yukonleaf
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:06 pm

Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:30 pm

Hi all:

I have a 2012 Leaf with winter package and left it in the car port when the temperature dropped below -25C (13 below F). It sat there plugged in but in my infinite wisdom I tripped the breaker for the charger to get it to not warm the car up one day and forgot to flick it back on (how much more stupid does it get??? ), Temperatures dropped to close to - 40C = 40 below F for several days at night and warming up to - 30C (22 below F) during the day

The 12 V battery is still good (12.45V) but the drive battery does not take any charge. I wrapped the car in a tarp and put a propane heater underneath (cautiously, so the contraption does not catch fire in my continued attempt to kill the car) and had it sitting there for an afternoon. No dice.....

Is there any other procedure other than warming up the batteries and hoping they did not burst to get the car charging again.
- I tried with the original Nissan trickle charger and EVSE - both show ready but don't charge;
- The dash does not show any warning light;
- zero bars of course for battery charge.

I am seriously worried I killed the battery. Any help/wisdom would be GREATLY appreciated!!

Thanks
Stephan

alozzy
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Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:13 pm

Does LeafSpy show any DTCs?
Vancouver, CA owner of a 2013 Ocean Blue SV + QC, purchased 01/2017 in WA
Zencar 12/20/24/30A L1/L2 portable EVSE
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Loving my first BEV :D

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Nubo
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Location: Vallejo, CA

Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:18 pm

Per the manual:

If the outside temperature is -13F or less, the Li-ion battery may freeze and it cannot be charged or provide power to run the vehicle. Move the vehicle to a warm location.

also
Do not store the vehicle in temperatures below -13F for over seven days


Suggests that "freezing" might not cause permanent damage as long as it's not for too long. Warming the car may be all you need. It may take a while for hundreds of pounds of cold-soaked battery to rise to a useable temperature. A heated garage would be best. Also, as far as I know the cells don't contain water, but organic solvents. So I'm not sure "bursting" is a concern. I do know that metal plating can be a problem at very low temps, but that is if the battery is actively charging. Sounds like the car prevents that.

Looks like your weather will be warming over the coming week. Good luck!
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

yukonleaf
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:06 pm

Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:44 pm

Thanks so much for your replies Nubo and Alozzy!!
I don't have leafspy BUT - car is starting to take a charge - I am using the trickle charger to be extra careful.
Significant weight off my chest. Time for a glass of wine...
I have had the car for 3 winters now with no problem having it sit overnight at very low temps as long as it is plugged in. Seems the battery warmers are enough to keep the battery from getting too cold. But no external power supply for a week is of course deadly. I think the car was charged when the cold spell started so there was a lot of battery left to run the battery heaters, that was probably a good thing...

Anyhow - thanks again!

LeftieBiker
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Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:54 pm

I seem to remember the term "hibernate" being used somewhere, suggesting that you just need to wait for the battery to warm up again. Lithium cells can swell and suffer damage, which is half the reason why they are in metal enclosures within the pack. Hopefully they didn't manage to swell any cases.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

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Nubo
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Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:27 pm

LeftieBiker wrote:I seem to remember the term "hibernate" being used somewhere, suggesting that you just need to wait for the battery to warm up again. Lithium cells can swell and suffer damage, which is half the reason why they are in metal enclosures within the pack. Hopefully they didn't manage to swell any cases.


Yes, but Li-ion swelling is typically due to gassing from overcharge or shorts. The swelling and bursting upon freezing that can happen with Lead-Acid batteries due to their aqueous electrolyte, shouldn't be an issue with Li-ion.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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RegGuheert
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Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:07 am

Nubo wrote:Also, as far as I know the cells don't contain water, but organic solvents.
That's correct. In fact, AESC went to great lengths to keep water OUT of these cells. The humidity level in the factory is kept to a very low level. Simply put, water kills Li-ion batteries.

I'm not sure about Li-ion, but one thing that kills Li-polymer batteries and causes them to swell is allowing them to sit fully discharged. When that happens, the hydrogen somehow leaks out of something and fills the pouch, never to return. (That said, I have seen some Li-polymer batteries reduce their swelling upon charging which others do not.)
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
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LeftieBiker
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Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:49 am

Yes, water doesn't just harm lithium cells. It can make them burst into flames and/or explode. And yes on being run too low making lithium cells swell. Just not being constricted by a hard enclosure can also make lithium pouch cells swell.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

Reddy
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Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:17 pm

yukonleaf wrote:Thanks so much for your replies Nubo and Alozzy!!
I don't have leafspy BUT - car is starting to take a charge - I am using the trickle charger to be extra careful. Significant weight off my chest. Time for a glass of wine... I have had the car for 3 winters now with no problem having it sit overnight at very low temps as long as it is plugged in. Seems the battery warmers are enough to keep the battery from getting too cold. But no external power supply for a week is of course deadly. I think the car was charged when the cold spell started so there was a lot of battery left to run the battery heaters, that was probably a good thing...
LiON batteries do not like being charged quickly at extremely low temps (<0 F). I've read that an irreversible metal plating reaction can occur, resulting in permanent capacity loss. At extreme temperatures, the car will refuse to charge or only charge at 500 to 1000 W, even when connected to a 40 amp 240 V EVSE. It sounds like you found those temperatures. Good luck, it sounds like you didn't freeze the electrolyte (it's organic, not water, but can still freeze) or burst any cells, so you got lucky this time.

When it gets cold here (0 to 20 F), I specifically use up extra charge during the day (blasting the heater, driving inefficiently, taking extra trips, etc.) so that I can keep charging the battery all night on L1. This helps keep the battery "slightly" warmer. One day last winter I had 0 F and zero temperature bars showing on the dash for my 4 mi trip home. I drove a few extra miles and arrived at LBW (maybe 20 total that day, with the heat blasting 5 KW the entire time). I have a 2011 without the winter package that included the battery heater. In your environment, I would invest in heating pads under that battery (search MNL for a guy that did that in eastern Canada), a tarp, parking in an insulated garage, etc.
Reddy
2011 SL; 9 bar, 45.80 AHr; 45,000 mi; rcv'd Aug 18, 2011
Long: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... al#p226115"
Cold: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... 60#p243033"

yukonleaf
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:06 pm

Re: Extreme cold - drive battery appears dead - help

Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:07 pm

The day after ....
Well, it seems I was lucky. Checked out the Leaf after work today and still have my 11 capacity bars (91,000Km -but I think I got shafted with fake 12 bars when I bought the car in 2015 - had lost one bar about 20,000Km back).

Took it for a drive and that confirmed what I had expected in terms of endurance for this kind of temperature. Even got the battery to warm up to show one bar. It sure was a shock that I could not charge yesterday, but based on the comments, the likelihood that I swelled some cells I think is pretty limited.

Thanks again for all you guys' input, it is great to have so much help out there!

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