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Major EV Drive Components Replacement & Costs

Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:15 am

Once the warrantee honeymoon is over there are some serious reality checks to face.
Is it just me or is anyone else here seeing it this way?

In the case of the I Miev
I understand that they have grouped several electrical components (not sure exactly which ones) together.
With instruction to replace as one unit - not individually available & for an astronomical price.

For the Owners - It leaves them vulnerable to possible huge repair bills, & major financial losses possibly resulting in prematurely writing off their cars for scrap or parts, as I have witnessed here in Quebec with several owners.

For the second-hand purchaser – it could result in financial disaster - a car loan for a car that is not cost effectively repairable, rendering it unusable, again only good to sell for parts.

This in turn could seriously affect the used EV resale values,
rendering them as disposable vehicles.

At least until there are experienced & affordable corner EV repair shops versed in the repair of these individual electronic components. – equivalent in the ICE world to , Alternator starter rebuilds, Motor rebuild etc.

This is a serious consideration for us in deciding which vehicle we will purchase next.
This information is not even readily available at the different brand dealers.

This leaves an average EV consumer confused, vulnerable, some times disenchanted.
There is room for improvement

In simple English - who would buy a used Ev where if one electrical component fails, the car would be scraped.
Puey Bluey 2014 Miev
88,850 miles, 143,000 km
Previous EVs
Blackie - 2012 ES Miev 2 years - 67,000 km / (41,630 miles)
Total Electric miles driven
130,480 miles (210,000 km)

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Re: Major EV Drive Components Replacement & Costs

Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:51 pm

When we can buy a used 2012 with 25 or 30 thousand miles on it for $5K or less, that's pretty close to 'scrap' prices, IMO - Considering a new replacement MCU plus labor to install it could run that much alone

I bought a second iMiEV thinking exactly like you are thinking now - What if our first one (which we both LOVE) quit and I couldn't fix it?. Buy a 'spare' right now while they are cheap! - In my experience, having a 'spare' anything usually means you'll never need it and a spare car wasn't all that much more $$$ than an extended warranty. So yes, I guess we have a 'disposable' car when you look at it that way

Now, if you're considering spending $30K to $40K for your next EV and you only have a 3 or 5 year drivetrain warranty, it might be wise to buy an extended warranty plan . . . . boy, I never dreamed in a million years those words would ever come from me, but if you're financing it for longer than the factory warranty, it might be the way to go

2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1994 Miata 60K miles - Soon to be sold
1979 Honda CBX six into six

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Re: Major EV Drive Components Replacement & Costs

Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:55 pm

sandange wrote:Once the warrantee honeymoon is over there are some serious reality checks to face.
Is it just me or is anyone else here seeing it this way?

I looked at the EV purchases like I would any market investment. First, any investment that (potentially) pays off pretty well has risk of equity loss. So, never borrow money to make such an investment.

That said, because of the savings involved in driving electric. Even with a "ridiculous to fix" failure out of warranty we will be way ahead financially compared to the ICE's we were driving. I think you are absolutely right that until a third party service/repair option comes together it's a gamble for the average car buyer. What I find most tragic about the Japanese cars of most stripes (ICE's included) is the inability to replace major parts with electronics because they reject them like a transplanted organ because they aren't coded properly and most often can't be (not a takeout from another vehicle anyway). Really ironic that a drive train that could go >300k miles would be scrapped due to a charger or dc to dc failure that makes the cars computer refuse to start it. A really tragic joke for the more environmentally sound transportation option to be scraped early. Largely negating it's environmental value in the interest of greed and protectionism!

ICE's aren't any better. My first brand new vehicle was a 1986 jeep Comanche pickup. At 64k miles, a piston gauled from overheating. The dealer wanted $5200.00 to rebuild the engine. I shopped around and got a more precise rebuild (called a re-manufacture) done for $3,600. Still this is a truck that I paid $9,200 for new, yikes. It was set up the way I wanted it and I worked out of it so that was a pretty comprehensive transformation to do to a used replacement of unknown condition. So I bit the bullet. Retired the truck with 187k miles on it still running well. It was totaled while parked on the street by a senior citizen who should have had her license pulled several accidents ago :roll:

So that example cost me over a third of new "value" to get back on the road. The dealer option would have been over 50% of the new "value" of the truck to set it right. Comparably, that would be a repair clocking in at over $11k on an iMiev. We all know that a charger or inverter should cost a lot less that $4K or $5K and that's what makes it hard to swallow. But until the fundamentals of the system and market are changed we are stuck with it no matter what we drive.

2014 cool silver ES, acquired new 4/2015
2014 Labrador Black Pearl ES, acquired new 3/2016

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Re: Major EV Drive Components Replacement & Costs

Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:47 am

@Sandage - well you could argue that if you get 4 years use out of a used EV costing you $5k, then have to scrap it, $1250 a year is still pretty cheap.

You're not wrong. This is not totally specific to EVs. In general (a rash generalsation perhaps) auto makers are increasing the cost of major parts, and making them impossible to repair.

As an example, my 2010 Honda Insight suffered a CVT transmission failure at 38K miles, impossible to repair, replacement cost $18K - cars value was about £11K at the time, car was 4 years old. My only rational option was to fit a used replacement. Didn't need coding in any way (Honda dont even make their own CVTs).

Granted EVs do have several 'magic boxes', and spare parts are not easy to come by. You are essentially right, but gone are the days where repairs were cheap, and could be diagnosed without a computer mostly.

I guess, if you want cost-effectiveness - the best thing to drive would still be a 10 year old Accord or Camry - preferably a manual.

May be different with US brands, but the European and Japanese brands cost a lot when things go pop.

In general, I do share your concerns.

I was talking to a friend of mine who has an Outlander PHEV as a company car, and the lease is up. They offered it to him at about 30% of the new value, but even at that price he is not taking it on - he is just too concerned about long term damage limitation to the wallet area. His solution is to buy a Rav4 aged 9 years... otherwise, get a really good extended warranty.

I don't purely look at EVs for environmental reasons (though I do care about that), I view them as vehicles that do not run on gasoline - the rest revolves around my personal economic and utility based thoughts.
2012 I-MIEV Keiko Silver 11K
2010 Insight ES-T 43K
2001 Accord Type-V (F23 manual)
2009 Hornet CB600F
2008 SH300

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Re: Major EV Drive Components Replacement & Costs

Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:20 am

Most electronic failures in EV's are, or will eventually be, fairly cheap and simple to fix . . . . once we get to where we're only replacing what's actually failed - The SCR, diode or chip. That day will come because a few of the 'techie types' who like to drive these rolling computers will diagnose it themselves, make the repair for $20 or $30 and then hopefully post a You Tube step by step for the 'rest of us' who are handy enough with a soldering iron to replace things . . . . once someone tells us WHAT to replace :lol:

I'm not that computer literate, but with the help of a video, I can completely disassemble a laptop to get to the keyboard which is on the very bottom of the 'stack' and then reassemble all the boards, batteries, fans and heat sinks and it will work like new when I turn it on - Been there, done that several times

In the meantime, just understand that fixing any modern car can be very expensive and either be prepared to pay someone else, or, bite the bullet at the dealers . . . . or, if peace of mind is the most important thing, pay a few thousand for an extended warranty that you hope you'll never make use of

2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1994 Miata 60K miles - Soon to be sold
1979 Honda CBX six into six

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Re: Major EV Drive Components Replacement & Costs

Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:27 am

Hi Don.
My I-miev is in the shop now with a suspected faulty charger.
I got to looking at used I's yesterday in Canada and the cheapest with low
Kilometres is $7000 in Ontario. Would an I-miev in Ont. have rust or corrosion
problems as I am thinking of buying one as a spare. Where should I look to educate
Myself on this parts coding issue ?

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Re: Major EV Drive Components Replacement & Costs

Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:43 pm

Long boring philosophical discussion follows - feel free to skip.

Sandy, you put into writing what had been on my mind ever since siai47 took apart his two i-MiEVs and did the transplants.

We are truly being held hostage by the manufacturers using digital locks which preclude even the simplest electronic subassembly swapping. I'm sure they hide behind the guise of 'safety'. In reading some of the threads it seems that in some cases even the Mitsu techs using the MUT3 tool are unable to reprogram the system or devices to get them to work together.

A situation where "there ought to be a law"...

During my lifetime I have never thought of cars as investments since they are usually depreciable assets. Hindsight tells me that indeed they would have been 'investments' if only I had kept my Austin Healey 3000, Lancia Flavia Vignale convertible, or Lancia Fulvia Zagato..., but I'm wandering off-topic.

Those of us who bit the bullet and bought new i-MiEVs six years ago have indeed taken a huge depreciation hit. I like to think that the operating cost savings over these years has softened the blow, and we are probably no worse off than a typical ICE purchaser. Besides, we've been saving the world and having loads of fun driving our little workhorses.

Certainly, picking up a very inexpensive used i-MiEV to keep as a spare is one alternative. Over the years I've had excess cars (most were bargain-basement purchases), and I've been fortunate in having a place to keep them. There was a certain comfort in this 'reliability through redundancy', and it served my family well for years and years as we were simply never stranded when one one car got sick. For a while I had three i-MiEVs and I must say it was nice, as before the Tesla we had a number of occasions needing to take the third i-MiEV when the other two were discharged. I also used that third i-MiEV as a loaner to friends contemplating buying an EV, and it was a highly successful marketing tool!

But, back on topic, what to do when an i-MiEV gets sick? Looking forward, what are our prospects?

We have had negligible reports of mechanical parts going bad on our i-MiEVs. I tend to think these will be no worse than ICE vehicles and hopefully we will be able to inexpensively buy wearout items such as suspension parts. We should start seeing parts wearing out in the next few years, so let's share our experiences.

I'd sure like to know where those wrecked i-MiEVs end up so they could be parts sources.

The high-ticket electronics are the issue on the table, and I really feel sorry for the astute person hoping to save on their automobile operating costs and thus buying an i-MiEV, only to have a major component go out on them.

Our friends in Europe (being earlier adopters) are beginning to see a few issues. On the face of it these should be readily solvable yet the manufacturer's interlocks stymie swapping out modules. Buying an expensive used module and not knowing if it will work in our car is simply daunting.

We are fortunate to have a number of astute technically-minded individuals on this forum. Until one of our electronic modules conks out, we have little impetus to start digging in and developing a fix or workaround. Perhaps, with time, people like Kenny (kiev) will be able to continue helping out. I suspect that there are simply too few of these cars around to entice a 'professional' to hack and decode our systems and set up an independent repair facility.

As long as all that manufacturers want to do is swap modules, it would be an interesting exercise to assess the future needs of an ever-expanding out-of-warranty EV community to see if a viable business case can be made for a nationwide independent Electric Vehicle repair network - or even a single mail-order facility. As an example, those sprung up to meet the hybrid car battery replacement market and seem to be thriving.

At some point dealerships will start feeling the impact of such high component replacement prices when people decide to simply walk away without fixing their cars.

Enough musing...

Whenever any of us come up with a fix for an i-MiEV problem, it behooves of us to post it here so that our body of knowledge continues to expand.

As an aside, if anyone knows of a Mitsubishi dealer going out of business, it would be great to be able to latch onto a factory MUT-3 computer plus software plus adapters. I'd be inclined to buy such a complete system and get it to Kenny so we have a safety backup.

I, for one, am still fighting to avoid being trapped in the disposable society mentality. :geek:
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

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Re: Major EV Drive Components Replacement & Costs

Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:06 pm

I have looked on eBay and a mut3 looks to be about $600 US.
What exactly will the device do ?
I have considered purchasing a second car but at the moment the I-miev
workings are still a mystery behind the black curtain.
It would be nice to fly somewhere in North America and get a 2-3 day technical information
session on the workings of the different parts.
I did this with Fanuc America for working on my C02 Laser cutter.
They gave me the confidence years ago to continue in the business and recently
purchase another 1995 machine that I got running again, cutting great parts.

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