speed limit goes to 40 mph. At that point, there is nothing more than an occasional stoplight or 4 way stop, and lots and lots of trees, hills, trails, and fresh air.

I cruise at or just a couple miles below the speed limit, and there’s no traffic to speak of. The last 4 or 5 miles of the route has a 45 mph speed limit, and the largest hill I go up is a gradual half mile slope just a little ways before I end up at the county park that is my destination (a good place for a hike!). Overall, my route is close to 90% flat or gently undulating roads. I have my roof racks and stand-up paddle board mounts on my roof, but otherwise the vehicle is mostly empty, except for me. I think that this is the kind of driving someone would do on a weekend, or in the morning for a workout, perhaps a rural or suburban parent shuttling their kids to school, practice, and grocery getting. It is the opposite of freeway commuting, and perhaps a little less efficient than urban stop and go traffic (assuming people aren’t racing between stop lights).

At the end of my drive, I am completely impressed! I managed to eke out a hair under 41 miles of range from a full charge, without trying too hard. Sure, I didn’t drive too fast or accelerate with any more gusto than your typical Sunday (er Monday) driver. But the point is I didn’t have to. No one was honking at me, or zooming past me. I wasn’t in a hurry is all, I was taking my time and enjoying the quiet ride, fresh air, and beautiful scenery. Had I removed my roof racks and maybe driven in a place with more stop lights, I may have hit 42 or even 43 miles. I am very satisfied with these results though. I managed to achieve 3.66 miles per kWh, which at my electric rates (9 cents per kWh) means I paid a dollar to drive those 41 miles. That’s also the equivalent of one gallon of gas ($6.50 a gallon at the overpriced station down the street) getting me almost 267 miles in equivalent fuel cost. At times like these, that’s some serious savings.

Questions? Please leave any you may have, below.

Images provided by Justin Hart

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.


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Comments

Hi Justin, Over the last few months I have really enjoyed your articles on the Kia Sorento PHEV, but we finally received our 2022 Kia Sorento EX+ PHEV (Canadian Spec) this past weekend, so now we can enjoy the real thing (we ordered it in October 2021!). We only have around 300 km's (185 miles) on it, but have been really impressed so far. My question is about how to determine how many miles of all EV driving and hybrid driving I have done. I think I've went through all the menus, but I can't seem to find this information. Is this information available somewhere that I haven't found yet, or do you just keep track of your EV driving/Hybrid driving on a daily basis? I did find the ECO DRIVING screen, but the (Fuel Economy) tab only seems to show information while I'm driving, which isn't helpful for historical information. I'm not completely sure what the (Fuel Economy History) tab is showing, but I think it might be the Hybrid only driving (we haven't done much hybrid driving yet so I'll have to keep an eye on this). If it is the Hybrid Only driving, then I can use this to calculate my EV driving, but I'm hoping this information is saved somewhere. Thanks for the help. Brett
Hi Brett, and thank you for your praise! I am apologize for not responding sooner (I stopped getting notifications when someone posts a reply for some reason). In short answer to your question, there is not a great way to track your cumulative all EV driving, and I end up doing it manually by keeping a log. But there are some tricks that make it somewhat easier to track how much EV driving you are doing. I am going to write my next article on this, just for you (and me... because I really wish Kia would just provide this information via software). First, use the "Accumulated Info" screen on the display behind the steering wheel. You can change the information it displays via the the +/- button on the right hand side of the steering wheel. Whenever you are driving on electricity only, your MPG (or KPL I guess in Canada) should display as "999.0" (though technically I don't know if perhaps in the metric system Kia might display an even larger number than that). If you see a number lower than that, it means your driving on gas... and since obviously that will simply happen sometimes, your Accumulated Info will eventually show a smaller number. For any given drive, if you switch to the "Drive Info" screen you'll see whether you are driving only on battery too, again via the same principle (showing 999.0? then you're not using gas). This also shows up in the Fuel Economy History. Finally, there's the "Since Refueling" screen, which sits between the other two. This lets you know your efficiency between topping off the gas tank and between the 3 screens can give you a rough idea of how much you're driving on electricity (if you use the estimated total distance you could drive using only a full-tank of gas as a reference point, doubling that figure at each fill up would mean roughly 50% of your miles are on electricity, tripling that figure would be about 75% electricity, etc.). As long as that number shows "999.0" you're only on batteries. Because even if you only drive short distances, eventually the gas engine will start up to run fuel maintenance, you just have to know that the higher the numbers are in these 3 screens, the more you are driving on electricity. If for example your Accumulated Info shows over 200 miles/km per gallon/liter, you are driving almost exclusively on electricity. Only when it drops to the double digits are you running mostly on gas. My current accumulated info screen shows I am in the mid 60's mpg after 4,200+ miles of driving (it dropped into double digits after I took multiple long road trips earlier this year). Since I am not taking as many long road trips lately, each month my accumulated MPG is creeping back up by 3-5 mpg as I am driving 80-90% on battery since the road trips. For reference, I drive about 6,000 - 8,000 miles a year (as long as the work from home option continues) and I expect, after my first full-year or normal driving patterns, my accumulated MPG will be somewhere north of 80 MPG which should roughly translate to a little over 70% of my total mileage being on electricity. I hope this helps!