Friday, March 5, 2021

February 2021 Drive Report; More 12 Volt Battery Info

Ok, another month in the bag and despite going to level 1 restrictions statewide, I am still driving much less than normal barely logging 800 miles in February so spent very little money charging. Since this wasn't an adjustment month and February being a short month means my typical 30 day electric bill hasn't dropped yet either so anyway that is the drive report for February so in other news...

Chevy Offering Free Bolt Upgrades

Well, obviously not something Chevy is advertising. Right now, their main push is the April software update that makes their car "completely" safe and returns them to 100% range (or whatever they had)


Today, a Seattleite turned in her 2017 Bolt LT with 20,000 miles on it and got a check under the buyback program that covered her entire purchase price minus a $5000 usage charge.  The check included taxes, yada yada. But this allowed her to immediately buy a fully loaded 2020 Premier for the EXACT SAME PRICE 

She had filed and received the full $7500 tax credit so she basically received a buyback check for more than she had paid for the car. 

In short; she arrives at dealership in an old beat up car, receive check, sign the back of the check, hand to dealer, drive home in brand new Bolt with all the bells and whistles she had always wanted but did not have. (Ok, so her car was probably in pretty good shape with many years of driving usage still left in her but you get picture. "very good shape" ALWAYS comes in 2nd to "New car smell") 

Electrify America Backtracking? 

Recently someone posted a link to an  EA station in New York boasting TWO combo CCS/Chademo stations. This was BIG news... for a day.  Although listed in the EA app, its a co sponsored site with EVolve NY.  So, looking like this is a special config site and not a new direction for Electrify America. Oh well... 

Speaking of EA, they teased us with a Port Angeles site covering half of the Scenic Olympic Peninsula Drive then announced Aberdeen! The first DC charger (non Tesla) in Grays Harbor County! THIS...IS...BIG!

So, yeah I will still glare at them for how they slighted us Chademoians but probably thru sunglasses. The Bastards! 

Blink On The Move? 

A few weeks ago, I received 3 separate notices from Plugshare that Blink had activated new charging stations; something I hadn't seen in SEVERAL years. Then they announced Brendan Jones was the new COO. For those unfamiliar with his name, he was one of the major players in launching the LEAF in North America as an employee of Nissan. He then spent time running EVgo and more recently Electrify America.  Blink remains one of the two Chademo only DC station (with level 2 AC's of course) operators in the region and like Webasto, has had very little movement on the expansion front.  

Also like Webasto, they also improved dramatically on the maintenance side (which for Blink meant doing "anything" as they did absolutely nothing for years) fixing stations that had been broken for YEARS and reducing the repair time when stations break. 

Hoping Jones can bring some new life into the company including a more flexible billing plan and more stations. 

12 Volt Battery Saga; Part....??

As you know, I have had some concerns with my 12 volt battery reaching new lows not seen in a decade of LEAFing to where I finally decided it was time to start boosting the battery. Now, I had always threatened to do this but as long as my low water mark was 12.15 volts, I held off.  But readings below 12 volts was simply too close to walking for my comfort. 

But boosting a complete charge cycle didn't help. Within 2 or 3 days, I was back under 12 volts so

Disconnecting Wi Fi

I decided to start removing things I never had including Wi Fi. So I turned it off, and off...and off.  For whatever reason, the Wi Fi would not stay off more than a few days.  At first I thought it wasn't saved but there is no way to save or submit changes.  Then I thought it came back on every time it was power cycled but that wasn't it either. It just randomly turns back on. So now I regularly turn the center screen on (don't have NAV so why have it on?) check my connections, disable Wi Fi if need be. every 2-3 trips or so. I have it down to where it only takes a few seconds. I guess practice makes perfect and I have had a LOT of practice lately!

Charging Every Day

Now, I have always recommended charging daily to cover the day's needs over charging to 100%  a few times a week like many seem to think is so much easier.  I recently had a discussion with another Facebooker about charging and he claimed using a timer to charge to a target SOC was too hard and complicated. He claims the new packs were not vulnerable to time at high SOC and it was simpler to charge 2 or 3 times a week instead. I tried once to elaborate and that didn't work so off we went on our way.  But this is just another (or many) reasons to charge every day. 

So how is this related to my 12 volt battery health?  LEAF Spy displays the voltage and current going thru the 12 volt and when I charge the traction pack every day, on start up every morning, it would nearly always show the voltage at 13.04 volts more or less with current being very small generally under ¼ an amp.  Now, as we know, the Gen 2 LEAFs boosts the 12 volt every day under normal circumstances. I could also check the charge level of the 12 volt by turning on the windshield wipers. The voltage would jump to "charge range" or about 14.4 volts or so but when charging every day, the current would mostly (19 of 21 days) be low under .1 amp.  IOW; Nissan  had determined the 12 volt was charged enough. 

BUT on days when I did not charge, I was seeing the higher charge voltage and up to 3 amps of current.  This morning I started the car and saw this; 

On the screenshot in the lower left corner you see the 12 volt status; 14.48 volts @ 2.98 amps which means its nearly a full blown boost. I checked several logs and the highest I saw was just over 4 amps so this is just about as good as it gets.  

So, I let LEAF Spy run until the 12 volt dropped to 13.04 volts which is essentially the LEAF DC system running.  This signified the end of the boost.  So I turned on the windshield wipers and the current went up when it hit charge voltage and gave me another 7 minutes of boost. This means the LEAF is simply boosting the 12 volt on a schedule and not due to the actual SOC of the 12 volt battery. 


Although I am mentioning Hx, I still don't specifically know what it is. If you recall, I went thru Q4 2020 running my SOC mostly between 20 and 45% and that was causing my Hx to creep downwards. Now don't know if that is a good thing or bad thing although I will say I noticed a lot of 40 kwh'ers with low Hx under 105% who were beating the clock on degradation so got it in my mind that a low Hx might be a good thing to aspire to.  

Well, I knew DC charging caused Hx to rise usually so I cut that out. 

So we move to Q1 2021 and I moved my SOC range up to between 35 and 70%.  I did do 2 full charges during the quarter but other than that, I never went over 70% (which was one of the full charges) with  2nd highest being 64% and at first, the Hx was continuing its decline although I will say it slowed a bit including a stretch of 5 days  when it didn't change at all which is unusual as it normally changes every day with only an occasional pause lasting no more than 2 days.

But now, its going up and has risen steadily for the past 3 weeks. It has been warmer for the last 9 days but wasn't the during the earlier part of the rise so I guess we shall see what transpires.