albiesmart

batteries diagnosed dead, costs: € 22.500

11 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

 

I am new on this forum. Started to search the internet after having problems with my 2013 ED. I started to work in an other city beginning this year, at 50 km distance. Just too far away to do the out en return on one charge in winter with lights, heating and wipers on. So I used my Toyota Prius instead and put my Smart away in my garage, having 80% SOC. Last week I wanted to take it out but the 12V battery was flat. Connected another 12V battery with jump leads and the the dasboard lights came on but with an error that the engine was out. No SOC reading either. Had the LV battery charging overnight with 2 amp and the next that reading 12,6 Volt. But still no change in error massages on the dash. I had it transported to the Smart Center at MB.

They called me few days later with there "diagnosis" that the 12V batt was dead, and that the HV battery was dead also! The dealer contacted with MB and concluded that replacement would cost me € 22.500 incl. taxes!!! I bought the ED at age of 2 year for € 17.500.

 

Looking at the diy batterytester on this site, but testing alone would not help me out. My guess is that if the battery cells are slowly loosing there charge over time, one of them falls below a safety level and the software shuts down the entire battery. Maybe if the "bad" cell could be charged separate, or the entire HV battery could be charged bypassing the software ( having the relay in the battery close via a command on the CAN bus?) there is a possibility of recuperating the battery.  You don't throw your laptop battery away on the first occasion it is discharged ....

 

Hope you come up with some ideas, at least interesting to discuss.

Albert

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Welcome to the site, sorry to hear of your problem...it's the main issue for me when even considering an electric vehicle along with ranges.  Hope there is a simple fix for you...good luck. I'm possitive someone will chime in to help I'm sure.

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Unfortunately there were not many smart ED's sold in Canada so there is next to no information re: repairs.

I owned an ED for 3 years and had NO issues whatsoever.

The best bet for the OP would be to call repair facilities in his area and see which ones have worked on electric cars to get another opinion.

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I agree with smart142 find a local electric car guru. I’ve seen lots of videos of other electric cars recharging individual cells to restore a battery pack. 

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Very sorry to hear about your problems with the ED.   We've had ours almost 5 years and it's been very solid.

 

I would highly recommend the open source battery tester  (https://github.com/MyLab-odyssey/ED_BMSdiag).     It will give you a list of the cells, capacity etc.  Much more than I believe the stock MB tester provides the service center.   It is quite easy to assemble. 

 

Worst case you'll have bought an Arduino and some extra bits that only get used once, but it will be much less than the cost of the battery.   Plus it will give you the ability to verify what the service folks are telling you. 

 

I think all the ED owners would appreciate hearing / seeing any details about your problems.   Dead HV batteries have been rare. 

 

Good Luck!    If I were nearby I'd lend you my tester, but it's been quite a few years since I was over that way. :)

 

Edited by Blaine

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Many 2013 to 2015 Smart ED's are ending up total write offs when they are stored for an extended period of time and the 12 volt battery fails.  I have been in discussion about this in another forum and our working hypothesis of the problem appears to be the following:

 

1. The Smart engineers and lawyers, fearful of someone getting electrocuted by the HV battery our of a Smart ED in a junkyard, programmed a "self destruct" mode into the Smart ED's battery management syatem (BMS).  The idea was that as soon as a car goes to a junkyard, the first thing removed is the 12V battery as it as valuable for recycling and to prevent lead contamination of the the scrap metal.  So when the syatem no longer detects voltage in the low voltage syatem, it proceeds to discharge every cell in the high voltage battery completely flat.  This has been confirmed as several owners here in N. America for which this has happened to and have removed and opened up their HV batteries or gotten ones from a junkyard and found near zero volts in every cell.

 

2. The draining of the 12V battery for any other reason will also trigger the self-destruct mode.  However (and this is getting more speculative) the car was supposed to have a routine in its programming to periodically turn on the DC-DC converter, and charge the 12V battery from HV system (as other EV's do).  This keeps the 12V battery charged even if the car is parked for 2 years at a 50% SOC.  But unfortunately, a firmware bug prevented this routine from occurring.

 

3. Getting more speculative yet, there was a service bulletin (Service campaign No, 2016060002) to patch the bug in the BMS.  The text of this bulletin does not describe the purpose of the software update, other than "the BMS software may not correspond to the series-level software configuration".   But it was not a recall, and only cars that happened to go into a Mercedes Benz/Smart Dealer shop for some other reason got this patch. We speculate that this softwar update was to correct for the non-functioning 12 volt charging routine.  This is based on my own coincidental observation, while taking battery discharge rate measurements, of hearing the main relays close and the battery charge even when the there was no key in the keyswitch at all.  My Smart ED has had this patch installed.

 

4.  Then, yesterday, I discovered the existence of this service bulletin: "Bulletin Number: LI54.10-P-052655 (7 May 2018)
smart ed - 12V battery discharged, undervoltage, vehicle not drivable, fault messages concerning electric drive system."  This bulletin may confirm all the speculation above, but unfortunately, I am unable to find the text of this bulletin yet.

 

Right now, we have several do-it-yourselfers who have successfully re-charged the the battery pack but are now having trouble clearing the DTC's and error conditions.  More on this here:  https://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f170/ev-battery-replacement-153826/

 

But one thing is not speculative: The sheer opacity of Mercedes Benz management in communicating this problem to consumers or even the service departments is an absolute scandal!  If we didn't live in such neoliberal times where corporations rule governments, there would be government investigations of this matter.

 

Edited by Yinzer
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That’s an awful lot of speculation. 

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5 hours ago, Yinzer said:

If we didn't live in such neoliberal times where corporations rule governments, there would be government investigations of this matter.

 Interesting post.  But I would call that scenario fascism.

 

If even half of what you posted is correct, it's frigging atrocious.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

On 7/14/2019 at 10:30 PM, darren said:

That’s an awful lot of speculation. 

The part that is not speculation is that, in some or all Smart 451 EDs, if you remove the 12 volt battery or allow it to discharge flat, the HV traction battery discharges all its cells down to zero volts (over some unknown number of days), ruining it.  There are too many accounts of this order of events happening in various internet fora (and that MB service bulletin) for it to be coincidence.

 

Do not leave your smart ED parked for more than 2 weeks without having a charger connected to the 12V battery, or you may come home to a worthless brick.

Edited by Yinzer
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But is it the result of a design flaw or deliberate subterfuge? Assuming the latter requires some huge leaps in logic and willingness to believe in conspiracy theories.

 

It seems like an awfully hostile move by any company to deliberately "brick" their own product, leaving them open to potential lawsuits or anti-competitive investigations.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

9 hours ago, darren said:

But is it the result of a design flaw or deliberate subterfuge? Assuming the latter requires some huge leaps in logic and willingness to believe in conspiracy theories.

 

It seems like an awfully hostile move by any company to deliberately "brick" their own product, leaving them open to potential lawsuits or anti-competitive investigations.

 

I never said that it was deliberate subterfuge, I simply said that they were afraid of the liability of electrocution or fire from Smarts ED's in junkyards, and so they devised a way to assure the high voltage pack gets automatically discharged without requiring any knowledge or action on the part of the junkyard personnel themselves except for the normal action of removing the 12V lead-acid battery for salvage.  It's actually a pretty clever design feature if you don't think too much about how it could go wrong.  I presume they had planned for a normally working Smart in service to automatically self-charge the 12V battery (the traction pack has enough energy to keep the 12V battery and systems working even if the car is parked for about 3-4 years - the self-discharge of lithium battery is virtually nil). But due to a software bug, the regular topping-off of the 12V battery does not work on Smart ED's without the patch - and the patch was only installed if the Smart ED came into a dealer shop for something else.

 

The MB engineers were also not familiar with the practice in colder climates of removing the 12V battery from a car if it is stored for the winter - thus a goodly number of Canadians (in the parts that are colder than Toronto)  found their Smarts bricked in the spring.

 

And, once a lot of customers came in with bricked Smart ED's,  MB did what any business would do to cut their losses - stonewalled. 

 

Also note that unlike every other electric vehicle sold in the USA which complied with the US EPA requirement that the traction battery is to be considered a part of an "emission control system" and therefore warrantied for 8 years or 80K miles. MB (specifically their lawyers) made the claim that, as an electric vehicle, the Smart ED "has no emissions controls" and so it only warranted the traction battery for 4 years or 40k miles.  Of course, in our current political-economic mileau (which goes back well before the current administration), the industry-cowed EPA or the DOT did not press this issue...

 

They also had this traction battery rental program called "battery assurance plus" that they quietly turned into some kind of "extended warranty" - which they rarely honored for the victims of these brickings - but that is another total cluster f--- for another thread.

Edited by Yinzer
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