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GM recalls 2013 Chevrolet Volts for battery software

10978 Views 51 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  vogonpoetry
In the news:

"GM said Friday that it will recall 3,233 2013 model year Chevrolet Volts to remedy a problem with battery cell balancing that could cause the car to shut down in traffic."
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As of 6/23/2018 our 2013 has no open recalls or suggested service except low inflation pressure.

Dad is the ONLY human in the family who knows that tires are pneumatic and what a Low Pressure Icon looks like.

And she isn't recharging it as often as I'm asking her. It's down to 59% EV miles from over 90% when she left for college.
If BMS balancing is disabled, welcome to world of electric propulsion. BMS is not used in all Lithium Ion batteries, a very few NiMH, and pretty much no Lead or NiCad arrays, not even on 2018 model 4000lb forklift batteries. Forklifts use lead because they need the weight more than the power.

BMS is handy for rapid charging where overcharging is immediately dangerous, but you want maximum kWh storage.

But since a Volt is not charged to 100% to begin with, the C charge rate is low, the worst case is a weak cell could eventually lose capacity.

Now if the BMS balancing is off on a car charging at 40-120kWh to 100%? Be very, very worried. This can start a fire if there is a weak module. It will charge to the proper peak voltage, but they are in series. If one or more is lower voltage, the others will get overcharged past 4.2x and heat up rapidly.
Wonder if this software bug will ruin some Volt batteries or change their lifespan.
Too bad they couldn't fix this potentially dangerous situation with an OTA update.

I think the most important OTA update needed today is the 'put out Tesla fire' update.

If you have high production standards, cells tend to very closely matched, unlike the 3:1 ratio you are describing that occurs with cheap 18650 cells. I have a couple dozen loose 2012 Volt LG cells, and the entire spread after 6 years is under 0.010 volts.
Doesn't sound like you think GM needs a BMS at all then and they don't even need this recall :) If you are worried about Tesla fires then cancel your reservation. :)

Note the above is from a GM related presentation.
To get the longest life possible balancing is always a good idea. Is it dangerous not to have it? It depends.

Does Tesla have balancing? How many cells are balanced per wire? GM is 2-3 cells per wire.
I am affected greatly by this fubared past software update. Ever since I had the re-programming done, I have had dozens of reduced power propulsion events. Just on Tuesday I went out to the car and was presented with the unable to charge message and no miles on the battery available. The battery was full from the previous night and the car hadn't been used. I have to drive several miles with the engine racing before I can pull over and stop the vehicle, get out of the car and walk away about 30 feet, wait a couple of minutes and then go back and then the car will finally show about 12 miles available which I exhausted on the continued trip into town. The engine fires back up again and you have normal operation from the car with a depleted battery. Then after watching a movie, I come out to the vehicle and I will have 20 miles of range showing which gets used up normally. Then the car will recharge overnight normally and will clear the CEL in a day after a normal topup charge for non-use of any range. Rinse and repeat.

The car has been into two different dealers several times and I have always been told there is nothing wrong with the vehicle. I actually started a "lemon law" action on the vehicle at one point. I have replaced the 12V battery and also replaced the Level 2 charger. The unable to charge happens on any Level 2 charger or the car's Level 1 charger. I am disgusted with the service from GM and that no dealer can fix the vehicle.

I am finally validated by this recall that the previous reprogramming is what has caused my vehicle to have all my reduced power propulsion events. I bet I have a damaged battery now from the vehicle not being able to do proper cell rebalancing. Thanks a bunch GM

Your battery is covered by warranty. 2013 was still in the infancy of Lithium Ion propulsion. Tesla was using laptop batteries back then. Errr...
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