67goat
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:27 pm

Bad/Good Issues

Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:17 pm

So here is the deal, my 2015 (Oct purchase) has over 43K miles on it. It started having issues with the electronics. I would get the propulsion power reduced message come up three blocks after leaving the charging station with 100% charge, the check system light would come on and then shut off after restarting the car, the car would stop charging after a few minutes of being plugged in, then the battery indicator would go from full to completely empty then back to full (would you like to turnoff the radio message popping up each time).

I also experienced two separate 1KWH drops in capacity in the last 8 months. I had read other here say they experienced a 1 KWH drop at around 35K miles. And with the onset of winter, I didn’t think too much about the loss.

From other forum posts, I assumed the issue for the other issues was the 12 volt battery. My car was about the same age and mileage (or more) than people that were reporting the accessory battery dying, and similar symptoms. Took it in this morning to have it serviced. The battery and installation, if that’s what it needed, was going to be about $300. I was considering having them run a capacity diagnostic, but forgot by the time I got to the service department.

I expected to be able to pick up the car around lunch, but did not hear back until near the end of the work day. When I got the call, there was good news and bad news. The bad news was that the problem was much worse than I thought it was. There is a short in one of the cells of the main battery pack. The whole thing has to be replaced. I will be without the Spark for 1-2 weeks (they couldn’t get a ship date).

The good news, it is still under the battery warranty, so instead of $300 for a 12 volt battery, I will be getting a $12K battery for free. Additionally, they are providing a rental free of charge until it is fixed (cannot drive it as the battery is a danger in the current state).

So I am basically going to have a brand new Spark EV in a couple weeks.

TheLondonBroiler
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:25 am

Re: Bad/Good Issues

Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:19 pm

67goat wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:17 pm
So I am basically going to have a brand new Spark EV in a couple weeks.
Great info! You lucky(?) devil.

I'm left wondering if this could possibly happen to me... Last October/November (within 2 weeks), my capacity reading dropped .8kwh. We'll see I guess. All cells are still really well balanced (within 0.01 of each other), even after I just fast charged. I'm literally sitting in my car @ 42,997 miles composing this.

I got to spend some time with AllData here recently. There wasn't too much of really significant interest (I was looking for the hpcm2 tech bulletin(s). I'm leaving an image for something to go on, in case the new battery doesn't solve the issue (although it doesn't EXACTLY mirror your situation).

Good luck!

Image
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2015 Spark EV w/ DCFC 46,XXX miles
Purchased 1/20/18 w/ 16,5XX miles
2019 Bolt EV w/ DCFC 6,XXX miles
Purchased 3/16/19 w/ 87 miles

67goat
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:27 pm

Re: Bad/Good Issues

Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:01 pm

I don’t know if they are related or not. However, when I went to get some things out of my car, the guy at the dealership said that initially the engineers just wanted to replace a specific part in the pack (about 4-5K) that would not be covered by the warranty and replace the bad cell. He said that he talked them in to replacing the whole unit. He said the job would take about 4 hours once they had the pack.

I wish I had bothered to download and use any of the apps to keep better records but my battery new was over 18 KWH. It would be nice to be back to that.

NORTON
Posts: 1210
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: Bad/Good Issues

Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:36 am

67goat wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:01 pm
I don’t know if they are related or not. However, when I went to get some things out of my car, the guy at the dealership said that initially the engineers just wanted to replace a specific part in the pack (about 4-5K) that would not be covered by the warranty and replace the bad cell. He said that he talked them in to replacing the whole unit. He said the job would take about 4 hours once they had the pack.

I wish I had bothered to download and use any of the apps to keep better records but my battery new was over 18 KWH. It would be nice to be back to that.
This will be interesting!
In a way you are lucky! Except for being without the car for ,,, how long has it been?
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC.
+67 K miles. Mostly free electrons! Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.

SparkE
Posts: 308
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am

Re: Bad/Good Issues

Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:21 am

67goat wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:01 pm
{...} initially the engineers just wanted to replace a specific part in the pack (about 4-5K) that would not be covered by the warranty and replace the bad cell. He said that he talked them in to replacing the whole unit.
That sounds like pure B.S., if only for the "would not be covered by the warranty". If it is part of the electric drivetrain (and any part of the battery is) then it is covered by the 8-year warranty. Sounds like "fluff the customer, and make him happy" to me.

However, you *should* be happy that you are getting a new battery!

67goat
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:27 pm

Re: Bad/Good Issues

Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:18 pm

NORTON wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:36 am
67goat wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:01 pm
I don’t know if they are related or not. However, when I went to get some things out of my car, the guy at the dealership said that initially the engineers just wanted to replace a specific part in the pack (about 4-5K) that would not be covered by the warranty and replace the bad cell. He said that he talked them in to replacing the whole unit. He said the job would take about 4 hours once they had the pack.

I wish I had bothered to download and use any of the apps to keep better records but my battery new was over 18 KWH. It would be nice to be back to that.
This will be interesting!
In a way you are lucky! Except for being without the car for ,,, how long has it been?
So far it has only been a couple days (took it in Tuesday), but they said it could be a couple weeks. They couldn’t get a ship date on a new pack. However, they gave me a rental on their dime. The funny thing is they make the rental car company give you a GM vehicle, and the only one they had available was a Suburban.
SparkE wrote: That sounds like pure B.S., if only for the "would not be covered by the warranty". If it is part of the electric drivetrain (and any part of the battery is) then it is covered by the 8-year warranty. Sounds like "fluff the customer, and make him happy" to me.

However, you *should* be happy that you are getting a new battery!
That is entirely possible. I am getting the work done at the dealership where I live, not where I bought it. So it could be he is trying to make sure I buy from them next time. Or maybe there is a customer satisfaction survey coming that he wants good scores on.

I can’t report on the veracity of what he said, only the content at this point.

However, I assume most warranties are like insurance. “You wrote electric blue on the paperwork, but that model only came in electric bloo. It is obvious we are dealing with two different cars here. Claim denied.” I could see a scenario where covering certain parts (like the battery tray) may be written up in such a way that they are not covered, either because they are not functional to the battery or because the time it takes to pull the pack apart and replace is cost prohibitive.

Whether he was giving me a line or not, I’m getting a new battery, so I’m good.

67goat
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:27 pm

Re: Bad/Good Issues

Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:04 pm

Got the car back today. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the rep, because he was at lunch. However, I am going back in a day or two to get fob batteries. The invoice (which I will post a pic of later) gives some hint as to what happens. It says the instructions were to replace the drive battery with a refurb, then place the original in a crate. I assume that means the shipping crate the replacement came in so it could be sent back for refurb.

As for the condition of the battery, I won’t know for a few days what the charge is. However, initial readings are good. 36% right now with 6.5 KWh used. I do not know if it is new or a refurb. The invoice indicates it would be a refurb, and the warranty technically only guarantees a battery that would hold a charge consistent with a car with the same mileage. But of the numbers hold up, 18+ KWh is pretty close to new.

The other question is whether that number holds up in the long term as I add miles to it. A coworker of mine had his leaf drive battery replaced last year. He says it is losing capacity at a much faster rate than the original pack. I wonder if a refurb pack might have initially have an apparent high capacity but lose it quicker as the cells re-normalize. I will be keeping track to see.

SparkE
Posts: 308
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am

Re: Bad/Good Issues

Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:58 am

It would probably be a VERY good idea to :

1- charge the battery to full at least once a week to let the battery cells 'balance'. (This is the opposite of what I normally do, which is charging to full *maybe* once a month, to avoid strain on the battery). And by 'charge to full', I mean leave the car plugged in for an hour after 'full charge'. This will make sure all the cells are 'top balanced' - all the cells very, very, very close in voltage after .charging to full. I'd do this for 500 miles (or a few weeks) or so, to avoid a surprising fast drop in range at the end when the car smarts figure out the cells are unbalanced.

2- I'd also be very careful when driving the car below a range of 15 miles (for the same "surprising fast drop in range at the end" reason). After a few weeks of normal driving, you *might* want to drive the car down to 2 or 5 miles or so of range, with Torque Pro monitoring in place (checking voltages of all the cells). I would do the last 10 miles *VERY CLOSE TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD* so that you are never more than a mile or two from home. I'd also carry a LONG extension cord so that you can beg electrons from a kindly neighbor for 10 minutes at 120V (just enough to get you home) if there are any problems.

By doing the 2nd point, you will definitely tell the smarts of the car the full capacity of the battery. By doing the 1st, you will make sure that the pack *IS* balanced (across multiple charges, over a period of time), and will hopefully get the max range out of the new battery on a single charge.

Of course, all this maybe be completely unnecessary. ;) YMMV.

And after all this 'experimenting', go back to 'optimal charging behavior' : rarely (once a month) charging to over 90%, and rarely (if ever) driving the car below 15 miles of range. (Lithium batteries really hate being fully charged or fully discharged, and last much longer if charged in the range 20%-80% SoC.) Also, avoiding charging when hot (battery over 85 or so). (During the hot summer I charge at night, plugging in just before bedtime - OR plug in right after getting up early in the morning when battery is coolest - depending on how much electricity I need to add.) Park the car in the shade whenever possible when daytime temps are over 80. blah, blah, blah.

Of course, all this maybe be completely unnecessary. ;) YMMV.

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