emotodude
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:38 pm

2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:45 pm

I am the original owner of my 2014 Spark EV, bought in Oct 2013, just ticked over 40,000 miles. Just got back from a short trip and noticed the battery capacity is seemingly getting rather low. By my maths this equates to ~15.3kWh capacity. Time to get it checked at the dealer? What is the warranty threshold?

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SparkE
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:34 am

emotodude wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:45 pm
I am the original owner of my 2014 Spark EV, bought in Oct 2013, just ticked over 40,000 miles. Just got back from a short trip and noticed the battery capacity is seemingly getting rather low. By my maths this equates to ~15.3kWh capacity. Time to get it checked at the dealer? What is the warranty threshold?
OK, this is from memory, so it might be wrong ... the 2014 Spark EV battery warranty is for 8 years and 100K miles. The definition of "normal" degradation during that period is up to 35% (for a 2014 - I think that it was raised to 40% for 2015 and 2016). If the battery had a 20kWh capacity when new, that would mean you could lose up to 7kWh (i.e., down to 13 kWh when full) and still be considered "within warranty limits". If you are getting an average of 5 mi/kWh, you would lose 35 miles of full-charge range. Now, that is blurring the lines between "actual capacity" and "usable capacity". The battery may, theoretically, be chargeable from completely empty to 'full' with 20 kWh, but the 'usable' capacity may be lower (say, 18 kWh) because GM made it impossible to really, completely, fully charge or discharge (meaning they left a non-user-accessible buffer zone at the top and bottom, to make the battery last longer. I don't remember ever seeing GM publishing official capacity info on the batteries in the Spark (with the clarification that they were 'theoretical' or 'usable'), but some figures I've heard were around 21 kWh for the 2014 (before they changed battery supplier for the 2015). Usable, I would guess was about 18.5 kWh (since the default m/kWh for the car is 4.4, and 82/4.4 is 18.6).

65% of 18.6 is 12
65% of 20 is 13

What does all that mean? You have until 2021 AND 100,000 miles max to use the battery warranty. And you probably can't get it applied until the usable capacity of the battery is below 13 kWh (a highway range of around 57-60 miles in warm weather, around 75 degrees F).

Frankly, it looks like your battery is doing fine, and what will probably happen is that the battery won't degrade enough to get it replaced. So, you drive it several more years until the range just isn't enough for your usage anymore, then :
1) buy a used (4 or 5 -year old) Bolt with ~180-220 miles range for $10K
2) use the Spark only for around town driving after that (the maintenance is pretty much nonexistent, as you know) OR let a kid or a wife or girlfriend drive it while you drive the Bolt

emotodude
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:38 pm

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:48 pm

Thanks for all the info. May I inquire where the "official" battery degradation warranty info is? 35% degradation in ~ 5 years seems pretty excessive, and had I understood that from the get-go I might have been less inclined to purchase the car outright...

SparkE
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:09 pm

emotodude wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:48 pm
Thanks for all the info. May I inquire where the "official" battery degradation warranty info is? 35% degradation in ~ 5 years seems pretty excessive, and had I understood that from the get-go I might have been less inclined to purchase the car outright...
There should be a "warranty information" packet/sleeve/envelope in your glove box. If not, post here and maybe somebody has one for the 2014 that they can photo and upload here...

However, getting to math ....

15.3 kWh left out of 20 kWh is 24% degredation, not 35%.

15.3 kWh kWh (usable) out of (maybe?) 18.5 kWh (original usable) is 17% ( (18.5 - 15.3) / 18.5 ), not 35%

The warranty is applied if after 8 YEARS (or 100K miles) the battery drops more than 35%. You aren't in that situation yet.

emotodude
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:38 pm

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:42 pm

The lack of concrete battery warranty data is annoying. i.e. 35% after 8 years of what original capacity? That should translate to a known fixed value which should be publicly acknowledged. The original marketing specs were for a 21kWh battery. If somehow, the "useable" is less (and undocumented), and then the degradation allowance is for up to 35% off of that, that's just downright shady tactics...

SparkE
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:55 pm

emotodude wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:42 pm
The lack of concrete battery warranty data is annoying. i.e. 35% after 8 years of what original capacity? That should translate to a known fixed value which should be publicly acknowledged. The original marketing specs were for a 21kWh battery. If somehow, the "useable" is less (and undocumented), and then the degradation allowance is for up to 35% off of that, that's just downright shady tactics...
Well, then, it seems that you could easily fight that if they published 21 kWh battery in the spec. When you calculate that you are getting close to passing 35% degradation around (13.6 kWh), bring it in under warranty and have it checked. You still have about 2 1/2 years (and 60,000 miles) to go, so maybe you will pass the limit and get a replacement battery!

emotodude
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:38 pm

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:07 pm

SparkE wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:55 pm
Well, then, it seems that you could easily fight that if they published 21 kWh battery in the spec. When you calculate that you are getting close to passing 35% degradation around (13.6 kWh), bring it in under warranty and have it checked. You still have about 2 1/2 years (and 60,000 miles) to go, so maybe you will pass the limit and get a replacement battery!
Lol, guess I'm hoping for my battery to fail harder.

Also, FYI, I just read through my entire Owners Manual and Warranty books and there is no battery capacity specification anywhere...

scrambler
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:11 pm

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:43 pm

Well, the nominal capacity (20 or 21kwh) has definitely nothing to do with the % degradation, as you never got to use that full capacity in the first place. The usable capacity value does not officially appears any where, but is believed to be around 18.4 kWh

From the warranty terms, GM is the only one with all the exact information, and the only ones who will determine if your degradation matches the warranty.

Shady? sure, but that is the way it is :)

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 993
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca, California

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:51 am

SparkE wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:09 pm
emotodude wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:48 pm
Thanks for all the info. May I inquire where the "official" battery degradation warranty info is? 35% degradation in ~ 5 years seems pretty excessive, and had I understood that from the get-go I might have been less inclined to purchase the car outright...
There should be a "warranty information" packet/sleeve/envelope in your glove box. If not, post here and maybe somebody has one for the 2014 that they can photo and upload here...

However, getting to math ....

15.3 kWh left out of 20 kWh is 24% degredation, not 35%.

15.3 kWh kWh (usable) out of (maybe?) 18.5 kWh (original usable) is 17% ( (18.5 - 15.3) / 18.5 ), not 35%

The warranty is applied if after 8 YEARS (or 100K miles) the battery drops more than 35%. You aren't in that situation yet.
Here are some battery capacity data points for my 2014 Spark EV w/o DCFC:

17 Aug 15 - 1661 miles - 19.86 kwh from Energy Information screen data
15 Aug 16 - 6021 miles - 18.60 kWh from Energy Information screen data
28 Jun 17 - 10550 miles - 17.73 kWh from Energy Information screen data
20 Jun 18 - 14318 miles - 17.2 kWh as measured by TorquePro
7 Feb 19 - 17076 miles - 16.4 kWh as measured by TorquePro

Note: My current TorquePro data for both my 2014 and 2016 Spark EVs show a ~1 kWh drop in battery capacity when the battery temperature drops from around 30 deg. C to 14 deg. C (Jun 18 to Feb 19). How much of this drop is due to battery temperature and how much is due to degradation I will not know until Jun 19 when the battery temperature will be back up to 30 deg. C.

SparkE
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: 2014 Spark EV down to 15.3kWh, time to take it to the dealer?

Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:52 am

MrDRMorgan wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:51 am

Here are some battery capacity data points for my 2014 Spark EV w/o DCFC:

17 Aug 15 - 1661 miles - 19.86 kwh from Energy Information screen data
15 Aug 16 - 6021 miles - 18.60 kWh from Energy Information screen data
{...}
So it appears that 20 kWh is a good 'guess' for initial usable capacity. And if GM publish data saying that the initial capaity was 21 kWh, so much the better!!

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