[continued from previous post]
After learning that my car was, in fact, not ready to be picked up, I was told there was a problem with the battery leak detection circuit. The battery pack is hermetically sealed and it has sensors in it that activate if the battery leaks or if any external liquids enter the pack. In this case, neither of those conditions were occurring, but the car’s computer could not communicate with the sensor. Unfortunately, a Honda dealership cannot simply replace a sensor, because they are not allowed to break the seal on the battery. The only way to repair this is to replace the entire battery pack.
Replacing the entire lithium titanate battery pack is a pretty big deal. Honda of America sends the dealership, which has two techs who have been trained to replace the pack, two crates. The first a “battery crate”, which as you may have guessed contains the battery pack. The second crate is called the “special equipment crate” and contains all of the tools necessary to replace the battery pack. Honda rents the special equipment to the dealership, so they don’t have to spend a large up-front cost to have equipment that they will rarely use. This is a good idea, and perhaps Chevy should have done this with the Volt.
Check out the gallery below of the massive 20 kWh battery pack and all of the equipment required to replace it. It’s quite likely that this is the first battery replacement Honda has had to do on the 2013 Fit EVs.
While Honda had my Fit EV, they updated the software so I can now charge at defective Blink EVSE without having the connector overheat and having my charge session interrupted.
Of course, this was all covered under warranty and Honda gave me a loaner car for the time I was without my car. I was loaned a Kia Rio, which wasn’t horrible, but really made me appreciate the torqueiness of the Fit EV.
Unfortunately, the ordeal doesn’t end here. The day after I got my car back, I popped the hood to show another EV driver. I found a Torx screw in the engine compartment. I emailed a picture to my service advisor and he determined that it closed an access hatch for the main power connection under the hood. It could have been a more critical screw, but I never like to find screws left unconnected. I brought the car back and in 5 minutes it was ready to go again. About a week later, I noticed that my parking brake light wasn’t turning on when the brake was engaged. I figured that since one of the main connections is under the center console (as described in the Emergency Response Guide) that they must have had to disconnect the parking brake during the battery replacement and forgot to reconnect it. Again, it’s not a critical issue, but the lack of attention to detail disturbed me. I brought the car back to the dealership and it was another 5 minute repair.
Obviously this wasn’t the smoothest repair. It took about a month and four trips to the dealership (30 minutes each way). Fortunately, the dealership realized this and to make up for the inconvenience, they are covering a months lease payment. I hope these issues don’t keep coming up. After all, I leased a Honda, not a BMW ActiveE! If all goes well I won’t be back to the dealership for another 3,000 miles, when it’s time for my first service: a tire rotation and “safety inspection,” which is included in the cost of the lease.