Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We now have three threads from owners whose 451 EDs have been bricked after long term (more than 3 months) storage. We really need to get to the bottom of this issue. This is a call for reports from those who have successfully, or unsuccessfully, stored their ED for a month or more. Please describe in detail the conditions the car was stored in, such as:


State of charge when put in storage or whether it was kept plugged in for charging during the storage period


Range of temperatures during the storage period.


Whether any decline in the indicated state of charge was noticed during the storage period


The condition of the 12 volt accessory battery at the end of the storage period.


Whether the 12 volt battery was placed on a trickle(maintenance) charger during storage.


Any other useful information.


Thanks in advance!


(Moderator, can you make this a sticky?)
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,746 Posts
If Mercedes has produced a car which is totaled if it is left parked, and it gets out in the Media, no one will ever buy one of their cars.

I can see the articles now "Mercedes - Leave your headlights on and total your car"
We now have three threads from owners whose 451 EDs have been bricked after long term (more than 3 months) storage. We really need to get to the bottom of this issue. This is a call for reports from those who have successfully, or unsuccessfully, stored their ED for a month or more. Please describe in detail the conditions the car was stored in, such as:
Well, so much for cooperation from anyone on this issue...
The reality is, over the last 10+ years, often the first post by a newbie can be their tale of woe! From clear coat is peeling to the HV battery pack has died they come here in search of answers as M-B and smart has told them they will not help.

So they post to SCoA only to find that this is NOT a manufacturer moderated Forum and though we try to help, often our "advice" includes the reality that this is similar to previous failures for which their has been no smart love.

If Daimler/M-B/smart is not, has not compiled an Epistle that summarizes ED HV Battery Pack failures what hope is there for the SCoA ED owner - most if not all have moved on, licking their wounds???

Bottom line, we are on our own in uncharted EV/ED territory and M-B/smart doesn't care. Perhaps if and when the failures reach critical mass and someone initiates a lawsuit against smartUSA . . . :shrug:
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,746 Posts
How to "awaken" smartUSA?

That being said - sometimes Social Media (in this case facebook) can be a very powerful tool with which to prod Corporate America.

If you have significant issues that are being ignored you might try smartUSA at - https://www.facebook.com/smartusa/

Or Instagram, Snapchat or maybe your local consumer driven "Action News" investigative reporter . . .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
There are quite a few Bricked owners that have moved on...this is true . I might be one as well , my story is the thread "drive system engine off" . I am sure there are many more like mine. I have had some encouragement as I believe I can remove the battery , charge each pack separately (3 packs total ) and put the battery back in .

The power of social media might help but they can just delete any post that is not favorable . If I lived in a populated area I might try local news to help get the word out, but it is 3 hours away so not an option in my case .


I will keep the form up-dated as I progress ... UnCharted territory here we come !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
The BMS tool issues forum has postings from a few people who have been working on this outside of the Daimler limitations

https://github.com/MyLab-odyssey/ED_BMSdiag/issues

And this one: https://github.com/MyLab-odyssey/ED_BMSdiag/issues/19#


From what I can see there are at least three possible failure causes out there:
  1. Uneven (weak) cell voltages
  2. Sensor failure
  3. Accident (safety fuse blown)
The last one isn't a storage problem but the first one is very likely to be the result of long storage.

Once a cell is under the minimum voltage it looks like the pack gets disabled. It may be possible to recover the pack by charging that cell and the pack above the minimum voltage level, but that requires opening the pack etc. and then subsequently doing a system reset with a diag machine.

My take away from all that is, don't ever leave your ED unused for long, or at least make sure its 90% charged before leaving it for a while.
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,746 Posts
There are quite a few Bricked owners that have moved on...this is true.
So as to not create panic, I’d recommend striking “quite” from the above sentence?

Although troubling, only “a few” ED’s with BRICKED HV batteries have been documented on SCoA. My SWAG is that we are seeing a BRICK rate of less than 3%?

Bear in mind that some may have knowingly bought an off-lease MBFS BRICK at a deep discount hoping that they could breathe life back into ED?

If ED doesn’t move under it’s own power and the dash won’t light up or displays multiple warnings - you are playing the ED LOTTO . . .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Seems like it is about the same as those ridiculous number of Tesla fires. Perhaps 1% of the rate of ICE vehicle fires...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
#4 ) 12 vlt battery dead as a doornail... Killed the EV battery. That's what happened to my 2015 EV, with 7 months still to go on my lease. Because I have been a MB/smart salesman for 12 years, they picked up the last 7 payments with 'customer loyalty' money. So, I quickly replaced it with a 2018 453EQ, before they changed their mind!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
#4 ) 12 vlt battery dead as a doornail... Killed the EV battery. That's what happened to my 2015 EV, with 7 months still to go on my lease.!
The association of the HV pack dying after a period of the 12V battery being dead is suspicious. Her a few things I know from my experience messing with homebuilt EV's:

1. Blaine's comment that it is a few cells getting too low over the storage period is pretty unlikely, becasue lithium cells self-discharge very little if at all. This is why it is safe (and actually recommended in the LEAF manual) to store the car long-term at about a 60-70% SOC for best battery pack life.

2 A cell could develop an internal short - but that is an almost unheard-of.

3. Battery pack BMS's of the simple analog shunt-regulator type also discharge the pack only very slowly. I disconnect the BMS for winter storage on my electric motor scooters to be safe, but when I haven't, the BMS (one is homebuilt from plans) discharge the pack no noticeable amount over a month of storage.

4. The people on the GitHub forum who have removed and opened up their battery packs report that all the cells are practically dead - 1 volt or so per cell. (but amazingly, by charging the modules VERY slowly - starting with only 20ma, that slowly raising to 350ma - then resetting everything on MB Star, they have brought their packs back to life without blowing the cells up)

Now it gets much more to speculation:

1. MB no doubt uses a "fancier" digital firmware-controlled BMS in the ED's.

2. Due to a design screw-up, the discharge of the 12V battery (and as result, the firmware execution shutting down), might be causing the BMS shunt circuits to turn on for some stupid reason (they normally only turn on to top-balance the cells at the end of a charging cycle). This discharges every cell in the HV pack flat.

3. Then, when the 12V battery is re-charged and the syatem re awakens, it discovers the battery pack discharged flat, and executes a fail-safe shutdown.

So, for now, to be safe, anyone storing an ED long term MUST keep a trickle-charger ("battery tender") connected to the 12V battery. This will prevent the problem.

I am still hoping for some reports of successful long term storage where this was done, to verify it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Time to take action...

Seems like it is about the same as those ridiculous number of Tesla fires. Perhaps 1% of the rate of ICE vehicle fires...
Not really. Those that show up on this forum reporting this defect are probably a tiny fraction of the Smart ED owners that this has happened to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Not really. Those that show up on this forum reporting this defect are probably a tiny fraction of the Smart ED owners that this has happened to.
Probably, maybe? I'd like to see some evidence that there is a "lot" of bricking of EDs. There have been a handful (<10) posted here and on the BMS forum. Most of those seem to have had some period of neglect.

In Canada alone there were over 1,100 451 EDs sold, so the US would have been about 10x that number and Europe even more. So lets spitball 25,000 451 EDs.

Even generously with a lot of assumed positive slop in the numbers, that translates into 0.1% of 451 EDs having a similar failure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I repeat. Only a tiny fraction of those 25,000 Smart 451 ED owners participate in this forum. That is the denominator that is relevant.

And I really don't see any evidence of "neglect" in the case studies so far. Leaving a car parked for an extended period of time is not "neglect". In one of the cases (another forum) a person even kept his ED plugged into a level 2 EVSE in a parking garage for 6 months. When he returned, the 12V battery was dead, and the traction pack was bricked. I have an idea what the design defect was that allowed this to happen, but it is inexcusable.

The victims of this defect need to get together and get legal help. This would make a good class-action case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Only a tiny fraction of those 25,000 Smart 451 ED owners participate in this forum. That is the denominator that is relevant.
Though what you say in the first sentence is certainly true, anyone who had a serious problem with their car would tend to be wildly over-represented in that set (because they will have done some Google searching on their issue and found the forum).
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,746 Posts
Probably, maybe? I'd like to see some evidence that there is a "lot" of bricking of EDs. There have been a handful (<10) posted here and on the BMS forum. Most of those seem to have had some period of neglect.

In Canada alone there were over 1,100 451 EDs sold, so the US would have been about 10x that number and Europe even more. So lets spitball 25,000 451 EDs.

Even generously with a lot of assumed positive slop in the numbers, that translates into 0.1% of 451 EDs having a similar failure.
I repeat. Only a tiny fraction of those 25,000 Smart 451 ED owners participate in this forum. That is the denominator that is relevant.

And I really don't see any evidence of "neglect" in the case studies so far. Leaving a car parked for an extended period of time is not "neglect". In one of the cases (another forum) a person even kept his ED plugged into a level 2 EVSE in a parking garage for 6 months. When he returned, the 12V battery was dead, and the traction pack was bricked. I have an idea what the design defect was that allowed this to happen, but it is inexcusable.

The victims of this defect need to get together and get legal help. This would make a good class-action case.
25,000 smart EDs "worldwide" may be a little high side as stateside only 7,324 were sold through 2018.

smart Fortwo ED sales in the U.S. (note, includes 453 version)

2013 923
2014 2,594
2015 1,387
2016 657
2017 544
2018 1,219
TOTAL 7,324

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive US sales figures

Not sure of the brick rate in Europe/China but it should be noted that they have a 3.7 kW onboard charger (22 kW charger was optional) AND higher input voltage thus the BMS software design may be different???

Also, some of the "bricks" may be coming off the lease return bubble created at auction with the return of the MY14 -15 leases?? Heard tell of large inventories, slow sales and not enough charger resources at auction.

Turned my lease back to MBFS in late November and it didn't cross the auction block till January - it saw freezing cold, snow and ice but NEVER was plugged in as I could still watch it with the Webpage/app. Got it back with only 2 additional miles on the odometer . . .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Well if you think it is a small # , try leaving your car unplugged for 4 months and then try to start it ! $ 10,000 dollar bill later, for a new battery you will be fine ..... In short If you plan on leaving your EV for any length of time Make Sure it is Plugged in , or you will end up like me trying to find help and not being able to drive your EV . This is the point we are trying to get out there.

The fact that you think the # is small is also not every buddy post on here or at all !
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,746 Posts
Well if you think it is a small # , try leaving your car unplugged for 4 months and then try to start it ! $ 10,000 dollar bill later, for a new battery you will be fine ..... In short If you plan on leaving your EV for any length of time Make Sure it is Plugged in , or you will end up like me trying to find help and not being able to drive your EV . This is the point we are trying to get out there.

The fact that you think the # is small is also not every buddy post on here or at all !
Perhaps you should reread some of the posts?

As an ED owner I would not wish this misfortune on anyone. That being said, the best SWAG is that the percentage of fail is small BUT, all EV owners are pioneers collectively heading into the great unknown??

FACT, something is causing the smart HV battery to brick and likely only Daimler/M-B have the case by case research. FACT, smart USA has handled OR NOT each failure on a case by case basis serving up varied responses - not all favorable! FACT, M-B has a floor of attorneys in their corporate building, you and I don't!

REALITY, this is a potential bullet that Daimler may be able to dodge by ending the 451 sales and letting our small population of smarts quite literally die in the driveway of their owners? That is unless one, some or all of the ED owners who find themselves wronged or potentially at risk band together in some form of legal action. Absent that, the "low maintenance" line of crap that we were fed means nothing when faced with a dead HV battery and a $10,000 bill.

We are very much in this together my friend . . .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Bruce,

Actually leaving it plugged in may not be enougt. There is a case of a user who kept his Smart plugged in to a level 2 EVSE in a parking garage for 6 months and it still bricked. To see how this can happen, you need to understand that charging plug is only energized when the car sends a signal (specifically, sending the 1000 hz 12v sq. wave pilot signal from the EVSE through 880 ohms and a diode to ground) which indicates "charge me". Once charging is finished, the car will command the EVSE to turn back off. The Smart will than also open the contractor relays in the traction pack and the traction pack and the 12V battery will then be isolated.

I tested my Smart for the condition that would command the EVSE back on by charging it full, then leaving it plugged in, turning the heater on. The SOC meter had to decline to about 96 percent, then charging resumed. My next test will be to discharge the 12V battery with a dummy load while it is plugged in and see if it recognizes a low 12V battery and opens the contractors to charge the 12V battery - and then turns charging back on if needed.

Of course, it is ridiculous that I have to treat the workings of the Smart ED like some kind of mystery puzzle. Why tf can't I just call someone at Mercedes Benz who should refer me to an engineer who know all this s?

But the long and short of this all is that when storing the Smart ED, it probably more important to have a charger hooked to the 12V battery than it plugged into an EVSE. I have already rigged charging wired to a convienient point under the service flap (hood) to make this easier.
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top