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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The comments of an electrical engineer would be useful here (hint, hint), but an interesting article states if properly used, our high voltage batteries could last 15 to 20 years:
Expert: What You Know About Lithium Batteries Is Wrong, Can Last Up To 20 Years | Inside EVs
The article is from 2013, which would correlate well with the battery technology inherent with 2013 batteries that many of us have. Mikael Cugnet, a battery expert with the French Atomic Energy Commission offers these tips to extend battery life:
1) avoid high heat (e.g., leaving the car in the summer sun for extended periods). That's good news for those of you in Canada! Those in warmer climates may want to consider a car cover to shade the car when parked in the Sun for long periods.
2) Too many fast charges can damage the ability of a lithium battery to hold a charge over time. Thus, if you have the time, use your 110V charger overnight.
3) Lithium packs that are only charged to 50% of capacity will last the longest. Ideally a charge should stay between 20% and 80% of total capacity. Thus, unless you plan on doing a long drive the next day, don't charge it to full capacity.
4) An onboard active cooling system, such as the ED has, is a big assist to battery life. Thus make sure your cooling system is functional.

I suspect you could actually get more years out of your battery, but at a reduced capacity. I suspect (again, the advice of an electrical engineer would be useful) that if the battery drops below 80% original capacity that you can still drive your ED just fine. Everything should still work; you just can't drive it as far. MB of course guarantees 80% of more of original capacity out to ten years under BAP, but I suspect if you drop below 80% after ten years that you can keep driving the car with reduced range. Thus, if you are like me and just use it for short trips around town, you could conceivably get 30 years of use or more. No need to purchase expensive replacement batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A followup 2013 article from the American Chemical Society website with further helpful comments:
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2013/april/understanding-the-life-of-lithium-ion-batteries-in-electric-vehicles.html
Noteworthy quotes: "A temperature above 86 degrees F affects the battery pack performance instantly and even permanently if it lasts many months like in Middle East countries." Also, "a fully-charged battery is more vulnerable to losing power at temperatures above 86 degrees F" This could be an issue for those of us in warmer climates.

And there is this quote from BU-1003: Electric Vehicle (EV) ? Battery University (last updated in 2016)
"EV owners want ultra-fast charging and technologies are available but these should be used sparingly as fast charging stresses the battery. If at all possible, do not exceed a charge rate of 1C. (See BU-402: What is C-rate?) Avoid full charges that take less than 90 minutes. Ultra-fast charging is ideal for EV drivers on the run and this is fine for occasional use. Some EVs keep a record of stressful battery events and this data could be used to nullify a warranty claim. (See BU-401a: Fast and Ultrafast Chargers)"
and this quote "Heat reduces the life, and cold lowers the performance temporarily"
 

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Discussion Starter #4
And here is a quote from Tesla, also in 2013 https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-life-expectancy-of-a-Tesla-Model-S-battery-and-will-there-be-a-replacement-plan-of-some-sort
"2) battery degradation is non-linear over time; meaning it starts very very slow, but after 4-5 years, it gets faster.
3) after the first 5 years, degradation may be as low as 5%. But by the 8th year, they expect about 30% degradation"

Presumably these degradation rates are dependent on temperature, quick charging, overcharging and battery cooling. But bear in mind that ICE also degrade over time, so ICE owners shouldn't get too smug.

Tesla apparently also sets the default daily charge limit to 90% and only recommends charging to 100% when you're planning a long trip
 

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It will be interesting to see what fails first on the ED, SAM, motor controller, motor, battery pack. Everyone seems to focus on the battery pack, what is the cost to replace the motor controller?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How many here charge at home on just the level 1 charger over night?
I use just the level 1 charger (I was too cheap to spend up to $1000 to install a 220V line and to buy a level 2 charger). Works fine for me, but many folks need to get it charged and in a hurry. The point being that quick charging is apparently resulting in a decrease in battery life, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons of quick charging.

Whatever, smart NOT a Tesla...
Such an insightful comment. One point of this thread is that charging to 100% may shorten battery life, and the fact that Tesla apparently sets a recharge limit of 90% provides more evidence to that effect.

It will be interesting to see what fails first on the ED, SAM, motor controller, motor, battery pack. Everyone seems to focus on the battery pack, what is the cost to replace the motor controller?
Totally agree; not only the items you mention but everything from shocks, windshield wipers, radio, tires, etc., etc., will wear out over time. Most of these items can either be replaced by regular mechanics (not the expensive MB) or repaired (perhaps even the motor could be repaired by a regular electrical shop). Some of the items like the motor controller can not, although it is likely their cost is an order of magnitude less than the battery.

Some good comments from everyone. The point of the thread is that many of us worry about battery longevity and the large cost of replacement or repair once BAP runs out, and there are apparently some simple acts we can take to lengthen battery lifetime. In addition, this has relevance to BAP discussions elsewhere on the forum.
 

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The article is from 2013, which would correlate well with the battery technology inherent with 2013 batteries that many of us have. Mikael Cugnet, a battery expert with the French Atomic Energy Commission offers these tips to extend battery life:
1) avoid high heat (e.g., leaving the car in the summer sun for extended periods). That's good news for those of you in Canada! Those in warmer climates may want to consider a car cover to shade the car when parked in the Sun for long periods.
2) Too many fast charges can damage the ability of a lithium battery to hold a charge over time. Thus, if you have the time, use your 110V charger overnight.
3) Lithium packs that are only charged to 50% of capacity will last the longest. Ideally a charge should stay between 20% and 80% of total capacity. Thus, unless you plan on doing a long drive the next day, don't charge it to full capacity.
4) An onboard active cooling system, such as the ED has, is a big assist to battery life. Thus make sure your cooling system is functional.
I am an electrical engineer and I mostly agree with these suggestions. My only small quibble is with #2 : The charge voltage is not really the issue. The issue is with the charge rate (current). Fast charging reduces the life of the battery, mostly due to internal heating. Active cooling of the battery (like the model 451 ED has) minimizes this problem, but fast charging is not a good idea unless you need to. Using the 110V (L1) charger limits the current to 12A but there are other ways to do that. One is to use the multi-function control in the car to set a charge current to something other than "MAX". Another is to use the button on the so-called "charge cable" to limit the current. I personally use the "Charge and Depart" feature on the multi-function control in the car. This feature reduces the charge current to the minimum needed to have the car fully charged at the time of day set by the user. This feature also allows the cabin to be pre-conditioned (heated or cooled to 68 deg F) at the set departure time, minimizing the power drain on the HV battery.

One of the reasons I selected the ED instead of other more popular EV's like the Leaf is the fact that the motor and battery are actively cooled. Heat reduces battery life significantly. Example: Nissan has had issues with Leaf batteries failing quickly in warm climates like Phoenix. I think Nissan is on the 3rd or 4th generation of air-cooled batteries for the Leaf. Even so, I am skeptical enough about longevity of the ED battery to have leased the battery in my ED (Battery Assurance Plus). 20 years seems like a long time for a Lithium-Ion battery. None of my phones have lasted even 5 years. In any case, the battery capacity should gradually taper off over time and not suddenly fail. Even if the capacity is below the 80% limit that is considered a battery failure, one can still drive it. Case in point: I had a salesperson at a local used car dealership specializing in EV's tell me that none of the Leaf batteries have failed. When I inquired about what he meant, it was clear that he didn't consider a massive reduction of capacity (like 50%) to be a failure because one can still drive the car. I was amused by this.
 

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My 2013 ED is currently getting a replacement battery under warranty. I will be interested to see what my range is like with the new unit. I'm curious if 4 years of battery advancements will result in a little more than the 70 mile range. I can't find anyone else that has had to have a battery replaced so I have no clue what to expect.

I'm also going to start babying my battery a little more. @svaraman, Do you think over night charging at the lower current setting is optimal or should we revert to using the level 1 EVSE? I feel like the level 2 charger is more efficient and thus actually saves a little power. Am I wrong? Like you said, it seems like the over all best choice considering power consumption and battery life is to do the level 2 but at the reduced rate.


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My 2013 ED is currently getting a replacement battery under warranty. I will be interested to see what my range is like with the new unit. I'm curious if 4 years of battery advancements will result in a little more than the 70 mile range. I can't find anyone else that has had to have a battery replaced so I have no clue what to expect.
Wow, that's really bad. I'd love to hear more details about your experience. The estimated range on my ED (on the display) is down to 45 miles. I'm not sure if this is due to the colder weather we've been having or the battery is beginning to serious degrade. The firmware in the console was upgraded in late December 2016. That could be why the reported range is so low.

In any case, I would not expect any change in the battery capacity, but the new battery may be more reliable.

I'm also going to start babying my battery a little more. @svaraman , Do you think over night charging at the lower current setting is optimal or should we revert to using the level 1 EVSE? I feel like the level 2 charger is more efficient and thus actually saves a little power. Am I wrong? Like you said, it seems like the over all best choice considering power consumption and battery life is to do the level 2 but at the reduced rate.
Personally, I use the "Charge and Depart" feature almost exclusively. This limits the charge current to the minimum needed to have the car fully charged at the time of day you specify. If you're really concerned about it, you can set a lower maximum charge current using the multi-function controller in the car. For example, setting it to 8A will extend the charge time while allowing you to use the L2 charger. The L2 charger is slightly more efficient than the L1 charger.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In any case, the battery capacity should gradually taper off over time and not suddenly fail. Even if the capacity is below the 80% limit that is considered a battery failure, one can still drive it. Case in point: I had a salesperson at a local used car dealership specializing in EV's tell me that none of the Leaf batteries have failed. When I inquired about what he meant, it was clear that he didn't consider a massive reduction of capacity (like 50%) to be a failure because one can still drive the car. I was amused by this.
Thanks; the opinion of an EE is greatly appreciated. So would I be correct in assuming that an old battery that only had 50% capacity would function like a normal battery (i.e., have sufficient charge/voltage to have the car run like it did when the battery was new), except that the range would be halved? t
 

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Thanks; the opinion of an EE is greatly appreciated. So would I be correct in assuming that an old battery that only had 50% capacity would function like a normal battery (i.e., have sufficient charge/voltage to have the car run like it did when the battery was new), except that the range would be halved?
I think that is mostly true but you might notice the acceleration being a bit less than it was with a fresh battery. As the battery ages, the internal impedance (resistance) of the battery increases. This limits the maximum current that can be drawn from the battery under maximum load which occurs when accelerating or climbing hills. This limits the power to the wheels, reducing acceleration. Basically, a car with a weaker older battery might not be as peppy as a car with a fresh battery.

I picked 50% out of the air as an an example of gross degradation. If the battery is really down to 50% of it's initial capacity it is well on the way to true failure. The rate of degradation increases over time. It might lose 1% of capacity the first year, 1.5% the second 2.25% the third and so on (made up numbers). When it's down to 80% capacity, things really start falling off quickly.

As I said before, I am skeptical enough about a lithium-ion battery pack lasting 10 years that I went for Battery Assurance Plus (BAP). Time will tell if that was a good or a bad decision but I honestly don't understand why people get so hung up on the $80 a month. I got a discount of $5010 when I bought the car. This means I walked out the door with a brand new 2015 ED that was ordered FOR ME for $10,900 (after the tax credit). This means that I will pay back the $5010 discount in about 62 months. After that I will be paying $80 per month or $960 per year plus about another $240 for electricity to fuel my car. I was paying twice that for my ICE car. In addition, the routine maintenance on the ED is trivial. The BAP pays for the annual battery check and the bi-annual desiccant pack replacement (at least for me, some users report not getting the desiccant pack replaced under BAP). That leaves coolant flushes, brake fluid flushes, tires, and brake pads and rotors as the only maintenance items. I expect the brakes to last over 10 years due to the regenerative braking. The cost of ownership of my ED is so low that I don't even budget for maintenance.

On top of that, I am repaying the initial $5010 discount and the remaining BAP with deflated dollars. The payments are fixed at $80 per month, but the value of $80 is dropping at a rate of about 2% per year due to inflation. If inflation picks up this is even more to my benefit.

All of this assumes that MBUSA will keep the BAP in force. I hear rumors that MBUSA is planning to shut down BAP.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I honestly don't understand why people get so hung up on the $80 a month.
First, thanks for your detailed and thorough reply; makes me want to baby my battery all the more as I hope to keep it beyond the end of BAP. As to your quote above, I think everyone who bought new agrees with you. I also think many that bought used but who share your concerns about battery longevity also agree with you. However, there are many who bought used and thought "wow, a basically new EV for only $5000!". To have them learn later that there is another $7000 due to MB paid in $80 installments is definitely a shock, particularly since they never agreed to that nor do they want the battery assurance (they probably plan to drive it a few years and get rid of it long before the battery fades).
 

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First, thanks for your detailed and thorough reply; makes me want to baby my battery all the more as I hope to keep it beyond the end of BAP. As to your quote above, I think everyone who bought new agrees with you. I also think many that bought used but who share your concerns about battery longevity also agree with you. However, there are many who bought used and thought "wow, a basically new EV for only $5000!". To have them learn later that there is another $7000 due to MB paid in $80 installments is definitely a shock, particularly since they never agreed to that nor do they want the battery assurance (they probably plan to drive it a few years and get rid of it long before the battery fades).
Yeah, I agree with you on this. I'd be mad too if I was expected to pay $80 a month for something that wasn't disclosed prior to purchase. Effectively, the price of a used ED with BAP needs to be reduced to reflect the value of the remaining payments for BAP.

Before I bought my ED I was so concerned about owing more on the BAP for my ED than it was worth that I had hours of conversations with Traveler's Insurance about what would happen if I totaled my ED and I still owed $4,500 on BAP. They really struggled with the notion of renting the battery. They kept saying that they insure cars not batteries. Eventually, they decided the battery was an essential part of the car like the motor so they would insure it as long as I got replacement value insurance. I'm paying over $700 a year to insure my ED as a result, but I sleep better knowing that I am (hopefully) covered for the cost of BAP should the worst happen.

In any case, I don't think $5000 for a used ED with BAP is much of a bargain. I went into this purchase knowing that the resale value of my ED was essentially zero. With the $7,500 tax credit, it makes more sense to buy a new car than a used one. The BAP only makes it worse. For that reason, I plan to drive it until it dies. Hopefully that is over 8 years from now (my car is 2 years old).
 

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Before I bought my ED I was so concerned about owing more on the BAP for my ED than it was worth that I had hours of conversations with Traveler's Insurance about what would happen if I totaled my ED and I still owed $4,500 on BAP. They really struggled with the notion of renting the battery. They kept saying that they insure cars not batteries. Eventually, they decided the battery was an essential part of the car like the motor so they would insure it as long as I got replacement value insurance.
Yes, USAA had a difficult time getting their head around how to insure sled + BAP with "replacement value" being "the answer." Had heard of one instance where a sled was "salvaged" and MBFS simply took back their HV battery pack so as to reduce the likelihood of a rebuild.

As the 451 ED leases continue to term out with huge buyout residuals, more will be hitting the auction/resale market and most have BAP. Today there are numerous off-lease ED's languishing on lots that are "anchored" by SWAG pricing plus the $80 BAP monthly rent.

What will be the value, the marketability of smart ED after the 48 month warranty ends? But perhaps more important, if you are not going to drive it to the "end" what will be the trade/resale value as you close in on year 10 of BAP?

As this Beta Test plays out pre-owned ED's regardless of configuration will find their place with subsequent owners who realize the "value" and can live within the range constraints even if slightly degraded.
 

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I personally use the "Charge and Depart" feature on the multi-function control in the car. This feature reduces the charge current to the minimum needed to have the car fully charged at the time of day set by the user. This feature also allows the cabin to be pre-conditioned (heated or cooled to 68 deg F) at the set departure time, minimizing the power drain on the HV battery.
The "reduced charging" feature of "charge and depart" has never worked on my ED. It charges at full power (about 15A input to charger at 240V, until done, no matter what the departure time is set to. The preheat feature is the only thing that works.
 

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Yes, USAA had a difficult time getting their head around how to insure sled + BAP with "replacement value" being "the answer." Had heard of one instance where a sled was "salvaged" and MBFS simply took back their HV battery pack so as to reduce the likelihood of a rebuild.



As the 451 ED leases continue to term out with huge buyout residuals, more will be hitting the auction/resale market and most have BAP. Today there are numerous off-lease ED's languishing on lots that are "anchored" by SWAG pricing plus the $80 BAP monthly rent.



What will be the value, the marketability of smart ED after the 48 month warranty ends? But perhaps more important, if you are not going to drive it to the "end" what will be the trade/resale value as you close in on year 10 of BAP?



As this Beta Test plays out pre-owned ED's regardless of configuration will find their place with subsequent owners who realize the "value" and can live within the range constraints even if slightly degraded.


When I bought my used ED, I felt like I was seeing some prices that were below expectation on a lot of them. My speculation was that the BAP was causing the resale price to be driven down.

In my case, I felt like I benefitted from the average price because mine didn't have the BAP but it was priced similarly to ones that did. I felt like I got a killer deal as a result.


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On slow v. fast charging:
keep in mind that our batteries are designed to be charged at 22kW using the fast charger only available in Europe. No matter how fast you charge here, it's waaaayyyy slower than that and there is absolutely no benefit from charging even slower. There are some detriments: reducing the charging rate slightly reduces efficiency as there are some constant-power parasitic loads that are always the same no matter how fast you charge (e.g. coolant pump). Heat developed at the modest 3.7kW charge rate we can achieve here is minimal and easily dissipated by the coolant loop without need for the AC compressor to kick in most of the time. Except if you charge in Death Valley at high noon, maybe.

Also, the problem with fast charging is worse at low temperatures: if the battery is significantly below 0C, and the charge rate at or near the 22kW, lithium can plate the anode instead of infiltrating it, leading to permanent capacity loss. That's why our batteries have built-in heaters and the rate of charge is reduced in these conditions until the battery is sufficiently warmed up. Again, only applies to European smarts with 22kW charger.

In other words: don't worry. This is one thing MB really did design very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
In any case, I don't think $5000 for a used ED with BAP is much of a bargain. I went into this purchase knowing that the resale value of my ED was essentially zero.
You are perhaps being overly pessimistic. Your price of $13K for new is reasonable, but not all folks can take advantage of the tax credit (have to pay enough in taxes to get the credit). Those that can't use the credit pay $20K. If that same car is now three years old with 15K miles, it would still be considered almost new, and $5K would seem like a bargain, particularly to those who can't take the tax credit. Even a six year old LEAF sells for more than that. Now you have to discount from the LEAF price to account for BAP, but as has been pointed out elsewhere, BAP is not only an extended warranty for factory defects but also replaces the battery from simple wear and tear for up to 10 years. But at most BAP adds $7K cost to a 3 year old car (at $80 per month for 7 years); only $5K if you buy the battery outright. That coverage has real value, perhaps in the $2K range. So really you are saddled with BAP payments of perhaps $5K once you deduct that. However, most folks will not keep the car for 7 years and thus will not pay that much in BAP payments. And if BAP disappears, that payment may disappear as well. Which means your effective price is $5K to $10K, including either buying the battery outright or including future BAP payments. A new ED (assuming you can use the tax credit) is effectively $13K to $20K, including battery or BAP.

Let's go down the road and look at car values after owing for a decade. ICE SMART have blue book values of about $3K or less after a decade. Would a ED have value below that? Maybe yes, maybe no. Bear in mind that ED will have lower mileage than a typical ICE due to the range restrictions and thus may be in better shape and that ten year old ICE engines may incur big repair bills that could rival a battery replacement (assuming battery prices will drop over time). Even just parting the car out has value; should the battery replacement be too expensive.

The point being that you lose far more in those first three years and 15K miles in the cars value than you will in the years thereafter. This makes the used ED a bargain even with BAP for many folks. And the car will always have value, if for nothing else than parting out.
 

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You are perhaps being overly pessimistic.
Perhaps. However, I only paid $10,900 for my car (after discounts for BAP and the tax credit). If the car is only 2 years old it still has 8 years of BAP payments to go. That's $7,680 for BAP plus the purchase price of $5K for a total of $12,680. I'm applying my own values here, but that's not enough of a discount to incentivize me to purchase the used car over the new one.

You're point about not everybody being eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit is valid. That could sway the math in favor of the used car.

In any case, I went into the purchase of my ED assuming it would be totally worthless in 3 years. If it isn't, then I'm happy but I intend to drive this car until it dies.
 
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