Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV catches fire

Recently I found out that the Outlander PHEV is apparently not made to use offroad. Not even on grass.

The problem began when I found myself on a grassy and very wet spot. So in order not to get stuck I pressed the “Twin motor 4WD Lock” button and turn off the Traction control. And could without a problem drive out of it, creating a bit of mud flying. I though, what a great car, I’m never gonna get stuck again.

Then the burning smell came. Faint at first, but after a while it smelled as if someone was right beside the car burning leaves and grass. So I stopped and got out of the car. And noticed that there was smoke coming from the other side of the car. I went round and this is what I saw.

There was something burning under the car. So right after this I got into the car and remembered that I had passed a big pool of water. As it was pouring down outside and everything was soaking wet. I managed to put the fire out.

But the burning smell returned, as there was some mud and grass stuck on the exhaust, right behind the right wheel.


I was of course curious of why this could happen. There seems to be a design fault with the fitting of the battery pack. The battery is placed in the middle, and the exhaust takes quite a steep turn very early and is placed very close to the right wheel arch. To adress the problem of mud or other things hitting the exhaust the have fitted a 5 cm tall piece of rubber here. Obviously this does not work very well.

When I asked Mitsubishi if this was normal, and if they could not fix this by fitting better mudguards, they replied “It is normal that mud gets on the exhaust and getting a bit warm, this car is not meant to be driving on that kind of ground.”

So the Outlander PHEV 4wd Suv is not meant to be Off-road. Or even on grass or mud, as it could risk catching fire..

This upset me a bit as the dealer billed me about 100 € for this information.

Now the second problem and the reason I am writing this post. About 2 weeks ago the heat just disappeared in the car. This was annoying at first but as it is getting colder here in Sweden it became more than an annoyance. I went to a local Mitsubishi dealer and after an examination it appeared that the electric water pump had died. This was strange as the car was 2 months old.

So they would order the new parts and fix the car the next week, this thursday. Today they called telling me that the part has been replaced by a new article number, and that part is not in stock and won’t be available in a couple of weeks.

My questions are, what am I going to do with a new car that I can’t use. And why has the part been replaced  by a newer one. Was there something wrong with the old one, and why was this new part not fitted to the car before selling it to me?

I have asked Mitsubishi the same questions and are waiting for their reply.

Out with the old…

In with the new.

So whats new? I have waited for a new motor for a couple of weeks now. I ordered a custom built 12″ scooter motor that was a bit wider, and a bit more powerful than the old one. And it was not built by the same monkeys that thought bamboo was a great material to put in a motor.
So the new motor is a bit more powerful by how much? The old motor with bamboo in it was rated at 3000 Watt. But it got hot when running close to that power for long periods. The new motor is rated at 5000 Watt. But It can run at close to double that power for shorter periods without problems.

tires

As you can see I now have winter tires on. As I plan to finish it during torque armswinter. These tires also have the option to put on studs if needed.

The saddle is mounted with a bit of welding. New shockabsorbers at the back.

The rear tire was a bit wider than the old one, so I had to modify the mount a bit. Both by with and also by strenght. As I am expecting the new motor will produce a bit more torque than the old one (230Nm peak).

Next step is to acctually fit the battery under the saddle.

Electric Scooter Build – Battery and Rubber

New rubber is always nice. Got my new tires finally. Since I only have 10″ wheels I wanted to get them as high and wide as possible. The old tires were 3,5 inches, which is about 90/90 in millimeters.

The new rubber is 130/90 for the rear wheel and 120/90 for the front wheel.

It’s quite a large difference. I guess the acceleration will be affected in a negative way. But top speed will be greater.

IMG_4985

There is a solution to fix the acceleration though, more Power!!

 

 

Speaking of power, the battery modules are finished.

IMG_4987Now I have two modules with 32 volts and one 12 volt module.

Its time to figure out how to connect it and fit it in the frame. And build a custom battery box.

For the box I have already bought thin aluminum sheets. That I have to put together somehow. And thick rubber sheets for insulation. I think I have to wait for the plastic parts, and saddle, before I decide on the shape of the box.

The question is also how I am going to manage all that power? A total of 4400 Watt. Should I bottom balance them, use a BMS (battery management system) for charging only, or just monitor them with the BVM (battery voltage monitor).

The frame is also fully painted and dried, so its time for assembly. More late nights..

Electric Scooter – Battery build

I have learned a lot in the last few days. Mostly how NOT to build a battery pack.

These are the tools you should not use to build a battery.

toolsA hole-punch for paper is not a good idea. It worked for one of the tabs, but if I wanted to punch holes in more than one at a time, and get them aligned, it was not good. It’s for paper..

Same goes for the leather hole-punch.

Drilling works pretty good, but the holes get all messed up, and the risk for puncture and other damages is high. And the metal filings from drilling is sharp, and could get into where it should not be.

Using a riveting gun and rivets to connect the tabs works OK, but if I want to disconnect it I have to drill the rivet out. Risking damages to the battery.

So what do work?DSC_0171

This is my new best friend.
It’s a hole-punch for metal work. With adjustable hole depth. With this I can punch right trough all 4 tabs at once. And it leaves a perfectly round beautifully edged 5mm hole.

Perfect for a M5 bolt, washers and a lock nut. Also adding a balancing wire for the BMS and Battery voltage meters.IMG_4980

This is my first 10S2P battery, 32 Volts and 60Ah. I have to build one more like this and one 4S2P cell. Then I have to build a custom battery box. Maybe then I can use my riveting gun..

Electric Scooter Build – Batteries

Time for a battery post.
I though long and hard on what type of battery I should use for this setup. In the first version of my electric moped I used 18650 li-ion cells. I even bought a battery spot-welder.

At first I used 80 Samsung 26F 18650 cells in a 20S4P configuration. Later I added another row, total 100 cells. This was only to extend the range enough so I wouldn’t have to push it the last 800 meters if I forgot to charge at work.

 

 

I didn’t chose li-ion cells this time. As they can be somewhat unstable, and I want to pull a lot of current from them. Just image google li-ion fire and you’ll understand. I don’t want a possible fireworks show between my legs.

So I bought 48 of these.
30Ah LiFePo4 Prismatic cells. They are rated at 3C continuous output and 9C peak. And as I will use them in a 24S2P configuration, I can pull 180 Amps continuous and 540 Amps peak.

My controller that I will start with is rated at 100Amps continuous, but I probably want to upgrade later. The motor is only a 48v 3000w hub motor, time will tell if I have to oil cool this one too.

I will use a BMS, but only for charging and cell balancing. Because it is way to expensive to buy a BMS that has over 300 Amps throughput. But I still want monitoring on each cell, so I will use 3 of these.

They will monitor each cell and if one cell drops to low it has an alarm function. I will also install a 74V battery indicator, that will show the state of the charge.

The only question now is, how will I fit these into the frame.

 

Electric Scooter Build – Part two – stripping it down

The moped is in my garage, now its time to strip it down and fix the rust.

DSC_0158
It looks naked without the wires, well it didn´t have much clothes to begin with.
As I have to remove all rust, it has to be completely stripped. One thing I have learned over the years is to store and label all parts as you remove them. So all parts was put into separate bags and all wires was labeled as they where removed.

Spareparts
Next steps was to sand and brush all the lose rust away, and paint it with rust eater.
After that was done and had dried for 24 hours, it was time to start painting.
I went with Hammerite Metal Paint on a spray can. As I noticed later, using a spray can with a silicone based paint, is not a good idea in a small room without ventilation. It sticks to everything and everything is sticky. And it smells paint in the entire house.
And I also noticed that I had paint everywhere, including my nostrils.

But the result was pretty ok.IMG_4954I only painted the subframe, and stands with spray. Next step is to paint the rest of the frame, with a paintbrush.

Electric Scooter Build – The Search


This blog will be about various Electric Vehicle builds, and other Battery and electric related stuff.

After much searching I finally got hold of a frame of an electric moped (Scooter). That was also registered as an electric EU moped class 1. (45 km/h).

I found a company that sells electric mopeds (scooters)


http://www.gobyel.se. I contacted them and asked if they had any used, broken or frame laying around. Fortunately they had.
It appears that the owner of the company bought this moped as a first test to learn on. It was in traffic for a while down in Gothenburg.
But as this is a Chinese build, they sometimes forget to build it for harsh environments.
Like the salty Sea-air on the West Coast.

 

Electric moped first view

 

Despite the first picture I got on the moped, and friends advising me against taking on such a huge project, I still bought it.

What I got was the following:

A rust-eaten chrome peeling, blackish frame. Without any plastic, except for the front wheel cover. With brakes and some cables.

DSC_0145
I half dead 48V battery.
A 10″ 3000 Watt 48V hub motor with tire.
A 48V Li-Po charger.

As soon as I got it, the first thing I did was examine the state of the battery.
It was a 48V 60Ah Li-Po/Li-Ion pouches of unknown quality. 13 groups of 8 cells each á 7400 mAh.
1 group was completely dead and leaking. 2 group had some cells that was leaking and dead. The rest looked OK.

I cut open the battery package and rewired and soldered 8 of the groups to a 4S2P battery, 14.4V 120Ah battery to use with my solar panels. It seems to charge and hold its charge good enough to power my garden lights. Later I will use it to charge my Scooter through a 72v MPPS.

 

IMG_4951 IMG_4681
Next step is to strip the frame completely, fix the rust and paint it.