e-Golf Cooling Controversy? - Golf GTE Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 04-09-2014, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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e-Golf Cooling Controversy?

Air vs Liquid, the age old debate petrolhead debate between the purists and the performance junkies, you want to see the epitome just listen to any BMW Motorrad aficionado.



No mater, a new chapter has entered the liquid vs air debate and its relevant to us, active cooling on EV vehicles. See Tesla uses active liquid cooling for their batteries, modules and motors, the Volt uses active cooling although the Volt is technically a PHEV. However the notable absentee is the Nissan Leaf and thats because the Nissan Leaf does not use Active Cooling. What DOES the Nissan Leaf have? How about a cooling controversy in one of the hottest American markets. There are about 20 Nissan Leafs, most clustered in Arizona, that have seen thermal degradation of their battery packs almost exclusively due to the high temperatures these vehicles operate in daily. These owners are seeing an average of 15% capacity loss within 1 or 2 years of ownership, which is an age away from Nissans assurance of only 20% degradation over 5 years. This from Green Car Reports:

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I live in Dallas, TX,” wrote one reader in an email to us. “Exactly a year from purchase and 20,206 miles I lost my first capacity bar. It happened yesterday.”

“It is no longer ‘isolated’ to Arizona or a few cars,” they told us. “I have pictures of the gauge if you want them. And it is a far cry faster than the ’20 percent in five years’ Nissan states.”

Looking deeper, we discovered yet more cases of Leafs with lost capacity bars, including unsubstantiated reports that at least two cars in Arizona have now lost not one, but two capacity bars.
Now whats interesting is that back in 2010 just prior to the Leafs launch Wired Magazine actually accused Nissan of cutting corners in getting the Leaf to market so quickly. If you remember Nissans EV program was still nascent when the Leaf burst onto the scene in late 2010, and that's because just 2 years prior Nissan was not even a factor in the EV conversation. Quoted from Wired:

Quote:
It also appears Nissan has cut corners on the most critical aspect of electric vehicle technology — the battery pack. The key engineering trade-off Nissan has made is opting not to include active thermal management, where the temperature of the pack is controlled by an HVAC system similar to what cools the passenger cabin on a hot day. Instead, Nissan has opted to use only an internal fan that circulates the air within the sealed pack to evenly distribute the heat, which escapes by passive radiation through the pack’s external case.

Thermal management in lithium-ion battery packs is critical to the long-term performance and quality of the battery. The manganese oxide pack is sensitive to high temperature and the primary consequence is that the pack will degrade more rapidly than one with active thermal management. This problem will be worse in hotter climates such as Phoenix, which Nissan has selected as one of its launch cities.
Which is interesting when you consider the quip Ghosen uttered to Bloomberg in early 2010:

Quote:
"The engineers will always tell you, ‘Wait a little more,’ and if you keep playing this game, you never launch any product"
Right so enough of that, how does this relate to the e-Golf? Well VW has decided to not include an active cooling system on the e-Golf. Their rationale is that because the system has been designed for gentle charge and release it does not need an active cooling system as opposed to rapid charge systems seen on Teslas.

From ChargedEV's:

Quote:
The company’s engineers have tested the e-Golf’s battery pack in places like Death Valley and Arizona, as well as cold-weather climates, and found no dramatic impacts on performance. VW’s Darryll Harrison recently told AutoblogGreen that the Panasonic lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cells used in the e-Golf had “the lowest self-warming tendency and the lowest memory effect of all cells tested. The need for a cooling system wasn’t there.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that VW has given no thought to temperature issues. The company says it has developed a Battery Management Unit with an intelligent thermal control that allows the pack to remain within an optimal temperature window, and that waste heat is quickly directed into the chassis, away from the battery.

VW’s engineering goal for the e-Golf was to develop a highly efficient system, as opposed to one that focused on charge time or capacity. The e-Golf’s cells are designed for “gentle” charge and discharge, which helps to reduce heat, compared to cells designed for rapid charging. The lack of a cooling system also translates into weight savings.
Do keep in mind that the GTE will have active cooling, which VW explains is because of the performance nature of the GTE. However now consider the Nissan Leaf, not a single person in their right mind would confuse the Leaf for a performance vehicle yet the Leaf is still vigorously degrading itself in hot climates.

I have to imagine the Germans will be keeping an extremely close eye on these developments, especially as the e-Golf will likely have a similar appeal to the Leaf in similar markets...



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post #2 of 24 Old 04-09-2014, 02:30 PM
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First, excellent post Teutonic. This should be a good thread.

Second, I find it very telling that VW will fit an active cooling system to the GTE. This action reveals that battery degradation will be a meaningful factor with this chassis and battery setup; if it wasn't a factor to some degree, VW would not add the additional expense.

The Leaf is not a performance vehicle by any stretch yet we still have evidence of battery degradation in hot climates. It is well known that higher temperatures contribute to battery degradation through memory effect, and no explanation by VW is going to resolve that truth. The answer that the e-Golf "is not a performance vehicle" is simply non-responsive to the problem.

The engineers might have tested the car in hot climates, but for how long? Did they test the e-Golf in Arizona for more than 6 months, to see if there were issues like the Leaf owners are reporting? Sometimes, problems take months to appear.

-- automotive engineer who will likely purchase GTE over e-Golf simply for the active cooling
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post #3 of 24 Old 04-09-2014, 02:34 PM
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Active cooling sounds like the way to go about it to me, kind of like how cars have radiators and cooling systems, even PC's, the same needs to be done to these electric systems



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post #4 of 24 Old 04-09-2014, 02:37 PM
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Active cooling sounds like the way to go about it to me, kind of like how cars have radiators and cooling systems, even PC's, the same needs to be done to these electric systems
Yes, it's simple really, these systems need to be temperature-regulated in order to maintain long-lasting performance.

Excuses and shortcuts made to save the manufacturer money are really just passing the buck to you -- when that battery degrades and needs replacement, good luck getting VW to replace it for you!
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post #5 of 24 Old 04-09-2014, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, it's simple really, these systems need to be temperature-regulated in order to maintain long-lasting performance.

Excuses and shortcuts made to save the manufacturer money are really just passing the buck to you -- when that battery degrades and needs replacement, good luck getting VW to replace it for you!
What I do find interesting is that when the Leaf debuted there was an option to lease the battery packs from Nissan, meaning that any and all issues would fall squarely with Nissan. I'm not sure if any of the affected Leaf owners have leased their batterys or not, I suspect not, for if they HAD leased the batterys from Nissan controversy would be non-existent.

Feck, even hardcore PC gamers run liquid cooling on their PC's and those are operating in steady state indoor climates, yet a multi national corporation creating a complex electrical product COMPLETELY dependent on its battery packs and adequate measures to protect said INTEGRAL component were not taken...

Must be different this time...



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post #6 of 24 Old 04-09-2014, 04:35 PM
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Must be different this time...
That's what VW's engineers want you to believe. I'll wait until e-Golf owners have about a year of real world testing before I would buy an e-Golf. If it really doesn't need cooling, I think the rest of the car is wonderful.

I'll probably get a GTE off the bat though...
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post #7 of 24 Old 04-10-2014, 10:46 AM
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good topic

and just more fuel to why lithium batterys really struggle in extreme tempertures

its not just the extreme heat. but in the extreme cold the batterys dont last that long either.

didnt know the leaf didnt have any sort of active cooling. that is nuts

those batterys must get HOT. lithium fire anyone?
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post #8 of 24 Old 04-10-2014, 01:23 PM
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It's things like this that scare people away from EV's, the masses rather wait till car makers have the whole process down to a science where the car won't BBQ it's self.



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post #9 of 24 Old 04-15-2014, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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It's things like this that scare people away from EV's, the masses rather wait till car makers have the whole process down to a science where the car won't BBQ it's self.
well the technology adds such a premium to the entire package that in order for them to get prices down to a digestible level, corners are being cut.. I'm not saying its right, I'm just providing context...



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post #10 of 24 Old 04-17-2014, 03:37 PM
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have any leafs burst into flames?
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