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Possible lithium ion battery problem


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I purchased my 2018 Evora 410 Sport about 4 weeks ago and have had some strange electrical problems. I thought that it may be me getting used to a new car especially coming from a keyless operation to having to put the key in, switch on the ignition and press the keyfob if the red circle was lit on the dashboard display.  I had one occasion of complete power failure with the whole car dead (including hazards and horn) but switching the battery off and on again resolved that.

I came to it at the weekend and the car was completely dead after not being driven for a day. The battery was showing 8 volts on a multimeter. Prior to this, I have driven the car everyday so I would expect the car to be fully charged. I have spoken to Lotus (Oakmere in Northwich) and they advise hooking it up to a lithium ion suitable charger for 24 hours and then seeing if the battery holds charge. There was no tender/charger with the car, so I have got one on order and waiting for it to arrive. Lotus did advise that the problems I have had would possibly point to a failing battery, or some kind of fault that is discharging the battery when parked.

Lotus have advised that a new battery is £1,670.40 (inc VAT), I have found the same part number SB12V25P-SC (from the Lotus owners manual supplement) and it is available from https://www.aimshop.com/products/super-b-andrena-12v25ah-sc-lithium-race-car-battery

  for £1,052 (inc VAT).

From the research I did on my car prior to purchase, I know that it has spent a lot of time for sale – probably about 10 or 12 months of its 30 months life so far, so it will have been parked up perhaps with the battery going flat and then getting charged with the wrong type of charger possibly. If this is the case, I don’t know if this would have any bearing on the life of the battery.

I will try charging the existing battery, but I think I would be worried about it failing whilst I was away from home. Has anyone else any experience of problems with the lithium ion batteries and what their life expectancy is expected to be?

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https://www.mclarenowners.org.uk/technical-guides @JohnhowardThis has some info on, most not relevant but it may assist. The key point is, don't panic if no serious charge for a day or two.......

My 430 came with the proper charger and I have connected it a few times over the last month or so. I also note that you can fit the standard evora battery to the car, although lotus recommends this is

Yes, it is the same range, but with a higher amp/h charge rate. Let me know if you find a good route out for the cable. My car is kept outside on the driveway and although I can reverse up to an outdo

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I had a dead battery on McLaren 12c. Replacement even more expensive than you quote. No power to open doors or boot....

I got the boot open via emergency procedure. Trickle charger would not work....I had to reset it about 10 times, then I got it to charge. It took about 3 days before the battery was charged up. Since then, all fine but I do now charge it when left for more than a few days. 

Plenty of handy advice re lithium ion batteries on McLaren forums and probably other car sites. 

I had not realised Evora had stupidly priced battery as well. 

Justin 

 

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https://www.mclarenowners.org.uk/technical-guides

@JohnhowardThis has some info on, most not relevant but it may assist. The key point is, don't panic if no serious charge for a day or two........it may take longer.

The 12c has two battery indicators. A digital graphic that shows full charge on my battery now. And a % figure (in a different section of the computer). Mine only shows 96% maximum but so far all seems well. I will see what happens when I am allowed away for 10 days or more to Germany without a daily trickle.  

Justin

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Did you buy the car from a main dealer?  If so they really should have supplied the car with a charger/ optimiser,  as the recommended max time to leave without driving/ charging is 10 days. I would say percentage wise there are very few people that drive the car enough all year round to get away without needing a charger.

My exige has a lithium battery and if I know it won't be driven in more than 2 weeks I plug it in to the charger

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My 430 came with the proper charger and I have connected it a few times over the last month or so. I also note that you can fit the standard evora battery to the car, although lotus recommends this is done by a dealer. I had to replace the normal battery in my last evora  S around 6 months ago, and it is quite cheap. I think that if I had the same problem you have I would go for the normal battery and not worry about the extra weight. And leave the lithium battery on charge for a long time then try it again.

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1 hour ago, Davey D said:

Did you buy the car from a main dealer?.....................

 

48 minutes ago, exeterjeep said:

........ I also note that you can fit the standard evora battery to the car, although lotus recommends this is done by a dealer..................

Many thanks for your replies, they are very much appreciated.

No, I didn't buy the car from a main dealer, just a regular car dealer and the original battery charger/conditioner was not in the car. I have ordered an Optimate Lithium 12V 9.5A battery charger and optimiser and I think from reading reviews, if the battery can be saved, this piece of kit should do the trick. It was £140.99 (inc del.) from Tayna Batteries. It is due to arrive today. My plan is to fully charge the battery (if it will charge) and then leave it switched off and keep an eye on the voltage for a couple of days and then switch it on and monitor for a couple of days. I would expect that with the battery switched on, there will be some measurable voltage drop over time on a multimeter as the car will draw power for any systems that are permanently on such as the alarm, to power the shock sensors in the dashcam and anything else that draws power when locked and alarmed. Hopefully, these tests will inform the next steps and determine whether the battery is failing or whether there is an electrical problem that is draining the battery.

As I have used the car daily for the past month, I would really expect the battery to be fully charged as none of my driving is in heavy/slow traffic or at night. I live in a fairly rural location and pretty much anywhere I need to go is on national speed limit country roads so there is plenty of opportunity for the battery to be kept topped up.

I would be quite happy to fit a standard battery, but I wonder why Lotus recommend that this is done by a dealer? I wonder if there is anything that needs to be changed so the car knows that it is on a standard battery rather than lithium? Has anyone here swopped from lithium to lead? If I need to get it done at the Lotus dealer, my nearest one is Oakmere in Northwich and they are currently booked up for servicing until next January!

I will keep this thread updated as I work through this and hopefully it may be a useful starting point in the future for anyone with similar issues.

Once again, thanks for your replies.

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The optimate has arrived .............

 

 

Optimate.thumb.jpg.848532efd28434622a52cb00f55bd06b.jpg

 

It is now fitted in the car. The car must have had this type of charger previously as the connection to the battery was already in place. Does the Lotus OEM charger use the Optimate type connector?

The charger is currently suppyling a low current to get the battery back to its normal operating voltage range and then it should automatically go into full charge mode unless any cell damage is detected. It is in the battery save cycle currentIy and I should know in a couple of hours or so whether normal charging will begin. I will post an update later. 2132706910_Optimateincar.thumb.jpg.bbc1e946b27e267b55a8ec9f9e7c86f3.jpg

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Mine is very similar, optimate lithium  12.8v  5a    - part number tm290, it looks as if yours is a larger amperage. Also says 10 steps. I have also bought an extension lead and trying to find an easy route out of the car without leaving it trapped in the tailgate.

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1 hour ago, exeterjeep said:

Mine is very similar, optimate lithium  12.8v  5a    - part number tm290, it looks as if yours is a larger amperage. Also says 10 steps. I have also bought an extension lead and trying to find an easy route out of the car without leaving it trapped in the tailgate.

Yes, it is the same range, but with a higher amp/h charge rate. Let me know if you find a good route out for the cable. My car is kept outside on the driveway and although I can reverse up to an outdoor plug socket, it is going to be a pain having the cable trailing out and the car not properly secured. I will probably try and figure out a way of securing the tailgate to stop a rogue gust of wind catching it. I think a new carbon tailgate would make a lithium battery seem cheap!

I'm sure that people will be aware, but just in case - if your battery goes flat the windows do not drop when opening the door, so you have to be gentle when closing the door as the glass is directly against the seal. I was reading on the McLaren forums about battery issues and one unfortunate owner shattered his door glass whilst his battery was flat. I am sure that everyone knows the reset procedure for the window auto drop, but just in case here it is. Once the battery is reconnected, lower the window to the bottom and hold the button for 2 seconds, then put the window up and hold for 2 seconds, you should hear a click, but I didn't notice it when I tried it. Apparently, this is a common procedure on a number of cars these days.

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I had to do the thing with the windows when I changed the battery in my previous car. It came up with the spanner symbol until I managed to reset it.

Also thinking about it just noticed that my passenger window does not do the little up/down movement any more, may be when the car was at the garage having a couple of electrical things done it was not reset properly. 

I am going to have a ago at running the extension cable through the louvres, I have cut the cable and used some smaller joiners that will fit through. On my previous car I ran a cable from a hole I found near the battery out to the rear wheel arch liner so could connect the trickle charger that way. The 430 does not have the same holes.

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I had a similar problem with the Lithium ion battery in my GT410 Sport earlier this year, despite it always being connected to the Optimate whilst sitting in the garage. 
It did eventually come back to life but as I’ve had a few electrical gremlins with my car that were put down to the battery, I have resolved that the next time it throws a wobbly, I’ll be replacing it with an old style lead acid. And particularly now I’ve seen, in your post, the replacement cost of the OEM battery, that makes it a no brainer now.
I’m not bothered about the additional weight of the lead acid battery and would rather just have something I can rely on. 

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18 minutes ago, exeterjeep said:

Also thinking about it just noticed that my passenger window does not do the little up/down movement any more, may be when the car was at the garage having a couple of electrical things done it was not reset properly. 

Have just been out and this is now sorted, there was no spanner symbol on the dash though, so I had not noticed this straight away.

Has anyone actually done what needs to be done to revert to a normal battery?

The evora workshop manual I have seen does not cover this as it pre-dates the introduction of the these batteries.

 

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2 hours ago, exeterjeep said:

I had to do the thing with the windows when I changed the battery in my previous car. It came up with the spanner symbol until I managed to reset it.

FYI, the windows won’t throw up the spanner symbol. 

That particular spanner must have been pointing to another issue. Unfortunately, only Lotus Techcentre can interrogate the spanner codes (but they are always minor). 

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40 minutes ago, Bravo73 said:

.......... That particular spanner must have been pointing to another issue. Unfortunately, only Lotus Techcentre can interrogate the spanner codes (but they are always minor). 

I had the spanner symbol when I had trouble starting a couple of weeks ago, but it only stayed on for about 30 seconds after I got the car started. When I spoke to Lotus service at Oakmere about the battery yesterday, I mentioned this and they said it was likely to do with the battery issue. The manual states that the orange spanner is an electrical fault. It is a pity that we can't read the error codes ourselves as this would make diagnosis of some issues easier. Particularly as my local service centre (Oakmere in Northwich) are booking work in now for mid-January, which is a long wait to get issues resolved. Not too much of a problem if it is just a delay to annual service, but a long wait for any other problems.

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www.carparts4less.co.uk/p/black-decker-6-12v-battery-maintainer-trickle-charger-553990900?gclid=Cj0KCQiAhs79BRD0ARIsAC6XpaU-UpKFMVPZyX2M9SEQmy-X3YETWoLEQ_e3oPiZ1e5PKWH9OUp07OAaAiWmEALw_wcB

This charger seems value and has cigarette DC male included, so can plug into the female port in the Evora boot (that is live when ignition off). I have ordered one.

I don't know if suitable for Lithium battery in later Evora but spec says AGM, gel and wet:

www.blackanddecker.com/products/power-tools/automotive/vehicle-maintenance/battery-maintainer--trickle-charger/bm3b

Justin

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I have my car parked up the garage, and the optimate charger is hanging from one of the rafters on an elastic bungee. I then pass the wire through one of the slats in my boot lid, and into the boot like this:

 

xDQbZPk.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Davey D said:

I have my car parked up the garage, and the optimate charger is hanging from one of the rafters on an elastic bungee. I then pass the wire through one of the slats in my boot lid, and into the boot like this............

 

Thanks for the info. My car is kept outside as my garage is converted to living space, but I could make a waterproof/weatherproof container for the charger and pass the wire through as you have done. There is an outdor electrical socket right behind where I park my car, so I think this would be a good solution for me.

Thanks again.

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1 hour ago, Johnhoward said:

Thanks for the info. My car is kept outside as my garage is converted to living space, but I could make a waterproof/weatherproof container for the charger and pass the wire through as you have done. There is an outdor electrical socket right behind where I park my car, so I think this would be a good solution for me.

Thanks again.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Masterplug-WBXBFG10B-MP-WBXBFG10B-Weatherproof-Extension/dp/B0062GTL42 This should do the trick.... 😉

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Time to update on the battery issue. I am fairly certain that the battery was drained by my recently installed digital mirror not shutting down correctly, due to either an incorrect setting, operator error or software bug. I noticed this after I recharged the battery and have since factory reset the mirror and it seems to be working correctly now. So rather than requiring a new battery, a simple recharge did the trick, saving me a very significant expense!

I thought it would be helpful to share some of the research that I did on batteries as it may be helpful for others in the future.

To recap – I found the car completely dead and had to gain entry through the passenger door keyhole and then open the driver’s door from inside. I reached through behind the driver’s seat to the boot release to get access to the battery.

The battery was reading 8 volts which for a lithium battery is seriously discharged. I connected the optimate battery charger/conditioner and the battery recharged after about 10 hours or so.

I checked the current drain using a digital amp clamp. Please note that you need to click the boot catch up to trick the car into thinking the boot is closed and this will extinguish the boot light and allow the alarm to set correctly. Don’t forget to release it using the little lever on the side, otherwise there is a risk of damage.

So, with the catch engaged on the boot, the car can be locked and the alarm set. The initial current drain was 1.1 amps as some modules stay on initially. My car is the IPS gearbox and the illumination around the gear selector buttons stays on for around 10 mins after locking and alarming the car.

After about 10 mins, the remaining modules shut down and the current draw drops to around 0.06 amps (when the illumination around the gear selectors extinguishes). This current draw is accounted for by the alarm and in my case a possible tracker. I am not sure about the tracker as my research when I purchased the car identified an advert from last year that said it was fitted with one, but as this was prior to the previous owner and then the dealer I purchased from, there were no records with the car. This will be another day’s mission to solve!

Although, I am not expecting to need a new battery, as noted in my earlier post, Lotus (Oakmere at Northwich) wanted £1,670.40 for a  new battery. The exact same battery is available for £1,052 from https://www.aimshop.com/products/super-b-andrena-12v25ah-sc-lithium-race-car-battery

I did also find a possible alternative which is very significantly cheaper and is UK made rather that the Lotus fitted battery that comes from the Netherlands. I’m not sure why it would be so much cheaper, it certainly wouldn’t be explained by exchange rates, import taxes etc. I haven’t done any more work on this at this stage, but it may be an option to explore in the future.  Price is £244.50 from https://www.hawkemotorsport.co.uk/Store/electronics/batteries/powerlite-batteries/ps30

I learned a lot about lithium-ion batteries over the last week, probably more than I really wanted to know! There is an interesting paper attached to this post that I found about the myths of lithium batteries.

Thanks for reading, hopefully this will be helpful to someone in the future.

DMS_myths_of_lithium.pdf

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