Flip The Fleet Driver’s Memo #20: Battery woes, inclusive communication, and public outreach to show-off your data
Mad as March hares:
It has been full-on! There has been bad news to share about 30 kWh Leaf batteries, a flood of new sign-ups (we are up to 720 now). We have also opened up the database portal to members of the public to have a sneak look at the Flip the Fleet reports so that prospective buyers can think through what your numbers might mean for them should they switch to electric – just point anyone who you think would like a look to www.FlipTheFleet.org and scroll two thirds down the page. Thankfully, we have been joined by Rebecca Hayter, an award-winning journalist from Takaka to help with our public outreach.
Our discovery of rapid decline in energy-holding capacity of 30 kWh Leaf batteries was the last sort of thing we hoped to find. We really feel for the owners of 30 kWh Leafs and the dealers that are caught in this meltdown – we have all our fingers crossed that Nissan and or the government will support you all.
Here’s a summary of where we have got to so far and where we might be headed:
- Our preliminary report was passed to Nissan on 21 January 2018. A revised report with new data was sent to them on 23 February. New data is streaming in (thanks to all of you who recently signed up) which will strengthen the analysis.
- We have had no scientific feedback from Nissan – they have detailed knowledge of the battery chemistry and access to a huge number of vehicle records, so it is their scientific evaluation that matters most.
- News of our findings have spread through several EV social networks throughout the world, and several respondents have expressed concern, and the complete range for disbelief to acceptance and acknowledgement of anecdotes of such problems in other countries.
- The scientific report at https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201803.0122/v1 has been viewed over 4,000 times and downloaded more than 800 times. No substantive scientific criticisms of our interpretation have emerged so far, though there is a lot of debate about potential instrumentation error and interpretation of the ‘State of Health’ (SoH) metric.
- We have started a calibration study to check for such errors, but there are several clues that SoH is a broad scale indicator of battery energy-holding capacity and range. We see no grounds for challenging our interpretation on the basis of instrumentation error.
- We have several updates planned for the technical report. These include reporting the results of the calibration study, updating the results to reflect the new data we have received, and many other minor refinements. We will then submit the paper for anonymous peer review and publication in a scientific journal.
You can read a summary of the results at https://flipthefleet.org/2018/30-kwh-leafs-soh-loss/. At the bottom of that post there is a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section that outlines some more detail about the background and implications. The main Listener article about the threat is at: https://flipthefleet.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/The-Listener-31-March-2018-cover-and-p14-p21.pdf
We understand from Facebook exchanges that a Nissan- NZ government negotiation for a remedy is underway, but, have no information of where this might be headed or who is involved.
March’s 1-click survey:
We asked if men and women were equally likely to switch to electric vehicles. See the post at https://flipthefleet.org/2018/1-click-survey-17/ for a full record of your comments. The majority of you thought both sexes were equally likely to switch, and some of the others argued that women were more likely to switch, and some others that men were more likely to switch. Some of you didn’t feel comfortable with the question and wondered why we would ever ask a question like that. Honest, we weren’t trying to start a gender war! Our goal was simply to highlight the opportunities for a more inclusive EV sales pitch that includes all people, whatever their gender, culture, environmental values, economic status or age: we are all part of the solution and we wondered if the old models of targeting males to sell cars were not changing sufficiently to fully match the new era of EVs. We used the results to generate the media release at https://flipthefleet.org/2018/media-release-men-miss-the-vroom-vroom/
Public access the statistics portal:
We can now give anyone a sneak look at your collective data so they can figure out how good the EVs are before they buy. The reports accessible from the main website page www.FlipTheFleet.org (just scroll two thirds down the landing page). The public reports just feature Henrik & Dima’s cars as examples, so have no fear that your confidential data will be seen by anyone else. Please draw the attention of prospective buyers, or EV owners who have not already signed up, to the sneak look under the bonnet and encourage them to join us. This modification is part of our work for the ‘LEV Fund’ grant administered by EECA.
Presentations in your neighbourhood?
Part of our work for EECA is to give at least 10 presentations on electric vehicles to public groups around New Zealand this year. We already have five talks lined up (see https://flipthefleet.org/resources/presentations/). We would be pleased to talk to your local networks if we can find the time. The idea is to particularly reach non-EV owners and show them your data, so you might know of car clubs, Rotary and Lions groups, sustainable living networks or local community workshops. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a local suggestion.
This month’s hint to get the most out of Flip the Fleet’s dashboard: We have modified our entrance ways. Already signed-up members can now also get into their account via the new ‘Sign In’ page at the top of www.FlipTheFleet.org – no more hunting around for the link!
Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou kātoa
Henrik, Daniel, Dima, Rebecca, Monica and Morgan