Last post on Dec 09, 2013 at 4:52 PM
You are in the Honda Civic Hybrid
What is this discussion about?
Honda Civic, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Sedan
#387 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [shonda3]
Aug 02, 2010 (4:48 am)
>This Ogre guy runs a battery replacement center. His car must be constantly worked on because he is the only person in the world whose car gets 2500 miles per gallon. Don't pay him any mind. Honda must pay him handsomely.
That's right, attack the only person here that's trying to help.
Your battery is a part that is going to wear out. How you use it will determine if it lasts 90,000 miles or 190,000. Honda only cares that you make it past the 80,000 mark because after that, they have no obligation. You might be surprised to find that they don't make much money on the $3000 battery packs that they sell. That means that they are out over $2500 every time they replace a battery under warranty.
I've noticed that Insight owners as a group tend to pay more attention to their battery and assist and regen gauges than most Civic owners. Most of them know exactly how many bars they have to get down to before forced charging begins, etc. This is probably because a different type of driver is more likely to buy the Insight with it's shortcomings than those that buy Civics. Maybe we can use some of the techniques they've developed to improve the situation here or at least to understand what is actually going on (what the car is doing specifically that is causing this behavior).
What I challenged people here was to do the same thing and see if there was a correlation to the mpg and assist problem that was related to low states of battery charge. If there is, then you CAN alter your driving behavior and make your car perform better - because Honda sure isn't going to do anything about it - not if it's going to cost them more warranty batteries.
That should be proof that I'm not getting paid by Honda, because if I was, they'd fire me for saying it.
As for gas mileage, I used to get 55 mpg overall, which is horrible in an Insight. I learned how to drive it and now get about 65. Driving a 2003 Civic Hybrid, I usually average about 52 on the highway in a CVT and 58 in a MT. The same highway driving gives about 70 in a MT Insight.
Aug 02, 2010 (4:36 am)
Let's NOT turn this into a personal beef please. Thanks
#389 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [pamslave]
Aug 02, 2010 (4:43 am)
>My 2007 HCH can be a slug when it is hot and the batteries are low.
You might want to try a test. When the gauge is low, try accelerating and take note of how many bars of assist you get. Then try the same thing when the gauge is more full. I doubt the heat is causing much of the behavior, because if it was that severe, I think you'd throw an IMA light.
Also note what the assist bars drop to when they fall off and how soon they do it.
Please let us know what you find out. It may be helpful for others here.
#390 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [Ogre_GEV]
Aug 02, 2010 (6:29 am)
Ogre - you obviously have not idea the hassle we have had to go through. To suggest this is an issue with our driving styles is both insulting and utterly stupid. I had no problems for 3 1/2 years, and I DO pay attention to my driving patterns. My batttery crashes EVERY day. I did not change. The car did.
#391 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [abg_hybrid]
Aug 02, 2010 (3:30 pm)
Well said. And quite correct.
#392 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [abg_hybrid]
Aug 02, 2010 (9:02 pm)
>Ogre - you obviously have not idea the hassle we have had to go through. To suggest this is an issue with our driving styles is both insulting and utterly stupid. I had no problems for 3 1/2 years, and I DO pay attention to my driving patterns. My batttery crashes EVERY day. I did not change. The car did.
Oh yes I do. My car was in a small accident, but it set off the airbags, so the insurance company totaled it. After I fixed it up, I had my battery go bad with three years and 70,000 miles left on the warranty. I was denied because the title had once been stamped "salvage". On an Insight, they have to change two computers as well as the battery which brings the cost to $4800, on a car worth $5000 at the time.
There are multiple things here that people are complaining about.
Pack degradation with accompanying recals
Loss of functionality due to software updates
Loss of mpg due to software updates
Your issue is that your pack is degrading. I am intimately familiar with what you are experiencing and what is going on internally. I am familiar with what the car does during a recal, why it does it and what it feels like to the driver. I understand what you have gone through because I went through the exact same problems. I had up to 5 recals each day in a 30 mile drive going to work and the same going home.
Like you, my battery slowly died and it made the car hard to live with. Unlike you, I had no warranty when it finally lit up the IMA light, and there was nobody anywhere in the world repairing these batteries.
However, your degrading battery is not related to the changes that Honda has pushed out except that in some cases the changes can actually recondition the battery to the point that it returns to health. I don't know if yours will, because there are more than one reason for a battery to act like that and I don't know which one is the cause here. Some will improve, some will not.
The underlying problem here is that the batteries are (in your case) 144 cells in series. When you charge that many cells in series, there will be problems if any of the cells don't match each other. The problem is that external influences can change cells (overheating until they vent, "memory effect" dendrite build up, etc) or by failure of individual cells. Once they are changed, their performance is altered. They may have more internal resistance to charging or discharging, they may self-discharge (go dead) more rapidly than their neighbors. Once this happens, an imbalance sets in that is made worse every time the car sits for even a few days until normal use results in some cells being discharged past empty and thus cell death.
Once a few cells have died, the whole mess of a battery goes into a death spiral until it finally performs so poorly that the car gives up and pronounces the battery "degraded" or "deteriorated" (depending on how it responds to charging attempts).
Now here is the scary part: every single battery that any of us owns is doing this. How far along it is depends on the cells and how they are treated (aka how we drive). Every single battery will get to that final state or other states like it eventually. The question is when. On average, a pack that is not significantly affected by driving style will last about 7 years. That's an average. Some will fail early due to simple defects, some will last longer. It sounds like yours may have had some premature failures, but they haven't cascaded out of control yet, just halfway.
Now the things that can negatively impact the cells are temperature, maintaining a low charge (and possibly a high charge, but we're not sure yet), and heavy discharge loads when almost depleted. This is at the cell level not the pack level.
These tie directly into user behavior such as parking the car for a month, punching the assist when you're down to only a couple bars, parking the car overnight with only a couple bars, etc. None of these will kill the battery, but they will add a stroke to the death of a thousand cuts that the battery goes through.
One thing I can definitely tell you is that parking the car for 90 days will start a chain reaction that will cause a P1447 or in your case P0A7F error in six to nine months. I have documented more than 30 cases of this happening including my own car.
The problem is that it is impossible to keep 144 cells balanced without individually manipulating them, and it is prohibitively expensive to design a system that can manipulate that many.
There are ways to lengthen the life of the cells. Honda has added a half-cycle to the Insights. Every 500 or 1000 miles, the car completely fills the batteries. It's very annoying to suddenly start regenning hard while you're going up a hill. Owners don't like it. Honda is trying to keep you from hitting a depleted battery with a large current draw, so they cut back on assist when battery levels are low. People in this forum are screaming about it.
They try to keep the battery from being parked very empty or very full because either causes problems. The car doesn't know when you are going to stop driving, so it regens much more and let's you burn off the charge with lots more assist than you wanted. This results in mileage drops because you use more gas when you regen and what you've slowly banked gets squandered. People here are unhappy about that as well.
Unfortunately, the changes that they are introducing to help save the cars are unpalatable.
I'm trying to offer some information that might get around some of these side-effects. According to that bulletin, the assist reduction is only at low battery levels. If you can keep the levels higher, you won't see a reduction in assist. How do you keep it higher? By reducing how much assist you use - by driving more gently.
This won't help you, because (I believe) that your car is constantly doing a parasitic background charge on the battery to test it. This would not be shown on the gauge (the gauge often lies). That will give you a 10 mpg loss in fuel economy.
You can try an experiment. Reset your trip counter and drive a 5-10 mile circular route, then unplug your 12v battery for about 20 seconds and then reconnect it. Repeat the same route. I'll bet you see a 5-10 mpg improvement. This is because you made the car forget the battery is going bad and will stop charging it.
Try it and post your results here.
#393 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [Ogre_GEV]
Aug 02, 2010 (10:45 pm)
You can try an experiment. Reset your trip counter and drive a 5-10 mile circular route, then unplug your 12v battery for about 20 seconds and then reconnect it.
Hold the your foot on the gas in park so the car is revving at 3500 rpm. You will see 4 bars of charge. After about a minute, you will start seeing battery bars appear and shortly after that the regen bars may go out. Let go of the gas when either the bars go out or the gauge reaches half full. Then reset your counter and repeat the same route. I'll bet you see a 5-10 mpg improvement. This is because you made the car forget the battery is going bad and will stop charging it.
However, it will figure out the battery is bad later that day.
#394 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [Ogre_GEV]
Aug 03, 2010 (3:52 am)
I had the updates last Wednesday and the performance has gotten worse.
Actually, acceleration is so difficult, it is dangerous. Prior to the updates, accelerating would not pull battery power if the charge gauge was down to two bars. Now even with a charge at 5 bars, the battery is not kicking in.
My driving habits have not changes at all but suddenly this summer, I am having repeated difficulty. 2008 Civic Hybrid with 53000 miles in Cleveland, Ohio
What should I do?
#395 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [motorcarshybrd]
Aug 03, 2010 (4:16 am)
Okay, but how much charge does your battery have when you notice this? Is it low?
And does the car have more pickup if the battery gauge is half-full before you try to accelerate?
#396 of 1535 Re: This problem affects EVERYONE [motorcarshybrd]
Aug 03, 2010 (4:27 am)
Okay, five bars would be considered a low charge from their description. In fact, I doubt it will let you get below 4 bars at all in local driving.
The question is, how does it act at 10 bars? Can you try and let us know?
If it doesn't work well, then I'd like to take you through a battery relearn procedure to recalibrate the battery gauge with the battery. It's possible that the gauge doesn't match the battery either due to the dealer skipping the step or due to the battery performance changing under the new software (the battery improving in this case). The procedure is harmless and will only take 2-3 minutes of your time.