Gyver
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:50 am
Location: Rimini - Italy
Contact: Website

Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:04 am

I just bought a Citroen C-Zero (a rebranded imiev) here in Italy. It was used as a demonstrative vehicle in 2012/2013 (exp. date of its last insurance was October 2013) and then it was left alone for 2 years. When I tried it at the dealer it looked absolutely new, even the tyres. It was manufactured on April 2012 so I knew it should have been fitted with a 16 kWh battery pack (unlike new C-Zeros that are sold with a 14.5 kWh pack) It was perfect on the road, I got 1 year full guarantee from the dealer, and the battery pack was guaranteed by Citroen for 5 years starting from registration date (October 2012), so at 12k euros I had no hesitations and I bought it.
As soon as it arrived at home (22nd december, a nice Christmas present!) I plugged in and fully charged it. I jumped in to have my first ride in my new car... but the gauge was showing just 12 bars instead of 16, and the RR displayed just 82 kms left (50 miles). At first I thought it could have been because the battery was standing unused for 2 years and needed some cycling, so I drove till 2 bars were left (the charge only lasted for 45 kms / 28 miles) and charged fully again. Same story: 12 bars and 82 kms left on the RR gauge. :evil: This time I tried do discharge the battery completely, I wanted to see the turtle light on my dashboard. Instead, as soon as I had 1 bar left the EV warning symbol showed up. I slowly drove back home and called Citroen.
Now my car lies at the dealership, they told me they probably have to change the battery pack (they also told me the car needs to go through 3 different recall repairs...)
On one hand it is nice to know I will have a brand new pack (made with the new lev50n cells), on the other hand I will receive a 14.5 kWh pack, so a lower range for my car.
I am sharing my experience because I find interesting that even a battery pack with such a low mileage can fail. I have no information on how the car was stored during these years, but considering the mint condition of the body and tyres I suppose it was kept inside.
Unfortunately I haven't received my OBD interface yet, so I have no CaniOn data to share.

FrostyCanada
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:37 am
Location: The Laurentians, a skip away from Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:19 am

Hello Gyver, sorry for the trouble you're having with your new little EV.

On a positive note you'll most likely be getting a brand new battery pack and they'll also update your car with the latest recalls.

You'll be getting a new car back, but without the new car smell :)

Please pe keep us posted,
Brian
2016 i-MiEV
with navigation package, in pearl white.

JoeS
Site Moderator
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:47 am
Location: Silicon Valley, California

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:47 am

Gyver, welcome to the forum. Actually, congratulations that you will be receiving a new pack.

I would be surprised if your pack is replaced with one of lower capacity as, if I recall, the lower-capacity pack has a different cell count. A reprogramming would be in order, which may or may not be trivial. Could someone verify this? I think you can make a case that you should receive a replacement of the same capacity, and it would be worth making a fuss over this. If they won't do it I wouldn't worry too much about it as a 10% reduction in capacity will not be noticeable in most peoples' everyday driving.

As to the cause of the original pack's demise: few people know about the proper care and feeding of our batteries - if a car is left unused for an extended period of time, it should be left charged at around 25%-40% SOC (exact number is open to debate) and the 12v battery left on a float charger. Unfortunately, I've seen cars sitting in dealers' lots fully charged in the broiling sun, which is not good for Lithium battery longevity.
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

Malm
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:16 pm
Location: Tábua - Portugal

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:47 am

Another from 2012 with a fail. At least, we know six of them from 2012 with battery failures. From 2011 there is no record of these failures, and there are many in Australia and Europe. Mine is one of them. This can be because a change of the cells, from LEV50 to LEV50N, that took place in 2012.
Riding an i-Miev since 4/2011 in Portugal, 100.000 kms.

tigger19687
Posts: 558
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:19 pm
Location: Bedford/Concord MA

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:10 pm

I thought the other 2012 failures were from early early 2012 and late 2011?
[size=85]- Linda
-2017 Chevy Bolt Premier Bright Blue
- 2014 Toyota Prius C, for the Son

databeestje
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:47 am
Location: Netherlands

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:15 am

Well, my 5 year old 2010 definitely had LEV50 Cells, and that had a cell failure too.

You see, it's all about statistics. Put 100 cells in series of 99,993% reliable, and you end up with a 83% reliable string. There is a reason Tesla went with a 96S74P battery, a single cell will reduce the total capacity by 1,3% without failing the pack entirely.

All the other electric cars, i-Miev included, fail entirely when a single cell fails. That's bloody annoying, and I know they did this because it's easier to engineer and build, but it's not better :)

If you ever replaced the single LEV50 Cells with a similar 18650 construction you would end up with something in the order of a 88S20P which would mean a 5% hit on capacity, but you could still drive and charge. As you can see from these numbers, the difference between 20 or 74 parallel isn't particularly huge, it falls off quite fast, but the benefits are tangible.

PV1
Site Moderator
Posts: 3055
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:22 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:03 am

There was also a process change at the factory as a result of the Boeing Dreamliner incident. There was a faulty screening process that was contaminating the cells, causing internal failures. I'm not sure if it is related or not, but the change happened fairly close to the switch from LEV50 to LEV50N cells.

The LEAF pack has a single string of modules, but each module is made up of 4 parallel cells, so a cell failure in the LEAF would take a 25% hit at the most. I'm not sure of the construction of the others, but Tesla's 18650 design definitely takes the cake for redundancy :lol: , not to mention energy density.
"Bear" - 2012 Diamond White Pearl ES with QC - 2/21/2013
"Koorz" - 2012 Cool Silver Metallic ES with QC - 1/5/2015
"Photon" - 2017 Bolt EV LT in Orange with QC - 7/31/2017

Solar-powered since 10/10/2013

Malm
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:16 pm
Location: Tábua - Portugal

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:26 am

databeestje wrote:Well, my 5 year old 2010 definitely had LEV50 Cells, and that had a cell failure too.

You see, it's all about statistics. Put 100 cells in series of 99,993% reliable, and you end up with a 83% reliable string. There is a reason Tesla went with a 96S74P battery, a single cell will reduce the total capacity by 1,3% without failing the pack entirely.

All the other electric cars, i-Miev included, fail entirely when a single cell fails. That's bloody annoying, and I know they did this because it's easier to engineer and build, but it's not better :)

If you ever replaced the single LEV50 Cells with a similar 18650 construction you would end up with something in the order of a 88S20P which would mean a 5% hit on capacity, but you could still drive and charge. As you can see from these numbers, the difference between 20 or 74 parallel isn't particularly huge, it falls off quite fast, but the benefits are tangible.


I wouldn´t expect no fails in the LEV50. But the question for me is if the fails are much more frequent in the 2012 i-MiEVs then in the others. For now, just an hypothesis.
Riding an i-Miev since 4/2011 in Portugal, 100.000 kms.

Gyver
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:50 am
Location: Rimini - Italy
Contact: Website

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:54 am

Hi guys, I finally received some news from the dealer. They confirmed the battery pack is damaged and has to be replaced.

I went on chatting a bit with the chief mechanic, he told me 2 cells fail to charge: number 6 and 12. He is unsure if there is a pack in stock at PSA in France, if that is not the case they will have to ship it from Japan. They will change both the battery pack and the ECU.

Since they will probably need quite some time to receive the new parts, they will return me the car so that I can drive around with a limited range. Well, I think I'll take some pleasure in trashing that doomed battery in the next days. :twisted: Drag-racing, anyone?

______________
2012 white C-Zero
2008 Fiat Multipla "Natural-Power" (Compressed Natural Gas)

Driving CNG since 1-18-2000.
Driving electric since 12-22-2015.

PV1
Site Moderator
Posts: 3055
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:22 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Battery cell failing at just 2900 km (1800 miles)

Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:45 am

First I've heard of a confirmed pack with two cells going out. Hopefully you get a new one soon.

What you may start to notice is that after every charge, your range will continue to decrease. When mine was going out, a full charge was 4 bars, 20 miles RR by the time I got the car to the dealer. They had my car from 5/26/15 to 6/19/15 (dates dropped off and picked up).
"Bear" - 2012 Diamond White Pearl ES with QC - 2/21/2013
"Koorz" - 2012 Cool Silver Metallic ES with QC - 1/5/2015
"Photon" - 2017 Bolt EV LT in Orange with QC - 7/31/2017

Solar-powered since 10/10/2013

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