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I-MiEV Main battery cell failure

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philipowen View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 June 2017 at 1:49pm
My 2012 i-Miev has just developed a faulty main battery cell. Cell 72 is now consistently about 0.1 volts below the average cell voltage and maximum charge state is now 15 bars, and charging seems to be very slow.
The problem only became apparent Sunday morning and I haven't yet determined what the range is with the faulty cell but it seems to be down 30 to 40 km from what it was last week. May be 70 to 80 km which makes the vehicle not much use to us.   Last Friday we drove 93km with 2 people and 2 bikes aboard and finished with 2 bars and RR of 11 (after coming up Greenmount),that was within the expected performance. Monday it dropped 5 bars in 17km with zero net climb.

I am wondering if this sudden loss of cell capacity is the usual mode of cell failure and if I can expect the cell it to rapidly deteriorate or if it is likely to have reached a stable low capacity.

Does anyone know what Mitsubishi's warranty policy on the main battery is? How bad does it need to be before they will replace it? And how long does it take to get a new battery? A salesman at Paceway suggested that it would take 6 months.   
2012 iMiev since 2013.
32000 km.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zzcoopej Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2017 at 2:09pm
Originally posted by philipowen philipowen wrote:

Monday it dropped 5 bars in 17km with zero net climb


That does not sound good. Are you definitely giving it enough time to do the balancing to completion after the drop to <2 bars? If you are running on a timer or offpeak period it may not be long enough.
The battery warranty in Australia is pretty vague compared to USA and Europe, I've seen nothing definitive, however I've heard of 2 battery warranty claims here in Australia for iMiEV's where part or all of the replacement cost was met by Mitsubishi. Yours being 2012 should be within the manufacturers 5 years so you won't even need to pursue the statutory warranty route.

Edited by zzcoopej - 13 June 2017 at 2:15pm
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philipowen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philipowen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2017 at 8:49pm
The charge is definitely going to completion. Today it seemed to be behaving a tiny bit better. Dropped 4bars on a 20km trip down and up a 200m climb and then charged up to 14 bars and turned off in about 3.5 hours. Final cell voltages were Average 4.101, High 4.105, Low 4.040. SOC 81% and RR 98. I'll take in for a battery test in the next day or two.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 July 2017 at 9:08pm
Hi,
our Imiev battery is becoming sad. It is now on about 80Km range, which is marginal for our requirements. Anyone priced a replacement battery lately?
I will give it a run, then check the cell voltages (which I have not done for about 3 months, when it seemed OK.)
regards, Doug (Lismore, N NSW)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philipowen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 July 2017 at 9:27am
Hi doug, I got a quote for a 2012 battery pack last Thursday, $12720.40 inc GST (trade price). My vehicle is still under warranty but Mitsubishi are very slow to do anything about replacing its battery. Its been with a Mitsubishi service shop for 3 weeks with no response. I spoke to Mitsubishi Head Office last Thursday and hope to get some response today, if I get none I plan to order the battery and get the local EV shop to fit it.

Mitsubishi's excuse for taking so long to respond is that they recently replace the MCU under warranty and are suspicious that there is some fault in the vehicle that caused both MCU and battery failure. There is no Mitsubishi authorised i-Miev service centre in WA so there is not much i-MiEV expertise within Mitsubishi WA.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rhills Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 July 2017 at 9:39am
Hi Philip,

Which dealer do you have your iMIEV with? Our Outlander PHEV has been with Melville Mitsubishi since Wednesday last week with a weird (unfortunately disabling) MCU fault that they hadn't been able to diagnose last we heard on Friday.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philipowen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 July 2017 at 11:10am
Rob, After my experience with the MCU warranty claim through Paceway in osborne park I decided to use Daniel at EVshop as my agent. After running battery tests to confirm one bad cell (and another not good) Daniel had some discussion with Paceway and got bad vibes so took it to Wanneroo Mitsubishi to initiate a warranty claim. Its been there for 3 and half weeks with, as far as I can tell, no progress.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bladecar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 5:48am
Hi,

I'd like to discuss how we charge the imiev.
Is it true that the battery pack only balances when it is charged to full.
If that is true, then the fewer times we charge to full, the fewer opportunities there are for the pack to balance and the more likely particular cells will vary from highest charge to lowest charge.

I was very happy with the change in the imiev when they reprogrammed it recently, giving much nicer regen through throttle only.
My car is just recently showing lower range and I wonder if the programming is giving lower predictions.

I think it might be worth it to always fully charge these cars each time until a time when a battery balancing system can do just that, keep going until it properly balances a battery pack.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rhills Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 8:35am
Hi Phil,
Originally posted by philipowen philipowen wrote:

Rob, After my experience with the MCU warranty claim through Paceway in osborne park I decided to use Daniel at EVshop as my agent.

Now that's a smart move, we might do the same if we don't get any joy with the Mitsubishi Dealer.

Cheers,
Rob Hills
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zzcoopej Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 8:40am
Originally posted by bladecar bladecar wrote:

Is it true that the battery pack only balances when it is charged to full.


Balancing is triggered in the iMiEV ONLY when you run the iMiEV to <2 bars (ie flashing), and balancing only happens once the charge is completed, and needs to be via a Level 1 or 2 charge, ie not CHADEMO fastcharge. If you use a timer, be careful to allow this extra time.
Mitsubishi recommend doing this full balancing charge "once in the first year and every 24 months thereafter", however the Outlander PHEV does it much more frequently, suggesting to me that the 1-2 yearly interval for the iMiEV is really a minimum.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 9:08am
Originally posted by zzcoopej zzcoopej wrote:


Balancing is triggered in the iMiEV ONLY when you run the iMiEV to <2 bars (ie flashing), and balancing only happens once the charge is completed, and needs to be via a Level 1 or 2 charge, ie not CHADEMO fastcharge. If you use a timer, be careful to allow this extra time.
Mitsubishi recommend doing this full balancing charge "once in the first year and every 24 months thereafter", however the Outlander PHEV does it much more frequently, suggesting to me that the 1-2 yearly interval for the iMiEV is really a minimum.
Actually I do not think that is true - it also doesn't pass the reasonableness test.
The SOC guess-o-meter calibration requires exactly what you describe.
The iMiev balances EVERY time it charges via it's AC charge port. The manual actually suggests leaving it on charge for an extra 2 or three hours one per fortnight. That also makes sense.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acmotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 9:29am
+1 with Jonny's reasoning.
You don't get all cells to 4.105V at full charge by chance. They are balanced every time from when the first cell reaches 4.105V. (at least if not sooner)
Remember it is winter and the pack will have lower capacity by temperature.
My feeling is that after any cell goes below about 3V that some time may be required to balance the pack again.
One cell will always be the lowest V on discharge and can be at 2.7V when others are at 3.4V
This doesn't mean the cell is necessarily faulty, just that it is weaker by a few % capacity. The cell at 3.4V may only have 5% capacity left before it reaches 2.7V (remember to consider the typical lithium discharge curve)
It is the relative Ah capacity of each cell and not simply the terminal voltage that should be considered (though often we see only the terminal voltage and react to that). A spread of cell capacity of maybe 5% is quite acceptable in a pack of 5 years age IMHO.
Put it this way... we can see the weakest cell but should remember that the strongest may not be much better. We don't get to test its Ah capacity individually.

All that said, these packs will age and focussing on (even swapping) one cell will not restore anything like original capacity.

It does seem that time (or time spent at 100% SOC) has more effect on battery aging, such that an imiev with 10,000k or 100,000km and same years has similar battery capacity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zzcoopej Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 10:35am
My comments were based on this from Mitsu USA -

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikedufty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 10:58am
I just had my 2010 i-MiEV run flat (fail to proceed) with 5km range still showing on the remaining range display (no turtle mode or anything). I wonder it that may be related to one or more cells being weaker than the rest. I had the impression from others that the range meter would be reliable at that end of the scale.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 2:16pm
Hi,
well I have just been onto Mitsubishi Main Office regarding getting my battery issues sorted. the very (un) helpful customer liason officer said I must take my car to an authorised Imiev dealer (& told me the nearest one is in N Sydney, 720 odd Kms away!) He was wrong because Southport has an Imiev tech, which is where it was repaired recently (a suspected MCU fault that they could not diagnose successfully, so cleared the fault register, then returned the car!) Mitsubishi on that occasion agreed to transport the car from Lismore to Southport & returned it back to Lismore. It should be noted that when I purchased the car, there was a local trained tech at the local dealer (otherwise we might not have purchased the car).

Our battery now has about 80Kms range, which is not enough to get my wife reliably to work at Ballina, a trip of about 75Kms return. Has anyone successfully claimed a battery warranty in Australia?

We charge the battery every night, which we must for my wife to be able to drive to work. It gets balanced at least once a week (because it arrives home now with little in the tank, so the balance must occur if the software has been updated during the sojourns at Mitsubishi Ferry Rd!

So, tomorrow talk to the dealer in Lismore, which is what the CLO @ Mitsub agreed is how it should proceed.....

Let you know the outcome.

regards, Doug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zzcoopej Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 2:28pm
Originally posted by doug doug wrote:

Has anyone successfully claimed a battery warranty in Australia?


I know of 2,
#1 in WA which is documented on this forum, where the owner paid something like $6k from memory and got to keep the old battery.
#2 was John in the Blue Mountains (Sydney) who had his replaced in 2015 at no cost, after a long battle which I believe was very long drawn out and painful. He's since sold his iMiEV, however if you are desperate to learn from his experience, PM me and I will forward your details onto him.

If you are not successful with warranty, you may choose to replace only the faulty cells. I know of a few people who have successfully done that, only 1 in Australia and that was using cells sourced from the above #1 WA replaced battery. I attempted to purchase John's original battery, however I was told by Ryde Mitsubishi that it needed to be sent back to Japan for analysis.

Edited by zzcoopej - 18 July 2017 at 2:56pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nuggetgalore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 July 2017 at 5:03pm
Originally posted by zzcoopej zzcoopej wrote:

My comments were based on this from Mitsu USA -



would that only be applicable for 2012 models onwards, in other words not for my 2010iMiEV?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mikedufty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 July 2017 at 12:57pm
It may only be for US models, the 2010 au mentions that calibration in the manual from new. Letter does not seem to say anything about balancing.
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