qrper
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:51 am

battery range and cold weather

Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:21 am

Gang,

It's been a while since I was on this forum.

My 2016 spark works fine. However, I've noticed now that the weather is turning colder, my battery range has really tanked.
I purchased this car in june with 9200 miles on it. It's a 2016 by the way. In the summer, I'd see after a full level 2 charge about 120ish mile range. I know it's the computer guessing most of the time, but it felt good seeing those numbers.

flash into November, and the car now has 12345 miles on it. After a full level two charge, I see 65 miles range. While I don't live too far from shopping and such, it appears my range has been cut in half. I've been noticing this for the last few months, as the range slowly comes down. Right now, a 15 mile one way trip is about as far as I feel I can go, with some extra juice to save my bacon if the need arrives.

Is it the cold weather? I'm talking mid 20s to low 30s. I don't run the heat unless absolutely necessary, but do use the seat heater.

Anyone have any thoughts, ideas or guesses?

Mike

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 1073
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca in Central California

Re: battery range and cold weather

Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:54 pm

qrper wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:21 am
Gang,

It's been a while since I was on this forum.

My 2016 spark works fine. However, I've noticed now that the weather is turning colder, my battery range has really tanked.
I purchased this car in june with 9200 miles on it. It's a 2016 by the way. In the summer, I'd see after a full level 2 charge about 120ish mile range. I know it's the computer guessing most of the time, but it felt good seeing those numbers.

flash into November, and the car now has 12345 miles on it. After a full level two charge, I see 65 miles range. While I don't live too far from shopping and such, it appears my range has been cut in half. I've been noticing this for the last few months, as the range slowly comes down. Right now, a 15 mile one way trip is about as far as I feel I can go, with some extra juice to save my bacon if the need arrives.

Is it the cold weather? I'm talking mid 20s to low 30s. I don't run the heat unless absolutely necessary, but do use the seat heater.

Anyone have any thoughts, ideas or guesses?

Mike
Nothing is wrong with your car but the temporary loss of range is real. I also see GOM values in the 60s during winter. Cold winter driving will significantly affect GOM range values and you have to take this temporary range loss into consideration when planning a winter trip. I have found that driving speed, especially FWY speeds, use of the AC and use of the cabin heater all will significantly impact the GOM reading you get. The seat heaters and headlights get into the act too and headwinds are not any help either. You can get a better idea of what is going on by watching your mi/kWh. Just be sure to reset mi/kWh each time you charge. Don't panic if you see your GOM and mi/kWh values tank when you first start out on a cold morning. I have seen mi/kWh numbers as low as 2.0 when I first started out on a cold morning and then start climbing as the cabin began to warm up. Usually, the mi/kWh flattened out at about 4.3 mi/kWh once the cabin warmed up and the heater power consumption had tapered off. During the summer I easily see mi/kWh numbers ranging between 6.0 and 7.0 and GOM values in the high 90's to low 100s.

However, if I were in your shoes, I would also start monitoring your battery capacity by using TorquePro. I have been doing this for the last 1.5 years for both my 2014 and 2016 Spark EVs and I have a very believable picture of the rate the battery capacity is degrading in both cars.

qrper
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:51 am

Re: battery range and cold weather

Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:31 am

Thanks for the note. I was beginning to think there was something amiss with the battery pack.

Since we're not even into winter yet, I glad i still have my ICE autos.

From your experience, will I see even more drop in range when we hit the low teens in temperature?

And!!

Will I get the capacity back with the coming of warmer weather in the spring?

mike

scrambler
Posts: 142
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:11 pm

Re: battery range and cold weather

Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:32 am

How cold is it where you are?
going from 120 to 65 seems a bit excessive for temperature (unless extreme).
Have you changed driving conditions, like more highspeed highway driving, or using a lot of the heater?

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 1073
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca in Central California

Re: battery range and cold weather

Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:44 am

qrper wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:31 am
Thanks for the note. I was beginning to think there was something amiss with the battery pack.

Since we're not even into winter yet, I glad i still have my ICE autos.

From your experience, will I see even more drop in range when we hit the low teens in temperature?

And!!

Will I get the capacity back with the coming of warmer weather in the spring?

mike
I can't tell you how much additional, if any, your GOM range will drop when temperatures reach into the low 20s and high teens but it will probably drop a bit more. Environmental factors need to be considered too such as driving through snow. Perhaps Spark EV drivers living in Canada or back East in the USA can address this question.

What I can tell you is I have seen my GOM as high as 115 in the summer and as low as 65 in the cold winter - cold being around 30 deg. F. I have had to learn the impact the heater and AC have on the GOM range but it is only a concern if I have to worry about running short of power while driving. I always experience a significant drop in GOM when using the heater with the desired cabin temperature set to 71 deg. F. Only recently did I try the heated seats so I really cannot say much about them other than they worked and were comfortable in 45 deg. F weather.

Will you get your GOM range back in the Summer? Absolutely. But, over time, you may (will) experience a very slow degradation in your HV battery capacity and this will eventually affect you GOM range. As an example, my 2016 Spark EV used to get around 105 - 110 miles when the car was fully charged. Today, my full-charge GOM range is in the mid to high 90s.

My TorquePro data shows my HV battery is degrading at a rate of about 1 kWh every 10k miles. This is not too much of a concern to me as there are, in my "local" area a number of DCFC charging stations within 45 miles of each other. So I may end up stopping and charging more often but Sparky will just keep going down the highway.

qrper
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:51 am

Re: battery range and cold weather

Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:57 am

I'm in Ohio. Not exactly the sunshine state in winter.

It seemed that every time I got into the spark, the range dropped when it gets cold, I'm talking mid 20s to mid 30s here. I rarely use the heater on the way to someplace, and only when I'm on my way back do I turn the heat on. The cabin heater really sucks the electrons out of the battery. The heated seats take a lot less energy than the cabin heater. So, if it's cold out, you'd better bundle up if you're riding with me.

I need to look into this TorquePro thingiee.

Doesn't the car heat the batteries up when it get cold, cold? Only once during a hot spell in the middle of august did I see some power being used as battery conditioning. I figured it was cooling the HV pack.

I'm holding constant at about 4.9 kWhrs per mile.Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less.

I live kinda rural, yet the 'big' city is only 6 miles down the road. So my usual travels are a mix of highway speeds at 55-65 mph, yet a lot of 25ish mph while in the city.

There are a few, count'em three, public chargers in my neck of the woods. One charges at forty cents a kWh. I pay a nickel per kW here at the house, and this summer I installed a 6kWp solar array to offset the Spark's charging.

still a large learning curve. I wonder if the Chevy Bolt has similar issues when its battery pack get cold?

mike

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 1073
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca in Central California

Re: battery range and cold weather

Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:39 pm

qrper wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:57 am
I'm in Ohio. Not exactly the sunshine state in winter.

It seemed that every time I got into the spark, the range dropped when it gets cold, I'm talking mid 20s to mid 30s here. I rarely use the heater on the way to someplace, and only when I'm on my way back do I turn the heat on. The cabin heater really sucks the electrons out of the battery. The heated seats take a lot less energy than the cabin heater. So, if it's cold out, you'd better bundle up if you're riding with me.

I need to look into this TorquePro thingiee.

Doesn't the car heat the batteries up when it get cold, cold? Only once during a hot spell in the middle of august did I see some power being used as battery conditioning. I figured it was cooling the HV pack.

I'm holding constant at about 4.9 kWhrs per mile.Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less.

I live kinda rural, yet the 'big' city is only 6 miles down the road. So my usual travels are a mix of highway speeds at 55-65 mph, yet a lot of 25ish mph while in the city.

There are a few, count'em three, public chargers in my neck of the woods. One charges at forty cents a kWh. I pay a nickel per kW here at the house, and this summer I installed a 6kWp solar array to offset the Spark's charging.

still a large learning curve. I wonder if the Chevy Bolt has similar issues when its battery pack get cold?

mike
TorquePro is an APP that runs on Android tablets and phones. To use TorquePro to measure you need to have the Bolt PIDs and install them on your device. Once installed, you can set up TorquePro to connect to your OBD2 port in the Spark EV using an OBD2 adapter. I use TorquePro to measure a number of variables with the most important being battery capacity.

But, you can also use the information from the Spark EV's Energy Information screen to make a rough calculation of your current battery capacity. To start you need to fully charge your Spark EV. This will reset all of the data on the Energy Information screen to zero. Then drive the car as you normally would. At your next charging event go to the energy information screen and you will find the percent values for DRIVE, CLIMATE and BATTERY. You will also find the value for ENERGY USED. Total the percent values for DRIVE, CLIMATE and BATTERY and convert the total to a decimal number. Divide the ENERGY USED value by the decimal number and you will get an estimate of your HV battery capacity. The Energy Information screen can be accessed by powering on the car and pressing the LEAF button located at the bottom right of the display screen in the center of the dash. One note - the battery capacity value will be more accurate with higher ENERGY USED values (i.e., drive more miles before calculating).

FYI - The Energy Information screen in my 2016 Spark EV shows I had 3.8 kWh used representing a total of 24% of my battery used. My battery capacity calculation is 3.8 / .24 = 15.8 kWh. This is actually high as the TorquePro values I measured at the same time are a battery capacity of 15.1 kWh and 22.7% of the battery used. My current GOM is 78. 78 (GOM) / 77.3% (TorquePro SoC value) = a full charge GOM of 101 miles.

This is a lot to understand but it works and I hope it helps you understand "Sparky".

Kermit
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:47 am

Re: battery range and cold weather

Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:05 pm

If you have a 240V outlet you are charging with you can do a preconditioning cycle (remote start) which lasts 20 minutes until it turns off. This will get your battery temperature up to the optimal temperature (12C.) If you just drive the car cold the car appears to only heat the battery to 2C which effects the range quite a bit. If you have a 120V outlet I would precondition about an hour before you leave because it seems the battery holds it's temperature well and it may be able to charge itself back up before you leave.

With the cold air you may want to make sure your tire pressures are still at the optimal level (~40 PSI.)

I'd recommend the Torque (Android) or Enginelink (iOS) apps for checking your battery capacity and to see when the battery heater is on etc.
2016 Spark EV
2017 Volt

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 1073
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca in Central California

Re: battery range and cold weather

Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:36 pm

Kermit wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:05 pm
If you have a 240V outlet you are charging with you can do a preconditioning cycle (remote start) which lasts 20 minutes until it turns off. This will get your battery temperature up to the optimal temperature (12C.) If you just drive the car cold the car appears to only heat the battery to 2C which effects the range quite a bit. If you have a 120V outlet I would precondition about an hour before you leave because it seems the battery holds it's temperature well and it may be able to charge itself back up before you leave.

With the cold air you may want to make sure your tire pressures are still at the optimal level (~40 PSI.)

I'd recommend the Torque (Android) or Enginelink (iOS) apps for checking your battery capacity and to see when the battery heater is on etc.
Thanks for the info Kermit. I have never used the preconditioning feature to warm up my HV battery in the winter. My Spark EVs are kept in my garage which does not get that low in temperature. Regardless, I will give this a try this winter. Thanks again. MrDRMorgan.

SparkE
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: battery range and cold weather

Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:05 pm

MrDRMorgan wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:36 pm
Kermit wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:05 pm
If you have a 240V outlet you are charging with you can do a preconditioning cycle (remote start) which lasts 20 minutes until it turns off. This will get your battery temperature up to the optimal temperature (12C.) If you just drive the car cold the car appears to only heat the battery to 2C which effects the range quite a bit. If you have a 120V outlet I would precondition about an hour before you leave because it seems the battery holds it's temperature well and it may be able to charge itself back up before you leave.

With the cold air you may want to make sure your tire pressures are still at the optimal level (~40 PSI.)

I'd recommend the Torque (Android) or Enginelink (iOS) apps for checking your battery capacity and to see when the battery heater is on etc.
Thanks for the info Kermit. I have never used the preconditioning feature to warm up my HV battery in the winter. My Spark EVs are kept in my garage which does not get that low in temperature. Regardless, I will give this a try this winter. Thanks again. MrDRMorgan.
If you are plugged in using a 240V L2 EVSE (so, 3.3 kW), preconditioning for 15 mins before leaving will also warm up the inside of the vehicle AND the heater coils, while pulling a lot of energy from the wall instead of the battery. I have found that the heater takes more energy the first 5-10 minutes while it gets the cabin "about the right temp", and less (constant) energy to keep it there. Useful info in areas where you will be driving in 30 degree temps. AND (as already mentioned) the car will heat up the battery pack to a higher temp. (Neither is really all that useful, and even probably wasteful, if you are only going to be driving for 10 minutes before parking the car. The preconditioning strategy is most useful when you are going to be driving the car for a while.)

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