Thanks for your reply, Don
Yes, I actually joined here back in 2011 to quickly comment on the interior appointments
of the then-new North American i-MiEV. Hopefully, you’ll be hearing from me on a more
regular basis from this point forward. No way of really knowing way back then that this
would be the EV I would be focusing on now.
And, yes, fingers crossed regarding my upcoming i-MiEV purchase attempt. I’ve heard from
others regarding difficulties on this front. Never underestimate the intransigence and quirkiness
of auto dealers and realtors! The good news is that I’m now regularly seeing reasonably priced
used i-MiEVs pop up on the online listings, as so many of the leased EVs from the 2011-12
time period are now heading back to the dealer’s lots. So, if not my friends vehicle, I’ll be on
the hunt for another used i-MiEV. We’ll see what plays out this fall.
In regards to batteries: I was basically thinking out loud here in my post. What got me started
was realizing that it would be simply impossible to put thirty 18650s inside a box the size of
a LEV50 battery and then wondering what would really work along those lines. I’m not about
to embark on a tear-down in a vehicle with plenty of warranty time left on a well-functioning
pack and with cell capacity present just to say I did it. That sort of craziness is something I hopefully
got out of my system long ago.
But what does happen in, say, 2022, when any number of i-MiEV batteries begin to falter under
normal wear and tear, with warranties long expired and replacement LEV50s possibly being long
unavailable? As you have said, much can happen between now and then. Pondering the possibilities
now of what could be possible then might not be unwise.
And, to clarify, I’m more concerned about what will happen with dead or dying packs to preserve
the life of an otherwise perfectly good vehicle, as opposed to wiring up an add-on range extender
into a well functioning i-MiEV in the near term. Part of the appeal of the i-MiEV for me is the
generous cargo space when both rear seats are folded down. The idea of having a big black box
constantly present back there with cells doing nothing more than giving me an extra 15 or 20
miles for a rare long trip sort of ruins that.
I am familiar, though, with the concept of integrating disparate cell types and a supplementary
“spoof” circuit into the existing system. I’ve seen this done successfully with a Prius (Plug-In Supply’s
conversion kit,) where a pack of Headway LiFoPO4s interact seamlessly with the Toyota’s stock NiMH
pack and turns the car into a plug-in hybrid.
Likewise, I’m also witnessing an ongoing restoration of a rather rare 1999 Ford Ranger EV
(club member project,) where the essentially fried - and very large - NiMH pack got dropped,
the shell pried open and the old cells finally getting discarded (the original plan was to individually
cycle the vintage NiMH cells, but that didn’t work out.) New Calb 100Ah LiFePO4 units now live in
the vintage shell and are in the process of being wired together as we speak. This NiMH-to-LiFePO4
conversion is requiring a new BMS to supplement the old stock one and a custom circuit box being
wired between them in “spoof” fashion, In addition to all of this inside the pack, a new charger
replacing the old one now resides underneath the hood.
It’s rather crazy stuff to contemplate today, since there are not that many 17 year old EVs out there
right now in need of an upgraded battery pack. But this is going to change over the next few years
with stock EVs beginning to proliferate now.
Last edited by Benjamin Nead
on Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Benjamin Nead / Tucson, Arizona, USA
Secretary: Tucson Electric Vehicle Association (EAA chapter)
North American 2012 i-MiEV SE / Pearl White /CHAdeMO
Aka: "The Vanilla Jellybean"
Purchased used in Nov. 2015 @ ~18,000 miles