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Old 04-04-2015, 10:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Red Devil - '11 Honda Insight Elegance
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BMW i3 "bricked" at the charger!

Dutch carmag AutoWeek is subjecting a BMW i3 with range extender to an endurance test.
The other day they found it dead at the charger.
This could happen to other electric cars too.

So here is the report of what happened, what caused it, how they resolved it, what they should have done and how to prevent it in the first place.
Originally Posted by AutoWeek (translated)
So there we are, in the cold. To make matters worse an icy wind is gaining force. No way the i3 will unlock, at least not by remote. Locked like a safe at the charging station.
Finally, the remote reveals a physical key with which we can lift a cap in the door handle, hiding a lock. We get behind the wheel. Problem solved.
But no. Even inside the car there are no signs of life. The i3 is a brick.
Strange, as when it was hooked up yesterday it still had more than half its capacity left.

The charging cable will not unlock, neither from the car nor from the charger. A call to the service department makes the charger unlock the cable. But the car is still in P with locked wheels.
Some time after calling the BMW emergency service a tow truck arrives and winches it aboard with tires scraping.
The diagnose at the BMW garage reveals that the 12V battery was completely discharged.
The little battery powers all electronics, and the central locking, power cable release.
After it has been replaced everything functions again. The main battery is all right, luckily ... Apparently it does not recharge the 12V battery when parked.
The logfiles from the chargers company show that the cable locking had failed; not mechanically (it was locked after all) but by software.
It looks like the charge controller in the car kept polling the charger whether the charge could take place, but the station refused because of connector lock failure.
The continued communication has most likely exhausted the 12V battery.
So... Make sure the car is actually being charged before you leave, especially when you are using a charging point for the first time.
Had they done that they would have noticed it did not work and maybe go to another point or skip the charging.

And of course, when it is bricked like this do not drag it on a tow vehicle but jump the 12V battery and switch on the ignition so the main battery takes over recharging the 12V battery...

Last week a colleague of mine had a Renault Zoe as a courtesy car.

Our company provides free charging points, but we could not get it to charge the Zoe.
We left it with the cable in the charger all day, but it did not charge it.
Glad we did not brick the Zoe.
Turns out you do still need a special charge payment card to make it work (he brought that out the next day).
The card will not be 'charged' - unlike the car

2011 Honda Insight + HID, LEDs, tiny PV panel, extra brake pad return springs, neutral wheel alignment, 44/42 PSI (air), PHEV light (inop), tightened wheel nut.
lifetime FE over 0.17 Gmeter or 0.1 Mmile.

For confirmation go to people just like you.
For education go to people unlike yourself.

Last edited by RedDevil; 04-04-2015 at 01:19 PM..
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