BMW i3 What I like most!

I think I will tell you the thing I least first! The first is  the looks! The i3 is not the best looking car on the road in fact I think it looks a little like some small Korean run around, but perhaps it will start a change in car design.

As the car is built using large swathes of carbon fibre the car does not need door pillars hence the back doors open the opposite way to conventional ones which does give a lot more space for getting into the back but I worry about my passengers shutting them the wrong way around and damaging something. As there is no door pillar the seat belt are connected to the door so if someone wants to get out of the back the seat belt has to be unfastened.

The car is a 3 platform and is deceptively spacious,. The boot is very small and this would cause some problems if you had the vehicle with four adults that all had large suitcases.

img_2368The instruments are all very clear and of good quality the information provided is good with useful information like if there is enough charge in the battery to reach the destination (assuming you have used the satnav). The look of the inside is very pleasant  modern and comfortable. There is a great heating system which appears to work very well and has been perfect in the freezing weather in January (when this was written)

There are no gears and it is I suppose it is not classed as an automatic as there is no gears to change only forward and backwards. This is  mounted on the steering column at about 2 o’clock in the picture. The central column has therefore no gearstick. ThIMG_2370.JPGere is a circular dial which works as a mouse. The other is the travel mode three different types Comfort Economy and Economy plus. The use of these gives different mileage options which are displayed on the dash board in front of the wheel.

Whilst running in economy plus mode the milage is at the optimum the speed is restricted to 56 miles per hour and the heating does not work at full the car does not seem so lively.

Driving the car is brilliant it covers 0-60 in 7 seconds and you dont need to be the Stig to get that kind of performance just have a heavy foot! The steering and handling are very positive. It is possible to turn off the traction control but if you do the car will still not allow itself to drift, so with all the speed and handling perhaps not one for boy racers

The car can be controlled from an app there are a number of remote functions, setting the time that the vehicle charges ( to get the most from Economy 7) The app will also show the state of charge of the battery and the distance in Comfort Mode available. There is a tracking system so the car can be found should if have been parked and that place be forgotten. The app will integrate with the diary allowing meeting and address’ to be planned so that the meeting will be added to the satnav.

The battery performs better at the correct temperature the best thing on this car is within the app there is a setting to allow you to warm or cool the battery and the car before you leave for a journey. I live about five miles away from our offices . When it was frosty in the mornimg_2372ing it used to take me about five minutes to defrost the car with a scraper and the car was just about warm when I got to Kirkby in Ashfield. That is not the case now I get into the car and it is warmed up to the temperature that is specified as it is warmed there is no ice on the vehicle there is no condensation on the windows and when I get in it is as warm as toast.

If you are interested in the other blogs on the car please follow the links


No Procedure at BMW

When I booked my i3 in to a local dealer for a factory recall I was offered a courtesy car which was helpful. When I went to collect it from the dealer I was told I would have to pay £14 for the insurance when I questioned the courtesy I was told that it had to be paid.

The lady fetched the car (which is electric) and said “whoops the battery is flat not sure why”

“I think I do” I said. The car has a range extender( petrol powered) so it was not a complete disaster.

The next day someone called to ask about the service I had been given I mentioned the battery was flat and said I wasn’t particularly worried and had coped with out it. The lady asked “what would you like me to do then?”

“Nothing I was answering your question” was the answer

Don’t waste your time worrying

Yesterday I was at a business meeting and the subject of Brexit was bought up. Lots of people had opinions what should happen what there was to do. I listened with amusement because actually there is nothing I can do about it!

We watch the news all negative Korea are testing nuclear weapons Donald Trump is not happy Again there is very little I can do to influence Mr Trumps mood or Korea’s show of strength.

I have stopped watching and listening to the news because I don’t want to fill my life with negativity if there is anything really important people come and tell me although Korea Trump and Brexit don’t impress me too much!

There is a newspaper in my home town of Mansfield that only prints good news called The News Journal why can’t more papers spread more positives so the little fat guy from Mansfield can keep on smiling

The War on Waste

As you are probably aware we at County Battery Services are practitioners of 2 Second Lean which is a type of Kaizen (Japanese for continuous improvement).

Paul Akers has taken the principles of Kaizen and moulded them into a very useable system that can be implemented by any company. The benefits include

  • Increased efficiency
  • Staff Development
  • Increased staff morale
  • Clean and tidy workplace
  • Staff empowerment
  • Procedures
  • Reduced Waste
  • Less Stock
  • Shorter lead times
  • Greater Profit

So why don’t more companies read the book and implement the system? Firstly it probably goes against all the principles that you would normally expect from a business leader

  • Stop working on the job and work on improvements (there is no time the job come first)
  • I will never be able to get my staff to do this
  • Everyone to clean and tidy (the staff can but it’s below me)
  • Staff expected to make improvements to their job (they can’t be trusted)
  • Daily staff meetings (what every day?)
  • We already have systems for staff development (how can this work it’s too cheap)

From the staff

  • We are wasting time (get someone else else to do the cleaning standardising and sorting)
  • Why should I clean, and sort things in a semblance of order?
  • Cleaning is below me
  • I’m not paid to do to this

In the words of Jeff Olson in his book the Slight Edge “it’s easy to do and easy not to do.”

Please believe me when I say if you take on 2 Second Lean you business will be a better place I even practice it at home

Fake Batteries

County Battery Services are continuously investing in their testing laboratories, not only because they need to ensure that the quality of products they supply to their customers, but also a number of customers have a specification for a piece of electrical equipment and it is useful to measure the battery to that particular product.

measuring an AA cell for fast discharge


During the testing process it has come to light that there are a lot of “bogus” batteries on the market especially in the 18650 with products boasting huge capacities. There are also many branded products that appear to be so cheap it arouses suspicion. It does not take much hunting on the web to find evidence of this If you want fake Ultra Fire cells click here
How can you tell if it is not the correct capacity?
Generally the major brands Panasonic Samsung etc set the standards for capacity if it is more power than the companies that have spent the most in R&D then that raises suspicion and perhaps it is worth further investigation.
To test battery the accurately then professional equipment is needed to get a real capacity reading,  for the general public it is impractical  to purchase such equipment. You can take the battery to a local  battery expert such as County Battery Services Ltd or you could use a branded product from a source that you trust put them into the same equipment and time the use! Beware that with lithium based technology battery if the battery management system or the cells are not up to standard you have a potential incendiary bomb!
One of the highest capacity 18650 cells on the market is the Panasonic NCR18650B with 3400mAh  if you come across a product with greater capacity it may be useful to be cautious. As can be seen in the link to the Ultrafire battery above cells and batteries can be faked. It is the author’s opinion that you would be better to buy from a reputable source that can authenticate the products they sell

Gardena Lithium Battery

County Battery Services   have started to rebuild the Gardena Lithium Battery as you are probably aware lithium rebuilding can cause some difficulties however as you can see in the picture Stuart at our Nuthall Depot is an expert. If you need help with one of these or any other lithium battery pack please let me know. I can be contacted at County Battery Services

County Battery Services   use Panasonic cells for their power tool rebuilds the quality is second to none!

BMW Li-ion Battery

BMW Lithium Battery

BMW are now fitting Li-ion starter batteries in the place of AGM on some of their more prestigious marks. Li-ion is probably half the weight of the AGM and I would expect it to outlast the AGM. We at County Battery Services supply Lithium Battery for motorcycle starting which is useful for racing bikes weight, but I see no real advantage for the car battery especially  as the majority will be supplied for road use. BMW are saying that the product will enable better starting in cold weather I don’t know what the price is I guess it will be £1000 or more to replace.

Another issue is the charging if you get a car with one of these batteries please make sure you have the correct charger it will kill the battery if you do not and could quite easily explode!