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 http://www.countybattery.co.uk . 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

https://fullerbattery.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/bmw-i3-the-electric-highway/

https://fullerbattery.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/the-charge-of-the-bmw-i3/

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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
gardena3

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!

How fast do lead acid batteries charge?

Firstly we need to categorise into different products;

  1. SLI (Starter lighting and ignition) Flooded Traction Semi traction, and leisure
  2. VRLA (Valve regulated lead acid) Which comprises of AGM (absorbed glass mat) and Gel (electrolyte held in a thixotropic gel)
  3. Pure Lead (Odyssey)

SLI Flooded Traction and leisure

Recommended charging at 10% of the Ampere hour rate e.g. 100 Ampere Hour battery would require 10 amps. If one assumes the battery was 80% discharged it would need 80 amps plus possibly (depends on the battery) another 10% for inefficiency to regain full charge. It makes sense to assume that 10 amps for 8.8 hours would be sufficient for a full charge. This is not the case as the voltage of the battery increases so the amperage will fall (Ohms Law) The normal “rule of thumb” that is applied in this case is 8(amps) x 10 (hours) gives 80% charge and the amount of time take to get to 80% should be added on (in this case a further 10 hours) for battery to regain a full state of charge.

VRLA batteries require a minimum of 10% and a maximum of 25% charge obviously charge quicker and tend to be more efficient so 100 Ah battery 25 amp charge rate will charge for 4 hours to 80% + 4 hours.

Pure Lead even better requiring 40% at minimum and theoretically almost no upper limit so 100 Ah battery charged at 40 amps will be at 80% in two and a half hours and fully charged in five hours. It is possible with Odyssey to take a 100ah battery charge it at 200amps and have the battery back in service in 1 hour!

It may be useful to point out that the batteries listed do tend to have different charging algorithms and advice should always be taken on the correct battery charger contact us at www.countybattery.co.uk

100 Amp Fuller Leisure Battery

Taking old electric vehicle batteries and using them to store solar energy

Here is an interesting way to use a product that is no longer of serviceable use in the product that it was designed for then recycled to do another job The question is will it work?

Part of my work at County Battery Services Ltd is to look at new and innovative products that the Company can bring to Market some time ago we launched the Powerbank a device that captures the solar energy from photovoltaic cells and stores it to be used when the sun goes down.

Old batteries and solar I think this all sound a great idea, but in reality is it feasible? If the battery has come from a crashed damaged car that is an insurance total loss then I could see it working, but the suggestion is that you take a battery that is no longer of use in a car and expect it to perform in a solar application.

I am aware that studies are being carried out no one talks about the battery life after is has left the car, It would need to be reconditioned in some way or the correct voltage could not be maintained. When ever we have swapped cells in fork truck batteries the others soon start to fail not long after and they are of low voltage with typically no more than 24 cells

The battery could be dismantled and any faulty cells could be replaced but that is a time consuming and dangerous job (400V DC). As there are lots of cells in one of these packs It would be easy to miss some, or have others fail within days of the others being replaced. It is possibly cheaper to buy a new battery and definitely more reliable.

The quest to find a cheap way to store energy I think must carry on maybe a water tower and an Archimedes Screw would be better?

How a Lead Acid Battery Works

An electrical battery is a combination of two or more cells used to convert chemical energy into electrical energy

A battery stores electricity. It develops voltage from the chemical reaction produced went two different metals are immersed in an electrolyte solution

In a battery, when a chemical reaction occurs electrons move from one pole to the other. The different metals and electrolytes used give the battery different characteristics the most significant of these is the varying voltage of the battery

A battery is made up of cells in lead acid batteries they contain lead grids onto which are pasted lead and another plate made of lead dioxide, with a sulphuric acid electrolyte into which the plates are immersed.

Lead combines with SO4 (sulphate) to create PbSO4 (lead sulphate), plus one electron.

Lead dioxide, hydrogen ions and SO4 ions, plus electrons from the lead plate, create PbSO4 and water on the lead dioxide plate.

As the battery discharges, both plates build up PbSO4 and water builds up in the acid. The voltage is about 2.2 volts per cell, for vehicle starting normally six cells are connected to produce a 12 Volt battery.

This reaction is reversible. If you apply current to the battery at the right voltage, lead and lead dioxide form again on the plates so you can reuse the battery until the active material has been depleted to render the battery unserviceable

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Diagram of lead-acid cell. Lead and lead oxide plates in sulphuric acid to produce about 2.2 Volts

Diagram of lead-acid cell. Lead and lead oxide plates in sulphuric acid to produce about 2.2 Volts

100 Amp Fuller Leisure Battery

What are battery Ampere Hours?

Ampere hour or Ah is the amount of energy a battery can supply.

A typical leisure battery for the caravan market in the UK would be 110 ah at the 20 hour rate This means that the battery will supply 110 amps at a usable voltage over 20 hours (In this case we take a usable voltage to mean at load above 10.5 volts). To understand this further take 110 and divide by 20 the battery should be able to provide 5.5 amps continuously for 20 hours.

If you take a battery and the Ah value is measured over a different time period then the value will change because a 110 ah battery over 10 hours should be able to provide 11 amps continuously over 10 hours. It is very important that the hours rate is used when sizing any battery for this type of application.

The performance of a lead acid battery will decrease the faster the power is drawn from it.In a business like County Battery Services one of the most common mistakes people believe is that the 110 ah battery will deliver 110 amps for 1 hour this is NOT the case unless the battery is specified 100 ah at 1 hour rate

Beware some manufactures misquote their Ah capacity or do not give an hourly rating with it.A good indication of the battery quality is the weight. The main component part and the most expensive is the lead if you can remove some of the lead you save money.