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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have saved up some money but im still on the fence about purchasing an Libcm because of my geographic location..
Its now November here in northern Minnesota and my biggest concern is destroying batteries in inclemently cold temperatures. My experience with driving a hybrid has been wonderful to date (since 3/27/2022) right up until cold weather has hit us. I actually didn't drive the car until temps were above freezing last april so driving subzero this year will be my first testament. im in construction and in a rural area, we basically always eat lunch in our personal vehicles and i got so cold last thursday that i considered starting my g1 on fire to stay warm. a typical internal combustion only vehicle, has a large enough engine to self propel down the road, two fold at <40% efficiency the heaters typically work great. at least keep the windows defrosted when idling for a few minutes. unfortunately i got rained on that morning and my task for the day was caulking around the outside of the 26 great big windows i installed days prior, 50k dollars worth of windows i might add, using a ladder to reach the top halves and wouldnt you know it all the water was running off the roof splashing water off the ladder and myself. i had a decent jacket on but within the first hour i was soaked. i figured no big deal i'll warm up in the car for a few minutes.. LOL. i had to go for a dangerous drive down the county road with fogging up windsheild and put some load on the motor to get it to heat up.
since the other day i have been contemplating relocating the radiator inside the cabin and using the windows to thermostatically control my engine. i could do like grandpa had to do and wrap a blanket around the engine at night with a block heater. Whats actually funny about this is, it isn't even that cold yet.. thursday started off at 33F at daybreak with rain and light wind, the wintery prevailing northwest wind started to pick up to 30mph but temps only dropped to 29F by days end. hadn't it been for me getting soaked in the morning, us minnesotans would typically call this a decent day because come december, january, and february we're gaurunteed to have snow up to our asses and frigid temps. i recall a few winters in my life where overnight temperatures hit subzero degrees F for a month straight, basically common folks work half their lives here to pay to keep the house heated in the winters. i grew up cutting up dead trees in the summers with dad, haulin the firewood home in the back of the pickup truck, splitting it, stacking it, covering it with tarps. thataway come frozen hell time you'd shovel your way out to the woodpile, shovel off the pile, untarp the pile, fill the outdoor wood boiler if you were fortunate enough to have one that hadnt froze and split or rusted out, or optionally fill the indoor woodstove every couple hours 24/7 so the pipes in your house wouldn't freeze and split. all of the property where you could source firewood when i was young has been bought up and is now privately owned, so unless you own and can afford the taxes on an 80 acre chunk of forest, firewood is less likely a sustainable option to heat your house now, it's actually a luxury with the accomodating fuel prices to haul it from a to b.
well that's more than enough of me rambling about how us common folk up here manage to get by, so back to what i was getting too, the slightly colder temps got me thinking about batteries. i have horseshi tluck with batteries. all i do with my free time is fix things that have broken or broke down around here. i try to keep my lead acid stuff topped up so it doesn't freeze and break in the winter. all my cordless powertools used for work come in the house and get charged up overnight, ready for the next day. i do mostly construction related tasks but also a lot of wrenching. back in the day my cordless tools were the missing link to freedom. helped you get further out of the neighborhood and still get a job completed without having to set up camp somewhere. those NiCad things didn't live long.. slowly converted to lithium over the years and now own lots and lots of LifePo4 Milwaukee stuff. the nicest part about my milwaukee cordless stuff is it's inherent AmpHour's. a typical day i will deplete one or two batteries and recharge them if a grid is available and the temperature is in check. a bad day i might completely cycle my 5Ah batteries in the neighborhood of a dozen times using drills to drive large screws through timbers or logs. milwaukee chargers will not charge if said pack temp is too hot or too cold. typically if im out and about working in the winter, i place my batteries on the dash with the defroster of the car keeping them happy.
I don't believe buying an Libcm for my car would make any sense. i could pay to heat my garage all winter but i'd still have to park in the freezing temps on worksites for the whole day. 5 years ago with cheap fuel prices i spent 800 dollars and insulated my garage myself, i kept it approximately 40 degrees in their all winter and it cost an additional 500 dollars in fuel. if i put tabs on my old honda accord for 50 bucks and transfer insurance to it. it only gets around 28 mpg in the winter and thats letting it defrost itself yada yada. ive read the insights typically can pull tanks in the high 40's under my circumstances, i will prolly only need to drive 10,000 miles over the winter. I just calculated it out at $4 a gallon, my accord would burn an additional $250 in gasoline thats if i drive that far and gas costs that much. if the garage cost 500 to heat five years ago, than basically i don't even want to know how much it would cost now, prolly closer to double that.. im still happy i insulated it cuz when stuff does break down i can quickly heat it up with a torpedo heater and get whatever i need to fix myself done without freezing to the ground outside. its a real pain trying to pull few inches of manhood out the trap door with frozen hands to take a leak in frostbite conditions when your wearing ten inches of coverall's and long underwears let me tell ya, that guy just fights ya and wants to turtlehead back into his cozy shell. i swear if i didn't get any on my bibs i'd never have to wash them, it gets so cold out that dirt doesn't want anything to do with ya. got to go, i think the neighbor just filled his deer tag, ol boy will need an extra hand for sure.
 

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Hmmm Trickle,
Maybe...
1. An investment in some nice Rain Gear.
2. Possibly Adapting a 'Heat Storage' Tank? I worked in Auto Salvage for a number of years and recall seeing 2nd Gen Priuses being dismantled 'To the Bone'. An interesting bit off of those Toyotas was a Heat Storage Tank - See attached image(s) below. Days! after idling, the temperature of the tank fluid would still be 'Scalding Temperature' (Over 45 °C; 113 °F or so?). I believe Toyota used this as a way to preheat the cylinder head? I keep coming back to the idea of adapting to Insight for elimination of fully cold starts and potentially quicker heat access.
Stay Warm Over There :coffee:,
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y2k silver'sight, hch1 5spd, snow tires
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hey hey. maybe title of thread is misleading..
i don't have lithium.
i have put away some money to try it out but I'm very leery of making a large investment into something that i may not be happy with. things i touch don't turn to gold, if anything they rust haha.
if you have experience with lithium in cold climate fill me in, please ease my mind..
if anyone reads this and lives in similar arctic climate, possible the Canada neighbors to the north? with lithium G1, tell me the good and bad, give me some food for thought before i go making impulsive decision and hating my life later.
i want to do it but if it's another chore than it's the last thing i need on my plate. especially if i'll be buying batteries every year to keep it alive.

So Please Chime in if you have arctic lithium experience.
I tried to lay it out earlier in the thread that i typically have bad luck with batteries in the winter because of how cold it gets here..
 

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My thoughts:
Both battery types I'm officially supporting with LiBCM are rated for storage down to -30 degC. However, charging both battery types when the cells themselves are below freezing will rapidly degrade their cycle lifetime due to (irreversible) lithium plating along the interface inside each cell. Discharging below freezing is less harmful to the cells. In general, lithium batteries like the same temperatures humans do... straying outside the 17:30 degC range is going to negatively impact cell lifetime.

If you store your car in a heated garage at night, that'll provide plenty of time for the pack to warm up... lithium cells have very high thermal mass, which means it's going to take many hours for them to cool off when parked outside (e.g. at a job site)... likewise it will take many hours for them to heat back up when parked in the garage.

Anecdotal observation: Starting with the batteries at 23 degC, I parked outside (0 degC) for three hours. When I returned, the pack temperature had dropped down to 17 degC. Based on this data, I would think that even in much colder temperatures your pack isn't going to cool below 0 degC as long as you park it inside each night.

As others have recommended, in very cold climates it makes sense to place a heating element inside the IMA bay, and then plug in an extension cord whenever you're parked... might as well grid charge, too, since you'll already have power.

Probably the cheapest way to heat the pack would be to buy a small heated blanket and then remove all the fabric (leaving just the actual high resistance wire). You'd then install this wire around the battery inside the IMA bay, making certain to stay away from the junction board (which contains uninsulated high voltage wiring). Ideally there's a small (e.g. 24x24"), cheap heating pad that can just fit underneath the OEM IMA battery case.

You'd want to make sure the vehicle chassis is grounded, so that if the heated blanked wiring contacts the chassis you don't get electrocuted... plugging in LiBCM's grid charger (to a properly grounded three-prong outlet) will achieve this safety goal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I appreciate your intuition mudder. I will take what you say into my consideration.

NOW ANYBODY WITH EXPERIENCE CAN CHIME IN AND TELL ME HOW AWESOME IT IS TO DRIVE AND OWN A LITHIUM HYBRID CAR IF YOUR CAR HAS TO LIVE OUTSIDE IN ARCTIC TEMPERATURES.

I CAN KEEP A BABY COW ALIVE WHEN ITS 50 BELOW ZERO BY BRINGING IT INSIDE THE HOUSE AND BOTTLE FEEDING IT WARM MILK. THE ADULT COWS TYPICALLY STAY ALIVE OUT THERE IF THEY HAVE FEED AND WATER AND A WIND BREAK

I DONT KNOW IF YOU KNOW THIS BUT WHEN WATER GETS BELOW 32 DEGREES YOU CAN NO LONGER DRINK IT, IT EITHER HAS TOO MUCH SALT IN IT OR YOU HAVE TO CHEW ON IT UNTIL IT FITS DOWN YOUR THROAT

I GO ICE FISHING. THATS WHEN YOU DRIVE YOUR PLOW TRUCK OUT ON THE LAKE. YOU HAVE TO DRILL HOLES THROUGH THE TOP OF THE LAKE TO ACCESS THE WET PART. SOMETIMES THE ICE IS 4 FEET THICK. WE TYPICALLY DON'T CATCH FISH. BUT AT LEAST YOU HAVE TO BUY AN EXPENSIVE LICENSE TO
TRY IT OUT.

OUR WEATHER FORECAST ALWAYS TELL YOU THE TEMPERATURE OF THE WIND CHILL FIRST. I BELIEVE ITS A SMART TACTIC. KEEPS THE IDIOTS IN A HURRY FROM GETTING INTO THEIR CARS IN HOPES THEY WILL STAY HOME BY THE FIRE OR AT LEAST JUMP IN THEIR 4 WHEEL DRIVE IF THEY RUN OUT OF MILK.

I HAVE NEVER HAD A MAIL-MAN WITH A MUFFLER. IF YOU LICK THE ROAD AROUND HERE IT TASTES LIKE THE OCEAN.
 

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I heated my lithium pack in the solar van..
Motor vehicle Yellow Mode of transport Automotive exterior Gas

MK1 with electric blanket in central box.


Hood Motor vehicle Yellow Automotive design Trunk


MK2 false floor insulated sandwich with white electric blanket wire passed up and down cells.

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Hood


Automotive tail & brake light Vehicle Automotive lighting Car Motor vehicle

Vehicle Motor vehicle Trunk Car Yellow
 

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Are you the second coming of NathanC?

I lived in Canada, so I know a few things about the cold, but I didn't have lithium batteries back then.

But, what I did do was I put in a block heater on my engine, and I put a tiny heating pad on the bottom of my transmission to help heat the transmission fluid.

If you get LiBCM, getting a heat pad definitely seems like the way to go. Turn it on before you have to drive the car in the morning, and check the LiBCM display gauge before you drive to see if the battery temp is above 0°C//32°F.

If you install a clutch switch you can always drive the car gas-only if the battery pack is too cold to use. Once you've warmed the car and the cabin heat has warmed the battery enough you could turn the clutch switch off and start using the battery. It's a little bit of a hack, but I think it could be totally workable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are you the second coming of NathanC?

I lived in Canada, so I know a few things about the cold, but I didn't have lithium batteries back then.

But, what I did do was I put in a block heater on my engine, and I put a tiny heating pad on the bottom of my transmission to help heat the transmission fluid.

If you get LiBCM, getting a heat pad definitely seems like the way to go. Turn it on before you have to drive the car in the morning, and check the LiBCM display gauge before you drive to see if the battery temp is above 0°C//32°F.

If you install a clutch switch you can always drive the car gas-only if the battery pack is too cold to use. Once you've warmed the car and the cabin heat has warmed the battery enough you could turn the clutch switch off and start using the battery. It's a little bit of a hack, but I think it could be totally workable.
that is definately pro advice, thanks natalya
 

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I had a 'habistat' vivarium controller dealing with my VAN under floor heating..

Any time the van was plugged in the heating could operate.

Automotive lighting Yellow Motor vehicle Gas Electricity
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had a 'habistat' vivarium controller dealing with my VAN under floor heating..

Any time the van was plugged in the heating could operate.

View attachment 100050
reptile heater. i like that. i'd really like to design a cooler with handles and wheels that was more plug and play friendly with cells in it. where i could back up to my front door open the hatch, unplug the battery yank it out, roll it inside. maybe have a second battery already charged and warm ready to go. you guys always implement safety into your re-engineering products and projects. would there be a way that this idea is possible? with an libcm config. basically like taking the concept of those solar camping generators that cost 1,200 us and having a welder outlet on it. wire the motor cables to welder male plug, they even make locking versions, the a/c ones can handle some high amperage. i'll shut up and wait for a reply, i don't want to annoy anybody.
 

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I live in north-central Ohio and drive a Volt, which can run as an EV on a lithium battery if I wish it to.

We don't get too far below zero, but -5 and -10 (f) aren't all that unusual.

The Volt heats / cools its battery when it's plugged into the wall. While driving, it runs its engine or its air con to maintain the battery temperature within a certain range. What that range is, I don't know, but I know the battery typically operates between 72 and 86 (f).

The owner's manual says:
"Do not allow the vehicle to remain in temperature extremes for long periods without being driven or plugged in. It is recommended that the vehicle be plugged in when temperatures are below 0°C (32°F) and above 32°C (90°F) to maximize high voltage battery life."

It's not a one-to-one comparison, though. The Volt battery is about 400 pounds, 17.1 kWh, and the car pulls and pushes a lot of juice through it on a drive.

As far as driving range goes... In comfortable temps, at 35 mph, I can get about 50 miles as an EV. Around freezing, without running the heat, it's about 30 and that's with the engine running due to temperature. I've never driven the car without running the heat in frigid temps to find the range because I'm not that crazy.
 
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@trickle This is a great discussion. I'm somebody else who understands that 0 deg C isn't even close to being really cold, and I'm looking forward/hoping to see other people's Insight-specific solutions to this. Once @mudder puts in the code fix that prevents charging when the battery is cold enough, I imagine that necessity will bring about some innovation for those of us in colder climates. I'm in Iowa. This morning, my Lithium battery was 3 deg C when I started my 40 minute drive to work. I cranked the cabin heater up to 32 deg C to see how much I could raise the battery temps. Over 40 minutes, I raised it from 3 deg C to 9 deg C (and that was with the car being pre-heated from an engine block heater). Not a lot of temperature rise, and I was burning up inside the car. I could easily see a January/February stint where my battery never gets above 0 deg C for days on end. If I'm starting my commute in winter with my battery at -10 deg C, my entire commute might not get it to 0 deg C, and then it gets parked all day and the cycle repeats itself.

@Arbus thanks for the info on the Volt heating the battery. I imagine that I'm going to need to find some solution, similar to what @retepsnikrep is showing that runs a heater while the charger is plugged in.

This is putting my plans for the 47Ah FoMoCo stuff on hold, until I can see/test/verify how things are going to work this winter. I was interested in the 60S option, but I'm not even sure whether a heating pad option would physically fit in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@trickle This is a great discussion. I'm somebody else who understands that 0 deg C isn't even close to being really cold, and I'm looking forward/hoping to see other people's Insight-specific solutions to this. Once @mudder puts in the code fix that prevents charging when the battery is cold enough, I imagine that necessity will bring about some innovation for those of us in colder climates. I'm in Iowa. This morning, my Lithium battery was 3 deg C when I started my 40 minute drive to work. I cranked the cabin heater up to 32 deg C to see how much I could raise the battery temps. Over 40 minutes, I raised it from 3 deg C to 9 deg C (and that was with the car being pre-heated from an engine block heater). Not a lot of temperature rise, and I was burning up inside the car. I could easily see a January/February stint where my battery never gets above 0 deg C for days on end. If I'm starting my commute in winter with my battery at -10 deg C, my entire commute might not get it to 0 deg C, and then it gets parked all day and the cycle repeats itself.

@Arbus thanks for the info on the Volt heating the battery. I imagine that I'm going to need to find some solution, similar to what @retepsnikrep is showing that runs a heater while the charger is plugged in.

This is putting my plans for the 47Ah FoMoCo stuff on hold, until I can see/test/verify how things are going to work this winter. I was interested in the 60S option, but I'm not even sure whether a heating pad option would physically fit in there.
all good stuff.. glad to hear im not the only one interested with lithium and has these thoughts
 

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Does LTO have this issue? I seem to recall it being able to handle subzero charging and discharging.
I want to bump @*sean* 's post. Does anyone know about LTO issues with this? GreenTec still has LTO batteries:

If LTO tolerates cold better, people in the north could look at using LTO blocks as an alternative. 72 cell LTO setups do have enough energy density for light PHEV use, w/ double the capacity of a G3 Insight battery standard LiBCM setup. Not as fun as FoMoCo I'm sure, but it seems like a good compromise if they can tolerate the cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Vehicle Sky Car Hood Motor vehicle

I am not trying to rub anybody the wrong way.
The reality is im more jealous of other contributor's abilities than anything. People like mudder and peter who can invision these things in their minds simply amazes me. I dont have the electrical or for the matter, the programming skillset that they do. i am mecanically minded. i would give anything to learn more about how to accomplish these things myself. when i start reading about coding i may as well be trying to read a menu in mandarin without a translator. prolly a bad analogy but honestly without 1. 2. 3... directions, i would probably start by turning the menu sideways and standing on my head. If someone were interested in a rebuilt rear axle out of my parts car id be willing to trade for something i could test/learn with. last thing i wanna do is rub someone the wrong way.
 

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This issue has been on my mind for a few days as well. I'm in Madison WI and I have already seen a 1 degree C Temp on LiBCM. I'm concerned that lithium puts me in a thermodynamic disadvantage during the winter where I would be spending extra energy trying the battery warm. At 1 kilowatt ish our batteries hold close to as much energy as a half a cup of gasoline (A gallon of gas equals 33 kilowatt, there are 32 half cups in a gallon). It could take well over this amount of energy to reheat the battery if it gets freezing cold. At some point we could be putting more energy in than we are able to recover with the regenerative brakes. Cold areas have dirty power with a higher carbon footprint. In some areas, the thermal efficiency of the electrical grid might be as low as 30% after accounting for transportation losses. Yes, that means the Honda insight has greater thermal efficiency then many of the power plants in the US. Grid power can help to maximize the thermal efficiency of the Honda insight in a PHEV Mima system where the user is able to hyper mile and increase the percentage of highly efficient, lean burn, combustion. Grid warming the batteries defeats some level of this potential efficiency gain.

The location of the battery is not very well insulated and it is an area that is not normally heated during extreme cold. I've driven the insight in areas where it was cold enough that the back hatch would ice up on the inside if I did not continue pressing the back glass heater.

Unfortunately, I do not have access to a heated garage nor can I plug my car in every night. Normally we start our cars and let them idle for about 10 minutes while the engine warms up and the windows defrost. It would be neat if there was a way to pull a very small amount of waste energy (unused "work" potential) from the IMA motor and use it to heat the battery during this period of time.

I've had the 12 volt battery fail on an Insight during extreme cold and had to replace it. The OEM battery will start up run a standard regeneration calibration during this extreme cold. It turns out that the ability for the NiMH battery to store and release energy is substantially reduced by the cold. However, the extra energy during the regeneration is converted to heat directly in the battery. So in deep cold the IMA battery can function as a multiple kilowatt resistive heater to warm itself. So the battery is heated from a waste energy that normally goes to breaking rather than taking energy from the engine or an outside electrical source. This is why we don't see a heating system for the battery and they did not need to add any thermal insulation. During the summer it is ideal to have low insulation in the battery compartment to counteract (vent) the heat trapped by the windows in the cabin. The closest thing to insulation that we see is the mat and the styrofoam which would actually slightly insulate the battery from the hot cabin.

Warming the cabin with the battery fan running seems to have little or no effect on the temperature of LIBCM. The best way that I was able to warm it up was through using the assist and regen. Of course this is not an option at 0°c and below. Also the FoMoCo system has lower internal resistance and will create less heat.

This is interesting Battery Heating System for Electric Vehicles

It would be super awesome if we could use the
IMA motor and batteries to heat themselves when below 0° C. I'm not sure how this would work with the plating issue. Maybe if it's a really small charge/discharge that oscillates back and forth then it doesn't cause the plating issue?

Do the Toshiba scib LTO batteries have this plating issue? Can they be recharged below freezing without substantial degradation to the battery?

Speaking of freezing, does the fluid in the Panasonic generation 3 batteries actually freeze at 0°? If so then we are dealing with energy of fusion (latent, specific heat of phase change) and a huge thermal mass that we would have to warm if they were to freeze solid. Also, there could be issues where somewhere the cells could still be frozen solid while the hot air going through the pack will warm up the temperature sensor at a faster rate giving a falsely high reading.
 
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