“Lock the door” suspicious, weima owners furious rights
Financial world weekly Hong Hanqi editor | Take shiyang Weima owners issued an “ultimatum” nearly 200 “rights” in weima car owners, gradually losing patience.On February 14, sina Weibo user “Mi Zhou not surnamed Mi” posted that this would be “the last time for all Weima users to speak out for Shen Hui and Weima Automobile”.According to the user, Weima has not directly contacted the rights protection users so far regarding “weima secretly locked the electricity and the subsequent disturbance caused by it”.The last time the owners spoke out publicly was a month ago.On January 10, 173 weima car owners jointly sent a lawyer’s letter to Weima Motor, questioning whether the car was “locked” without informing the owners, and demanding weima motor to respond to the quality problem of the power battery on the ground that the actual driving range was greatly reduced.”Most of the owners of rights protection are the first vIMA users, and the actual driving range has been far from the propaganda since they bought the car.In winter, the range of a large number of users has dropped to 30 to 40 percent of the original rated range.”Co-signed car owners publicly said.What directly stimulates the nerves of rights protection users is the “Welcome New Year users with special advantages” activity carried out by Weimar From December 23, 2021 to January 15, 2022.During the event, 18,000 “lucky users” were selected to receive a comprehensive vehicle inspection service and a certain amount of gift cards.But when the event was over, many of the lucky ones sensed something was wrong.”When the vehicle came back from the inspection, the range dropped significantly.”Some owners in the rights group said that after the maintenance, the full voltage of the vehicle from the original 408V down to 400V below.”For models with comprehensive operating conditions of 400 kilometers, the actual range is only about 180 kilometers, which is reduced by more than 50%.”According to industry practice, “battery lock” refers to the car companies by rewriting the BMS battery management system of electric vehicles, the SOC (battery state) lock, and then affect the battery capacity and charge-discharge performance.In order to protect the battery and prolong its life, “locking the battery” is a common practice in the electric car market, Caijing Learned.However, the implicit problem is that most electric vehicle companies do not disclose the “lock” ratio to owners, and the original capacity of the battery is still marked on the publicity parameters.As a result, there are concerns that some car companies will cover up potential battery safety risks caused by technical or even quality problems by increasing the lock ratio.The most direct impact of “locking electricity” is the reduction of vehicle range.In the electric vehicle market, range is the core selling point, and range anxiety is the consumer pain point that users pay special attention to.The decline in battery life directly affects the mood of consumers.Considerate (not her real name), as one of the sponsors of activism, he said, as early as May 2021, his name wei ma EX5 on free maintenance after the summer, which appeared declining real range of 50 km, “if I found you have similar basic situation, we decided that the maintenance has a problem, and named the operating electric lock.”According to media reports, a Wima EX5 owner received a BMS (battery management system) upgrade from the manufacturer in July 2021, which reduced the full battery voltage from 408V to 397V and reduced the range by 15%.According to the owner of the rights protection, After the rights protection incident, Weimar only required users to enter the store for testing through the dealer’s phone, but the store unilaterally concluded that the vehicle was “all normal” because of “the process and results of the in-store testing were not transparent and public”.Activists are not buying it.At present, on the Black Cat complaint website, more than 200 owners have participated in the collective complaint, that Weima “without the owner’s consent, without authorization through the UPGRADE of BMS software, set the upper and lower threshold of charge and discharge to reduce the potential battery defects, resulting in a serious reduction of vehicle range”, the battery has a huge potential safety hazard.In this regard, “The world of Finance and Economics” weekly to Weima automobile for verification.Wilma officials denied that they had secretly switched off the batteries during the maintenance, saying that the maintenance in question did not involve a BMS upgrade and there was no “locked battery” in the vehicle’s power battery.A weimar EX5 owner who participated in the New Year maintenance said on the social media platform that after participating in the vehicle inspection service, he went to the store for the relevant test, “now the battery life has been reduced to half of the original range, but the test result is that the power battery health is 100%, we don’t know what the problem is.”Perhaps more difficult for activist users to swallow is Mr Wilma’s “zero response” attitude.In the Jan. 10 letter, the owners gave Weima “seven natural days” to respond.But since the ultimatum was issued on February 14, There has been no public response from Wilma officials to the allegations.Lock electric mystery bureau for whether is locked electricity, battery capacity is locked the scope of how much, in the rights of weima owners also feel confused.In the rights groups, “judging whether the car is locked” has become the focus of car owners.They have their own set of criteria.In a screenshot of the “Weima Power Lockout user rights Group”, the group’s announcement instructs users: “Look at the power battery voltage on the dashboard when it is about to be full.The 400 model, when charging 97%, if the power battery voltage display is less than 400V, or charging 99%, the voltage display is less than 406V, are definitely locked.””The actual data of the battery pack on the vehicle will need to be determined through a series of experiments.”Wang Zidong, deputy secretary general of the China Automotive Power Battery Industry Innovation Alliance, told Caijing Tianxia, a weekly magazine, that it is not of reference value to judge whether a vehicle is locked only from the power battery voltage on the dashboard.Even so, vima owners’ perception of reduced endurance is true.An owner who bought a Wilma EX5 Pro400 in 2018 said that after three years of driving, the battery life has diminished, but a full charge still requires about 56 KWH, and the battery voltage is above 400V.However, after participating in a “free full-car inspection” organized by Wilma in December last year, the battery used only about 40 kilowatt-hours of electricity and only 396 VOLTS, which reduced the range to about 180 kilometers.”The actual range of the vehicle varies according to the temperature and usage habits of the region,” weima officials told Caijing Tixia, a weekly magazine. “It is recommended to go to a physical store to have the battery tested.”Information is not smooth, often easy to breed doubt and imagination.Behind the lock is the alarming topic of vehicle power battery systems.In fact, rather than being “locked”, many Weima owners are more worried about the battery.This isn’t the first time Wilma has been embroiled in a power battery safety controversy.In late 2020, Weima had four spontaneous combustion incidents in a row over a period of 35 days.In response, Weimar launched the recall, saying the supplier had mixed impurities in the production process, which could lead to a short circuit in extreme cases, causing safety risks.For the recalled 1,282 EX5 models, Wilma said it would replace the power battery packs of other brands.For a long time, WeIMar has adopted a diversified supplier layout mode in the power battery field.According to public information, compared with NIO, Xiaopeng and Ideo, Weimar auto has more diversified suppliers, including Ningde Times, ZTE High Energy, Lishen Battery, Yuang Battery, Tafel New Energy, etc.This used to be an advantage that VIMA was proud of, allowing it to avoid being tied down by upstream suppliers.But obviously, diversification layout also brought greater quality control pressure.In addition to the quality control pressure of diversified procurement, whether Weema’s BMS system can cooperate well with batteries from many different manufacturers has also been questioned by the outside world.Frequent accidents seem to sow the seeds of mistrust.In the letter, sent on Jan. 10, weimar’s users questioned whether the “switch lock” was a hedge to avoid a massive recall of vehicles and replacement of qualified batteries after the spontaneous combustion incident.According to media reports, in December 2021, there were three incidents of spontaneous combustion of Weimar vehicles within four days.Industry insiders believe that although a number of new energy vehicle companies have experienced spontaneous combustion incidents, in the domestic market, a sound and binding recall mechanism is still being established.In the auto industry, vehicle recalls often mean huge costs, which companies do not want to see.In mid-2021, GM recalled 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric cars because of fire hazards, costing more than $1.8 billion.Gm is pinning its hopes on a claim from LG, the battery supplier, for the huge outlay.By contrast, “locking the electricity” seems like a good solution.In the view of most industry insiders, locking electricity can effectively reduce the risk of spontaneous combustion caused by charge and discharge.”Lithium battery as an energy storage unit, at low temperature, charging and discharging for a long time will harm the battery itself.”Limiting the charging threshold and reducing the range is actually a protection mechanism for the power battery at low temperatures.”Wang told Business World weekly.In his opinion, compared with the pursuit of extreme long life, shallow charge and shallow discharge are more consistent with the characteristics of lithium ion battery, which is conducive to extending the service life of power battery.But what the owners can’t accept is that the “lockout” is always happening without being told.One owner described the feeling as “like the door of your home can be cracked open at any time for everyone to visit.”In May 2021, a SAIC Roewe ERX5 owner complained that the car was secretly “locked” after the system upgrade.In September of the same year, GAC Toyota iA5 owners collective rights protection, said that GAC Toyota iA5 in the case of a large number of GAC Toyota iA5 models, through background OTA upgrade battery management system BMS, artificially reduce the available capacity of the vehicle power battery and limit the output power of the vehicle, without informing users and with the permission of users.Gac Aian and Weima have also been complained of similar problems in the past year.According to complaints from customers, after spontaneous combustion incidents occurred, many oems used OTA upgrades to lock the electricity on their vehicles without informing consumers.However, involved car companies have not made a clear response.Car companies’ attempts to “lock up” power battery safety problems go back even further.In 2019, some Tesla owners reported that the battery capacity and range of their vehicles decreased significantly after the manufacturer-led program upgrade.This comes after a number of incidents of Spontaneous combustion of Tesla vehicles around the world.As for the spontaneous combustion incident of Model S 85D in Hong Kong, Which happened around the same time, Tesla has issued a statement that it will modify the charging and thermal management Settings of existing models and push them through OTA (over-the-air download technology) to further protect the battery and extend its battery life.It is also believed that Tesla’s intention to lock the electricity is precisely to reduce the risk of spontaneous combustion.Unspoken rules?The SOC is related to the voltage, current, charge and discharge power of the battery.According to Yang Lianghui, head of the power system of the National New Energy Vehicle Technology Innovation Center, the current is a parameter that has the biggest impact on battery life and safety.For batteries, high-power charging and discharging will affect their service life and safety.For “lock electricity”, the power battery industry interpretation, which is closely related to the characteristics of lithium batteries.Automotive engineers told Caitianxia, a weekly magazine, that lithium battery life is related to discharge depth and current.Companies can extend battery life by reducing the discharge depth by setting the minimum charge of a power battery at a high value, such as 20%.In addition, too much current can also cause batteries to age faster.”All trams are locked, the only difference is the scope of the lock.”Yang Lianghui once said.But for consumers, “locking up” is not a safe way to deal with batteries.Lock mode will inevitably bring about the reduction of electric vehicle range, which will affect the user experience, and even means the reduction of vehicle cost performance.In fact, technical barriers make it difficult for consumers to know whether their cars are powered up or not, which is why most activist users file complaints.”OTA software upgrades are available for most neVs, but it is difficult for third parties to obtain and test the specific parameters of the power battery.Even if the vehicle is powered off, if the range reduction is small, it is not easy for the user to determine whether the vehicle is powered off.”Zhang Xiang, an auto analyst, said that since the data is not public, it is not possible to see “electricity lock” as an “unspoken rule” in the industry.Therefore, some people in the industry believe that a reasonable range of “electricity lock” should be accepted.”We accept battery decay in mobile phones, but we reject battery decay in electric cars,”A power battery industry practitioners who declined to be named, told the world of finance and economics, requests from the technical point of view, does not need to talk about “electric lock”, but most of the manufacturers only comprehensive working range during the campaign, but rarely mentioned battery attenuation, it is not good for the consumer to establish a correct concept of electric vehicles use habits and consumption.Behind this also reflects the industry and the market for high mileage blind pursuit.”We put too much emphasis on high battery life and charging speed, but the technology couldn’t keep up. We had to stabilize the safety of the battery by locking the power battery.”Some analysts believe that only rely on the lock to “save” the safety of power battery, in fact, the current stage of power battery technology and fast charging technology is not mature performance.And in the face of power battery safety issues, some voices think that locking the electricity is not a long-term solution.Cheng Duanqian, deputy director of the data product Department of China Auto Research Data Center, said in an interview with the media, “There is no unified standard for the reasonable range of electricity lock…It is only a remedial measure and should not be taken as a routine measure.”Fortunately, as OTA technology spreads, so does market regulation.In mid-2021, The State Administration for Market Regulation and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a document successively, requiring enterprises to specify OTA upgrade types, upgrade purposes and other details when filing, and to put OTA upgrades on record with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to “ensure the consistency of automobile product production”.Overseas, the power battery range attenuation of the rights, has gained new progress.In May 2021, Norway penalized Tesla for battery decay in older Model S and Model X models.”Consumers’ demand for high battery life and charging speed has virtually provided space for the development of power conversion mode. In the future, there will be a diversified power supply pattern, each taking its strengths to meet consumers’ different power supply needs.”The industry said.