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Protecting the HVB capacity during the hot NC summer of 2016.


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#1 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 05:17 AM

This was the 4th and hottest summer I have experienced with the C-Max. There was no problem with the HVB capacity during the first two years of operation. Both of those summers were cooler than normal for NC. The car was charged outside in my shaded driveway for the first two years.

Also of note, two large oak trees on my neighbors property were removed by the beginning of the third summer so the car spent afternoons in the sun.

The third summer was quite warm and as fall approached I noticed that the HVB capacity had dropped over the summer from about 5.4kWh to about 4.5kWh. Several times during that third summer the HVB hit the maximum 113ºf and the cars programming switched to force Hybrid operation until HVB until the battery cooled below the threshold. 

 

My plan in this 4th summer was to prevent any overheating of the HVB on the theory that it was the high temperatures that caused the capacity drop in the HVB. The goal was to not allow the HVB to exceed 102ºf. This summer also turned out to be the hottest of the 4 summers making the challenge of not overheating the HVB more difficult.

 

Notes: 

1, The HVB temperature was monitored with an xgauge programmed into a ScanGauge II.

2,  90% of charging was done with a level 2 charger and charging was always allowed to continue until the HVB was full. From empty it takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to charge the HVB due to its diminished 4.5 kWh capacity

3, My driving pattern changed this summer. For the previously three years 90% of the miles driven were EV with the remaining hybrid miles driven on the highway. This summer 60% or more of the miles driven were on the interstate highways. All highway driving was done in EV Later.

4, Previous years miles driven per month were between 700 to 800. This year miles driven per month were between 1000 and 1200.

5. The AC was set to 73ºf and was used on every drive over the summer.

6. The car sat outside all the time as I have no garage.

7, Total miles driven in 3 1/2 years is 44k miles.

 

The following guidelines were used at various times during the summer to limit overheating the HVB.

 

 * Limit the number charge cycles per day. (Usually no more than once).

 * Perform most charging late at night. (Typically used Value Charging starting at 10PM to allow the HVB to cool before the charge and allow as much time as possible for cooling before the next days driving.)

 * Never charge the car when the HVB was greater than 96ºf.

 * Stop using the ‘L ‘ driving mode

 * Try avoiding any hard braking.

 * Avoid hard acceleration.

 * Drive in EV Later on the highways.(Anytime speed exceed 45MPH)

 * Switch to EV Later anytime the HVB temperature got to 98ºf.

 * Use AC on every drive. Cooling the cabin helps get the HVB vent fan running sooner. 

 * Resist temptation to squeeze every EV mile possible even if it meant getting home with some HVB power remaining.

 

I was mostly successful in controlling the HVB temperature. The HVB reached 105ºf on several occasions and at least once went to 107ºf. In almost all cases where the goal of 102ºf was exceeded I attempted to charge the HVB more often than I should have.

 

The typical overnight lows during hot periods(This includes the entire month of August)  were no less than 80ºf. Almost never during the summer did the overnight lows get below 70ºf. The hottest daytime highs reached 100ºf. Only rarely did the daytimes highs remain below 85ºf. There was one entire week during August that no charging was done due to persistent high overnight temperatures.

 

The HVB takes quite a long time to cool down. If the overnight lows approached 80ºf the HVB would start the next day around  91ºf. This usually means much of the days driving would have to be done in EV Later.

 

In late July and early August I took a trip from NC to NH driving a total of about 2k miles. Even though it was quite warm there, nights were cool enough for the HVB to drop into the 70s. It was quite easy to keep the HVB cool on this trip due to cooler nights, longer intervals between trips and charging only with a level 1 charger.

 

I am happy to report that at summers end there was no additional lost capacity. I am still getting between 4.2 to 4.5 kWh per charge. I would prefer not to have to take extreme measures, but it does seem to validate my theory that actively limiting the HVB temperature does help preserve the HVB capacity.

 

Tom

 








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#2 OFFLINE   dontfret

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 10:03 AM

thanks for the empirical study :)  Wish I had read it 2 years ago.



#3 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 10:34 AM

Good info Tom:

 

I certainly always do those things:

 

* Try avoiding any hard braking.

 * Avoid hard acceleration.

 * Drive in EV Later on the highways.(Anytime speed exceed 45MPH)

 

I never drive in L all the time but I use L to slow down when necessary.

 

I never check HVB temperatures either, but I've never had the system force hybrid operation, when you say that what exactly happens, is the car stuck in EV later mode with Auto And EV XXX out?

 

-=>Raja.



#4 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 11:39 AM

thanks for the empirical study :)  Wish I had read it 2 years ago.

 

I wish I knew this before the summer of 2015 when I lost that kWh of capacity.

 

Tom



#5 OFFLINE   bdginmo

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 11:49 AM

Nice info. I don't think I've ever been forced into EV Later mode either. As of 1 week ago I now have a scangauge and can monitor HVB temperature realtime as well.

 

I'm glad you saw no further degradation. But this makes me wonder...had you not altered your behaviors should we expect the same amount of degradation as you did previously? For example. you saw a 0.9 kwh or 17% capacity loss that one summer. Would the same conditions produce a similar 17% loss from 4.5 kwh down to 3.8 kwh? Is the degradation amount linear with respect to the current capacity or inversely proportion or some other non-linear relationship? In other words, now that you've lost 0.9 kwh will the same stressors not matter has much any more?



#6 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 11:50 AM

Good info Tom:

 

I certainly always do those things:

 

* Try avoiding any hard braking.

 * Avoid hard acceleration.

 * Drive in EV Later on the highways.(Anytime speed exceed 45MPH)

 

I never drive in L all the time but I use L to slow down when necessary.

 

I never check HVB temperatures either, but I've never had the system force hybrid operation, when you say that what exactly happens, is the car stuck in EV later mode with Auto And EV XXX out?

 

-=>Raja.

When measuring the HVB temperature and seeing it reach 113ºf the mode does switch to EV later and the Auto and EV modes are no longer selectable. All available miles left in the HVB are no longer accessible until the HVB cools. On the empower screen the maximum available EV power is reduced to an extremely low value. As the HVB starts to cool down the EV power on the Empower screen can be seen to increase the amount available. Eventually is the HVB cools enough EV and auto modes once again become available. 

 

The main problem in the area I live is that overnight lows can stay so high that the HVB can't cool enough to allow for much EV operation the next day. This is probably the main reason I ran into problems with the HVB reaching such high temperatures. If I were able to garage the car and/or live in an area where overnight lows better helped cool the HVB these temperature problems would likely have been avoided.

 

Tom



#7 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 12:01 PM

Thanks Tom for the insight.  I've never had that happen, however, mysteriously I've had the car get locked into AUTO mode with EV and EV later XXX'd out even with a good charge left in the HVB.  This happened to me twice so far in 3 1/3 years.  The solution is to pull over and power cycle the car, otherwise the car insists on draining the HVB down to zero even on the highway or wherever you drive.  I notice this problem when I'm trying to switch back into EV later as I'm using the battery slowly on a long trip and it won't switch, locked into AUTO mode.

 

As far as your loss, I think the major issue for you was the 240v charger.  It gave you the ability to go in and out all day long and recharge often during the day.  Remember you said you used to go out, run errrands, come back in, recharge the car, go out again, get the grand kids, come back home, plug the car in again, then go out and deliver the grand kids and come back.  I think you said you drove like 70 miles on average daily all 100% electric due to being able to recharge the HVB fast.  That probably what elevated your temperature the most and damaged the HVB, besides other things like heat and such.  

 

Sometimes having the 240v charger can backfire due to this, people don't care about battery usage any more, the can become wasteful of it knowing they can recharge quick once back home.  Living on a 120v charger only, you tend to plan your trips, conserve the HVB as much as possible by not speeding and such, so that in case you need more later you can have enough to go out.  And in essence its alot less potential usage on the battery in a daily routine, maybe because you may go out once and combine the trips rather than go out 3 times in a row.

 

-=>Raja.



#8 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 12:14 PM

Nice info. I don't think I've ever been forced into EV Later mode either. As of 1 week ago I now have a scangauge and can monitor HVB temperature realtime as well.

 

I'm glad you saw no further degradation. But this makes me wonder...had you not altered your behaviors should we expect the same amount of degradation as you did previously? For example. you saw a 0.9 kwh or 17% capacity loss that one summer. Would the same conditions produce a similar 17% loss from 4.5 kwh down to 3.8 kwh? Is the degradation amount linear with respect to the current capacity or inversely proportion or some other non-linear relationship? In other words, now that you've lost 0.9 kwh will the same stressors not matter has much any more?

Yours is a great question but I am not willing to do any heat stress testing to see if additional HVB capacity is lost. Others have had more capacity lost issues than I may expectation is that continued temperature stress of the HVB will cause additional losses. 

 

Other factors may also contribute to lost capacity such as the number of charge cycles. In three and half years I have likely charged over 1400 times( I have driven >35k EV miles). I don't think this is a factor in my capacity losses since I am not experiencing any losses other than after the hot summer then the HVB experienced a great deal of stress.

 

Tom



#9 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 12:26 PM

Thanks Tom for the insight.  I've never had that happen, however, mysteriously I've had the car get locked into AUTO mode with EV and EV later XXX'd out even with a good charge left in the HVB.  This happened to me twice so far in 3 1/3 years.  The solution is to pull over and power cycle the car, otherwise the car insists on draining the HVB down to zero even on the highway or wherever you drive.  I notice this problem when I'm trying to switch back into EV later as I'm using the battery slowly on a long trip and it won't switch, locked into AUTO mode.

 

As far as your loss, I think the major issue for you was the 240v charger.  It gave you the ability to go in and out all day long and recharge often during the day.  Remember you said you used to go out, run errrands, come back in, recharge the car, go out again, get the grand kids, come back home, plug the car in again, then go out and deliver the grand kids and come back.  I think you said you drove like 70 miles on average daily all 100% electric due to being able to recharge the HVB fast.  That probably what elevated your temperature the most and damaged the HVB, besides other things like heat and such.  

 

Sometimes having the 240v charger can backfire due to this, people don't care about battery usage any more, the can become wasteful of it knowing they can recharge quick once back home.  Living on a 120v charger only, you tend to plan your trips, conserve the HVB as much as possible by not speeding and such, so that in case you need more later you can have enough to go out.  And in essence its alot less potential usage on the battery in a daily routine, maybe because you may go out once and combine the trips rather than go out 3 times in a row.

 

-=>Raja.

You clearly have a point. In hot weather the level 2 charger does create opportunities to charge more often and this increases the heat load in the HVB. What I have learned is that hot weather HVB temperature management is a must when overnight temperatures do not allow the pack to cool sufficiently. This is the main reason I limited charging or for that one week that I did not charge at all. During that one week I still had HVB temperatures that were hard to keep below my 102ºf goal. So even with no charging, hot weather was still caused a Hot HVB.

 

On my trip north to NH with driving Hybrid all day by the time I got to the hotel I did not charge the pack because it was about 100ºf. It was quite hot that day with outside temperatures in the 90s. Sometimes Not charging the HVB is the best option but those without a means to keep tabs on the HVB temperature will only be able to guess as to what to do.

 

Tom



#10 OFFLINE   bro1999

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 02:42 PM

It's ridiculous you guys have to do this in the first place. If Ford would stand by its products (and divulge specific battery capacity warranty terms like Nissan, GM, etc)
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#11 OFFLINE   dontfret

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 02:44 PM

I wish I knew this before the summer of 2015 when I lost that kWh of capacity.

 

Tom

I'm down to ~3.8 of plug in capacity



#12 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 02:57 PM

Can you imagine for a moment, what capacity Gary's battery capacity would be now, since he may still be on the "dealer tank" to hold his lifetime over 500mpg achievement in all that Florida heat?

 

Just came to me...  :whistling:

 

-=>Raja.



#13 OFFLINE   fotomoto

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 04:06 PM

It's ridiculous you guys have to do this in the first place. 

 

They don't have to, they choose to.  Me?  I choose to charge and drive; rinse, lather, repeat.    :shift:



#14 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 04:21 PM

It's ridiculous you guys have to do this in the first place. If Ford would stand by its products (and divulge specific battery capacity warranty terms like Nissan, GM, etc)

 

I agree that we should be able to ignore the HVB and just drive but the reality is that the HVB cooling system is not up to the task. I made the choice to preserve the HVB capacity by taking the measure needed to prevent HVB overheating.

 

Ford will have to step up their game if they want any future business from me.

 

Tom


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#15 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 04:23 PM

Can you imagine for a moment, what capacity Gary's battery capacity would be now, since he may still be on the "dealer tank" to hold his lifetime over 500mpg achievement in all that Florida heat?

 

Just came to me...  :whistling:

 

-=>Raja.

In some respects it is to bad Gary is long gone. In some ways he was entertaining although never very helpful.

 

Tom



#16 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 04:28 PM

They don't have to, they choose to.  Me?  I choose to charge and drive; rinse, lather, repeat.    :shift:

I like your style. At first I too wanted to charge, drive and repeat but I found myself caught up in the details and being newly retied I had too much time on my hands. So now the car is a bit of a hobby. At least I have far more knowledge for the next time around when I migrate to another car in the future. That won't be for awhile though.

 

Tom



#17 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 05:37 PM

 

In some respects it is to bad Gary is long gone. In some ways he was entertaining although never very helpful.

 

Tom

 

Yeah he certainly was entertaining, and he liked to create "hot topics" or make topics hot...!  The insulting part is what got him kicked off the site, unfortunate, but to be accurate, alot of the information he was flaming people about that he provided was just dead nuts incorrect.

 

-=>Raja.



#18 OFFLINE   cwstnsko

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 05:58 PM

The Focus Electric is a lot like the Cmax Energy, but has a proper thermal management system for the battery, it just doesn't work for road trips like the CMax does :-|

#19 OFFLINE   Perry Knopp

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 11:04 AM

 So.......(from my question in another thread).......I did learn something here that I should have figured out anyway.......I would be wise to not plug in and start charging after just arriving home from exhausting the battery. Plug in and set to charge later when possible. 

 

 Anyone fiddled around with a system to increase battery cooling? Seems to me that it wouldn't have been too difficult for Ford to have run a vent to the battery that cools when A/C/ is on.

 

 Anyone on here swapped batteries out? How big of a job is it? I see battery packs out of wrecked cars with 15k on them for $7-$800 that should still have lots of life in them. I didn't really buy the car to "save money". I simply like playing with the technology. Having something a little different. I know it would take forever to make that money back. That's not the point.

 

 If I thought I could charge the batteries without a care for another 40K and then swap out to a low mileage replacement, I might be happy doing that.



#20 OFFLINE   stolenmoment

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 11:30 AM

The battery already takes in cabin air for cooling; some folks have experimented with adding a muffin fan at the intake, with minimal improvement to the reported battery temperature.


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