MajorRugburn
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:49 am

New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:22 am

hello forum, just registered and already read a few very helpful posts regarding buying a used Spark EV...

i'll be looking to buy before my gasser lease ends in early '19. after doing some online research of the Leaf vs. Spark vs. Bolt, i've narrowed my EV choice to the Spark because of its coolant cooled battery and price. it will basically be a shopping/errand cart for my family and i'm in SoCal/mild to hot climate.

some "facts" i've picked up during my online research: to prolong the live of the battery, do not let it run down below 20%, do not charge it above 80%, and do not do fast/DC charging - slow wall/120v charging is best for the battery.

can someone please confirm or deny these "facts"? i would also appreciate any other helpful info you would like to share regarding the purchase process, like how can one test the battery condition/life before buying, etc. my main concern is that the battery goes bad soon when out of warranty and then i'm stuck with a shiny sitting 5 door storage shed on wheels :)

thank you!

NORTON
Posts: 1181
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:09 am

I say 'Bull' on your facts.
Just drive it just like a normal person.

I couldn't use mine the way I do without the DCFC option.

Also the battery is Thermally Managed. That means some of the year my pack is liquid HEATED.

You won't regret this sporty little EV !
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC.
+63k miles. Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 866
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca, California

Re: New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:28 am

MajorRugburn wrote:hello forum, just registered and already read a few very helpful posts regarding buying a used Spark EV...

i'll be looking to buy before my gasser lease ends in early '19. after doing some online research of the Leaf vs. Spark vs. Bolt, i've narrowed my EV choice to the Spark because of its coolant cooled battery and price. it will basically be a shopping/errand cart for my family and i'm in SoCal/mild to hot climate.

some "facts" i've picked up during my online research: to prolong the live of the battery, do not let it run down below 20%, do not charge it above 80%, and do not do fast/DC charging - slow wall/120v charging is best for the battery.

can someone please confirm or deny these "facts"? i would also appreciate any other helpful info you would like to share regarding the purchase process, like how can one test the battery condition/life before buying, etc. my main concern is that the battery goes bad soon when out of warranty and then i'm stuck with a shiny sitting 5 door storage shed on wheels :)

thank you!
To get a good measure of the current HV battery capacity you will need use the TorquePro app installed on an Android device plus a Bluetooth OBD2 adapter like OBDLink MX. This is much, much, much better than trying to use the information presented on the Energy Information screen in the car.

I have a 2014 Spark EV that does not have the DCFC option. Using TorquePro, I still see a gradual degradation in the battery capacity. I also have a 2016 Spark EV with DCFC and it too shows a gradual degradation in the battery capacity. BUT... the gradual degradation isn't much to worry about. I still see 95 - 100 miles of GOM range on both cars after a full charge. You will find that how you drive the car will have a greater impact on how far you can go.

Recently I turned in my leased 2015 Spark EV. It saw considerable DCFC charging and, over the 30K mile I drove it, the HV battery capacity dropped from about 18 kWh to 16.5 kWh. About 6 months before I turned the car in, something happened and I experienced a sudden drop of about 1.5 kWh in battery capacity. The dealer replaced the charging module but I never recovered the lost capacity. This car was DCFC charged most of the time although I do have L1 and L2 EVSEs in my garage. A friend of mine also had a 2015 Spark EV and he never charged using the DCFC. He experienced the same drop in battery capacity as I did and about the same mileage. Others have posted this too.

Having said all of this, if you are going to use the car for around town trips, don't worry about the battery capacity. Go out and enjoy the car. You will not regret it.

TheLondonBroiler
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:25 am

Re: New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:06 am

MajorRugburn wrote: Leaf vs. Spark vs. Bolt, i've narrowed my EV choice to the Spark because of its coolant cooled battery and price. it will basically be a shopping/errand cart for my family and i'm in SoCal/mild to hot climate.
Hope I'm not too late to the party. Your logic matches my experience exactly, except I need to use mine for a 62 mile round trip work commute also.

If I were purchasing again today, knowing what I know now, I'd probably be looking a little harder at a 30kwh Nissan LEAF. Here is how I'd compare the two today:

Spark EV: Faster acceleration (oh yeah :D), Faster DC charging, better efficiency hands down, a little bit cheaper, and stealthier(?) EV.
30kwh LEAF: Faster AC charging, more storage room, wider front seats, 5 seats total, same size wheels and tires (can rotate). EDIT: the 30kwh leaf also has a slightly better battery warranty.

That being said, I love my Spark, but, again, if I were purchasing again today, knowing everything I know now, I would not rule out a 30kwh LEAF.
MajorRugburn wrote: some "facts" i've picked up during my online research: to prolong the live of the battery, do not let it run down below 20%, do not charge it above 80%, and do not do fast/DC charging - slow wall/120v charging is best for the battery.
You may hate your life if you do this, but you will no doubt receive hate from your other half, from having to abide by there parameters.

I agree with Norton and Morgan, drive it and be happy.

MajorRugburn wrote: how can one test the battery condition/life before buying, etc. my main concern is that the battery goes bad soon when out of warranty
I created a video on how to get set up with Torque to measure vehicle parameters, which includes battery capacity. I feel indebted to the creator of Torque and the countless Volt, Spark EV, and Bolt owners who figured out the parameter ids (PIDs), for all the work they did.

http://www.mychevysparkev.com/forum/vie ... f=4&t=5204
https://youtu.be/LjqDk08x9EY

For the LEAF, you'll need LEAF SPY and the same obd2 dongle/adapter.

Warning: Somewhat controversial statement:
I think if you test enough of both vehicles, you'll find that the 30kwh LEAF (and maybe even 2013+ 24kwh packs), have around the same level of degradation as an equally equipped Spark (referring to having the DC fast charge option).

Most EV batteries slowly age/degrade, but don't go defective to where they don't work.

EDIT: I believe all EV batteries should have thermal management and I am disappointed in Nissan for not having done so to date (the 60kwh packs WILL have thermal management). That being said, Nissan batteries post 2013 are very heat tolerant.
2015 Spark EV w/ DCFC 44,XXX miles
Purchased 1/20/18 w/ 16,5XX miles
2019 Bolt EV w/ DCFC 500 miles
Purchased 3/16/19 w/ 87 miles

hishnika
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:34 pm

Re: New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:25 pm

I also wasn't sure if the "facts" were real, but since my daily commute habits allow it, I try to do stuff that maybe could help the battery. I.e. I try to keep it between 30 - 80% charged (I plug in L2 for an hour or two per day which replaces my daily usage). I don't park it in the sun if it's over 80 degrees outside, and try not to DCFC too much. The paranoid side of me feels more at ease so I sleep better. :) But if it's a hassle to deal with all that, just drive it... seems like the car is very well built to withstand normal (non-ocd) usage.

ChaosMageX
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:09 pm

Re: New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:22 pm

MrDRMorgan wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:28 am
Recently I turned in my leased 2015 Spark EV. It saw considerable DCFC charging and, over the 30K mile I drove it, the HV battery capacity dropped from about 18 kWh to 16.5 kWh. About 6 months before I turned the car in, something happened and I experienced a sudden drop of about 1.5 kWh in battery capacity. The dealer replaced the charging module but I never recovered the lost capacity. This car was DCFC charged most of the time although I do have L1 and L2 EVSEs in my garage. A friend of mine also had a 2015 Spark EV and he never charged using the DCFC. He experienced the same drop in battery capacity as I did and about the same mileage. Others have posted this too.
Wait, so was the drop from 18 kWh to 16.5 kWh that 1.5 kWh drop that occurred 6 months before return, implying that there was very little battery degradation prior to that sudden drop, or did it drop an ADDITIONAL 1.5 kWh down to 15 kWh? If it's the latter, that makes me very VERY concerned about purchasing any used Chevy Spark EV with more than 30k miles on it.

I'm another person who's considering going electric, since my 2002 PT Cruiser was destroyed in an accident just two months ago, and the Chevy Spark EV is probably the only electric car I can afford at the moment, and even that will be a stretch (yes, I am THAT poor). But if I have to worry about getting a car where one or two of the cells in the traction battery have already died, to the point it's in danger of losing 30% of its capacity and barely able to drive more than 50 miles, I'm not so sure anymore.

It was probably an insane idea to begin with, but I wanted to see if I could hop from one Electrify America station to another in a Chevy Spark EV once there are enough between Houston and San Antonio. However, if used ones have batteries that have degraded that much already, I can forget about ever doing that.

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 866
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca, California

Re: New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:35 pm

ChaosMageX wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:22 pm
MrDRMorgan wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:28 am
Recently I turned in my leased 2015 Spark EV. It saw considerable DCFC charging and, over the 30K mile I drove it, the HV battery capacity dropped from about 18 kWh to 16.5 kWh. About 6 months before I turned the car in, something happened and I experienced a sudden drop of about 1.5 kWh in battery capacity. The dealer replaced the charging module but I never recovered the lost capacity. This car was DCFC charged most of the time although I do have L1 and L2 EVSEs in my garage. A friend of mine also had a 2015 Spark EV and he never charged using the DCFC. He experienced the same drop in battery capacity as I did and about the same mileage. Others have posted this too.
Wait, so was the drop from 18 kWh to 16.5 kWh that 1.5 kWh drop that occurred 6 months before return, implying that there was very little battery degradation prior to that sudden drop, or did it drop an ADDITIONAL 1.5 kWh down to 15 kWh? If it's the latter, that makes me very VERY concerned about purchasing any used Chevy Spark EV with more than 30k miles on it.

I'm another person who's considering going electric, since my 2002 PT Cruiser was destroyed in an accident just two months ago, and the Chevy Spark EV is probably the only electric car I can afford at the moment, and even that will be a stretch (yes, I am THAT poor). But if I have to worry about getting a car where one or two of the cells in the traction battery have already died, to the point it's in danger of losing 30% of its capacity and barely able to drive more than 50 miles, I'm not so sure anymore.

It was probably an insane idea to begin with, but I wanted to see if I could hop from one Electrify America station to another in a Chevy Spark EV once there are enough between Houston and San Antonio. However, if used ones have batteries that have degraded that much already, I can forget about ever doing that.
For the first 2 years I drove my 2015 Spark EV, the battery capacity calculation was derived from the data taken from the energy information screen in the car. There is considerable variation with the battery capacity numbers derived from the screen data.

For my 2015 Spark EV:

July 15 through July 17: 138 measurements taken. Average calculated battery capacity was 17.70 kWh. Max = 18.98 kWh; Min = 17.72 kWh
Dec 17 through March 18: 24 measurements taken. Average battery capacity was 15.96 kWh. Max = 16.72 kWh; Min = 15.37 kWh.

My graph of all of my data clearly shows a values above 17 kWh until December when a significant drop in battery capacity occurred after the "Service Vehicle Soon" light came on. The dealer replaced a charging module but it did not correct the drop in battery capacity.

I am continuing to track the battery capacity in my 2014 and 2016 Spark EVs. The difference now is that I am using TorquePro to get the data through the OBD2 port and this data is much more repeatable and accurate. I can also see the voltage values for each of the 96 cells in the battery.

My graph of the TorquePro data for both cars shows a gradual 1.0 kWh drop in battery capacity since August of last year. I attribute this to the onset of cold winter weather and I expect to see the values to go back up as summer approaches. However, I still see full-charge GOM values in the 80s and 90s depending how I drive each car and how much I use the heater.

Whenever I drive "long distance" in any of my Spark EVs, I always have a plan B and C just in case a DCFC location is not available. It is 197 miles from San Antonio to Houston and it looks like it might be a long time, if at all, before you see DCFC stations along that route at a maximum of 50 mile intervals. You must always keep in mind what you will have to do if you reach a DCFC station and it is not working. PlugShare is your best source of information regarding available charging locations and capabilities.

My wife and I made 2 - 300 mile trips in our 2015 Spark EV and it was only possible because there were multiple "working" DCFC stations along our route. As a backup, I also identified L2 EVSE charging locations that I could use in an emergency to charge and get back to the previously used working DCFC so I could charge and go home. In my opinion, the Spark EV is best suited for local trips - not long road trips. There are many locations where I know I just cannot go. For those locations, I rent a car or drive my 20-year old pickup truck. This has worked for me for almost 4 years of driving Spark EVs.

ChaosMageX
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:09 pm

Re: New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:27 pm

Well, I thank you for clarifying and helping to assuage some of my worries about potentially owning this vehicle. It seems that the weather can affect the battery's capacity more than gradual wear-and-tear does, though down here in southern Texas I have to worry more about the summers than the winters.

And yes, you have a good point about the reliability of DCFC stations, especially since there have already been complaints about the one that Electrify America opened in Columbus, Texas, along I-10. There are admittedly growing pains, but I'm confident the infrastructure will get there within the next few years.

The main reason I want to go electric is that I want a car that's reliable and not constantly laid up from one of the millions of different things that can go wrong with an ICE. No more oil changes, radiator leaks, water pump failures, broken engine struts, and on and on. I'd be facing all those problems and more if I just gave up and got a junker gasser for a few thousand. From what I've been reading on this forum, these cars tend to be pretty reliable for the most part. I'm also sick and tired of fluctuating gas prices compared to always cheap electricity, and I want to experience the faster acceleration and better handling that electric cars offer.

Since I'm so poor, this is probably the only good EV I can afford at the moment. The only other ones I've found in my area for cheaper prices are older Nissan LEAFs, which I know should be avoided because of poor battery cooling.

From what I've seen so far, I like what I see with the Chevy Spark EV. I just wish it also had AEB, because I'm still a little traumatized from the accident that destroyed my PT Cruiser.

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 866
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca, California

Re: New member looking to buy, with a few questions

Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:04 pm

ChaosMageX wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:27 pm
Well, I thank you for clarifying and helping to assuage some of my worries about potentially owning this vehicle. It seems that the weather can affect the battery's capacity more than gradual wear-and-tear does, though down here in southern Texas I have to worry more about the summers than the winters.

And yes, you have a good point about the reliability of DCFC stations, especially since there have already been complaints about the one that Electrify America opened in Columbus, Texas, along I-10. There are admittedly growing pains, but I'm confident the infrastructure will get there within the next few years.

The main reason I want to go electric is that I want a car that's reliable and not constantly laid up from one of the millions of different things that can go wrong with an ICE. No more oil changes, radiator leaks, water pump failures, broken engine struts, and on and on. I'd be facing all those problems and more if I just gave up and got a junker gasser for a few thousand. From what I've been reading on this forum, these cars tend to be pretty reliable for the most part. I'm also sick and tired of fluctuating gas prices compared to always cheap electricity, and I want to experience the faster acceleration and better handling that electric cars offer.

Since I'm so poor, this is probably the only good EV I can afford at the moment. The only other ones I've found in my area for cheaper prices are older Nissan LEAFs, which I know should be avoided because of poor battery cooling.

From what I've seen so far, I like what I see with the Chevy Spark EV. I just wish it also had AEB, because I'm still a little traumatized from the accident that destroyed my PT Cruiser.
I have been driving Spark EVs [2014, 2015, and 2016] for almost 4 years and I still really enjoy the car. It takes a bit of learning to know what you can and cannot do with the car but, once you have figured it out, the anxiety goes away and you just really enjoy driving the car. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say the Spark EV is by far the best automobile I have driven in my 56 years of driving.

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