Whenever a bad story emerges, automakers either take a long time to answer or do not answer at all. Tesla already killed its PR department. Volkswagen still has a robust one, but it did not answer our questions on Christian Stadler’s ID.3 issues with its 12V battery. Anyway, that one-case story led us to discover more vehicles are involved: allegedly “at least 30,” according to an owner that also had problems.
Stadler mentioned in his video that the situation with his ID.3 would be due to a bus (an internal communications network device) draining energy from the 12V battery. The owner who got in touch with InsideEVs said his situation was different: both his keys disconnected from the car, making it not respond as if the battery was dead.
This same owner told us the Volkswagen ID. First Movers Club Facebook group revealed these other cases. We have requested access to the group but still did not manage to get in. Anyway, commenters on the VW ID.3 - ID.4 - Vizzion - Buzz group are already taking precautions, as the video above shows.
Ed Stratton created the video after “just a few owners of the new Volkswagen ID.3 have reported that they left their car parked for a day or two and came back to find it completely dead.” His suggestion is to put a CTEK battery monitor to wirelessly check how well it is and a CTEK battery booster not to get stranded with the car. We have tried to contact him on Facebook but still have not heard from him.
We are still unsure how many of these problems are related to the 12V battery discharging and how many are disconnected keys that make it look like the battery is dead. Anyway, this is apparently related to the software issues the car has had even before it was presented.
Volkswagen did not hide the ID.3 would be delivered without all the functionalities the company had promised for it due to software development issues. Those problems would have made VW demote Christian Senger, its former Head of Software, back in July.
A software update – version 0570 – is supposed to fix the issue, but you can only have it with an appointment at your dealership. Stadler said his dealer had a waiting line of two weeks, but we are not sure it refers to the software update or just to regular services that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A common issue
As we already mentioned, 12V battery issues are pretty common with EVs. Elon Musk promised in September that an update would help owners deal with the dying batteries that made Car And Driver’s long-term Model 3 get stranded, for example.
According to engineers that prefer to remain anonymous, the clicks that you hear when you turn an electric car on refer to clamp 30 (for all things that need to work with the ignition off) and clamp 15 (with the ignition on), apart from the circuit breakers that disconnect the high-voltage battery pack.
There would be two kinds of EVs around. The first group would recharge the 12V battery whenever “a certain voltage threshold is broken.” The second one would only do that when the car is ready to roll.
Our reader Stephen Cane warned us that Hyundai has a convenient solution for the issue on the Ioniq Hybrid called Battery Reset Switch. It is a button that recharges the 12V battery with the help of the DC-to-DC converter and makes the car run again. After a quick research, we found out that the Nexo also offers this:
Back to the ID.3, our sources told us that what leads to the 12V battery issues in EVs is “leaving the ignition on, a door or hood open or the car unlocked in some cases, so the car does not go into hibernation.” We have never given it a thought, but the fact that an EV does not make a sound when it is on probably helps this be rather common.
If the car is still on or has any component draining energy from the 12V battery, that leads it to die, the DC-to-DC converter to do nothing, and the voltage level to drop below the one high voltage circuits need to close.
Our sources still have not tested the ID.3, but they suspect its battery problems could have been caused by something the owners forgot to do or by a software error preventing the car from properly shutting down.
The former is more likely according to the information we have already gathered. If you are aware of any cases, remember to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Facebook page. We'll still need an official confirmation from Volkswagen and its plans to sort this out for first-adopters. We’re still waiting.
Source: Ed Stratton