Smart Charging

Okay so, recently I came across a friend’s Ather Health Certificate and i couldn’t help but think about the battery health of his scooter

My scooter is about the same age with just about to hit 10k Km and I asked around to see what people thought about the 5% degradation and everyone seemed fine with it. But idk why but I couldn’t look past and I realized at this pace I’ll end up with 80% health or lesser in just under 5 years and that’s not what visioned for my 450. I know a lot of people would think 20% degradation in 5yrs is fine but bare with me.

On asking this owner I understood that he almost always charged to 100% overnight and maintained a 30/50 to 100% charge cycle. Which is what majority of users follow too. I didn’t want this myself but for the past 10k Km I’ve used the same 50-100% charge cycle. With overnight charging, which Ather recommends. I understand the logic behind recommending to charge overnight to make the ownership of an EV hassle free but the physics of the matter is that charging over night to 100% isn’t really good for our batteries. So I decided to find a way to start maintaining charge cycles farther away from 100. I purchased a smart plug. A 15A Wi-Fi enabled plug from Wipro.

At first I started with a scheduled charge of about 1hr and 10-20 mins, because my daily usage is between 20 and 30Km I usually end my day at 45-50% and the 1hr + of charge usually gets it up to 85-90% and right when it reaches 90% is when I start to use it and drain it down to about 65-70% reach my college and be back home with 45-59% charge left and it spends the rest of the day - about 14 hours at 50% state of charge. Omitting a few short runs. Which is the best SOC to stay at while in idle.

I used this method for a month and what I noticed was, I used to keep playing around with the time at which the charging starts so has to reach 85-90% before I need to unplug and use my scooter. This was because there were many days I ended up using my scooter for 30+ km and the battery dropped to 35-40% and the old schedule meant I woke up to a 75% battery and had to deal with the anxiety. So I needed a way to make sure I wake up to a certain set SOC everyday and without the fear of waking up to a half charged battery. The simple fix would have been, if Ather allowed us to set an upper limit while charging. But I found another way.

Our scooters(450) charge up to 84% at about 1kW pulling just under 5A of current

And once it hits 84% the power drops to about 850w pulling just under 4A of current.

The smart plug I have has basic automated functions which are based on factors like current voltage power. So I set up an automated function to cut off charging when the Amps drop to below 4A.

And it worked perfectly. Every charge, the battery would stop at exactly 84%. I usually need closer to 90% to start with so I made the function with a countdown timer instead of switching off directly. And after a few tries I’ve found the right time from hitting 84% that it takes to hit 90%.

There’s a small issue with this method too, which I dealt with with a simple change in the time that my automated program is effective. Because when the scooter begins to charge. The current slowly ramps up to 5A so for that time that it’s under 4A the charging wants to cut off, for which I had to set it in a way that the program is not running when the charging begins.

Here’s a few logs of the cut off working

So I’ve basically found a very elaborate way of setting a fixed charging limit on my scooter. Which probably could be done through an OTA 🤷 But just like my previous post based on something Ather COULD have done to save me the effort.

27 Likes

Excellent observation Suraj. I will try this out for a few weeks and see how it works out for me.

1 Like

Hi Suraj, I recently purchased Series 1, and I’ve been extensively driving it around the Pune City and out of the city too😜

I too had the same dilemma about why Ather won’t provide instantaneous efficiency figures instead of red halo. Because it’s too annoying and dangerous to stare at red halo so as to maintain the efficiency figures right.

I was searching for the keywords in the forum for this kind of topic, maybe I did not search the right keywords. It would be great if Ather provides instantaneous efficiency figures on dash just like we get in fuel cars these days.

https://forum.atherenergy.com/t/app-update-wants-feature-requests/1125/198?u=rohit.gandhi688

3 Likes

I hope Ather looks into it as soon as possible :crossed_fingers:t2:

1 Like

This looks to be a pretty reliable way to do automate.

What I do is: when turning on the smart plug, I know approximate time to reach 80%. So I set an alarm and link it to Google home routine which will turn off the smart plug.

1 Like

I like that IF CONDITION !!! Good to know information Bro !!!

1 Like

Even Nexon has a nice energy flow graph. Not even asking for that. Just the efficiency seen next to the trip meter made available when on the move would help :pensive:

7 Likes

Nice discussion. I wonder why Ather is not pushing an update which allows users to set a charge limit. A SoC of 70-80% is perfect for my daily need. And when I want to go out for long ride, I can set it to 100% the night before. Come on Ather, this a no brainer. Tesla has this. Please bring this in. This will be soooooo convenient and anxiety free…

7 Likes

I am really confused here, I usually read about smartphone batteries that, you have to put your phone on charge at 20% and try to remove at 80%, but here I am observing that everyone is suggesting to charge vehicle at 50% till 85-90%. Wouldn’t that waste extra charging cycle?

So what is optimal charge cycle? 20%-85% or 50%-85%?

2 Likes

Okay so the basics of it is that Li-ion batteries love to stay at 50% SOC. This is when the electrons are evenly spread across and there’s the least amount of stress on the battery. The degradation depends on how long the battery spends at a % away from 50% along with other factors.

What most people do is a 30/40-100% charging cycle. Which is realy bad for the battery. I was suggesting 50-85% because then you don’t end up charging to 100% and you stay above 50% so that you can curb your range anxiety. Idealy youre better off charging from 35-65% if you need only 30% charge. But you’ll end the day at 35% and you might need to use a bit more on somedays and you might not have even juice in your battery. So chargring to 85% in the morning and using it in the day and draining it to 50% and leaving it overnight at 50% with a charge to 85% in the morning is the best way in my opinion. It’s nearly the best. The best would still bea 40-70% cycle with a 15% charge after your done with the day and the rest charging at the time just before using. Take a look at this article. It will help you understand a bit better https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/why_mobile_phone_batteries_do_not_last_as_long_as_an_ev_battery

2 Likes

This logic could and absolutely should be built into the BMS, with charge profiles made selectable.

8 Likes

Can I know the smart plug brand and model?

1 Like

WIPRO smart plug 16A

6 Likes

Thank you @Suraj_madhu

Thanks for your elaborate notes on charging. My usage pattern would be hardly 3500 kms per year. Very less usage within city. I want to use the scooter for at least 9 to 10 years. Is it recommended to get the 450X? I am worried as the warranty is only 3 years and I cannot afford to spend on a new battery during this 10 years. Would like to know your thoughts on this and is it wise to stick to Electric or Petrol for my use case.

The answer is not a simple yes or no. The truth of the matter is, in 10 yrs we really don’t know the battery will be. Neither does ather. Or at least they say so. I’m sure ather has some data on Km aging or aging based on cycles of charge and discharge. But I don’t think they’ll have enough data on ageing of the battery with time. Especially so in your case when you won’t be clocking a lot of Km in the long run. The ODO dependent Battery degradation will not be so high and time dependant degradation will affect you the most. Of all the EVs on fhe market. I truly trust the battery in ather the most. It’s had its issues but all been more or less resolved. If you really want to use it for 10 yrs. It’s possible since your usage won’t be more than 25-30Km ( you porbably need it for 10Km a day) at the end of 10 yrs you’ll definitely still have enough range to get your through the day, provided you follow a few things.

So as you can see that a fellow owners ather battery had degraded to 95% after 11k Km. He had not done anything to slow the battery degradation. Absolutely nothing. He used to plug in overnight charging almost every day. So his charging was 70-100 , 60-100, 50-100. And the battery would sit at 100% overnight and stay at w pretty high SOC throughout the day. Those are pretty bad conditions to be In, if youre a lithium ion battery.

If you don’t mind the slight hassle of monitoring charge cycles. Trying to keep the battery at 55% SOC for most of the time it’s idle. The. I truly believe that it can significantly improve your chances of being able to use this scooter for 10 yrs. This is what I think. But I sadly don’t have any proof to back this up. I’ve made a consistent effort of preserving my battery for the past 5k Km of the10k Km I’ve had my scooter. I’ll be doing a degradation test on my scooter soon and I’ll post here about my battery health presently. If it’s still >97% I’ll take that as a sign that my methods of charging have actually affected the degradation. I know of people who have used lead acid batteries for 4-5 years. These should comfortably last you 10 yrs.

About 3 yrs warranty. Tbh a lot of us are afraid too. Especially early owners since we know our batteries have an inherent defect in them and yet ather won’t do anything about it. But even then I think the battery will last long. They use good quality cells.

Also for your usage of 10-15Km a day. Do you really need ather 450X :sweat_smile:

DEFINTELY electric!!! Especially so in your case since your usage is low,

even after 10 yrs u wont really have to replace the battery since even the degraded battery will have enough range to offer for your daily usage. And not to mention the petrol prices in 10 yrs time :face_with_monocle::laughing: And after 10 yrs if you were to replace the battery. God knows what technology will be available then. Maybe a battery change could result in a range of 200+ Km in your ather ,🤷 If you really like athers design and u want warp mode, and the tech that’s gone into it, I’d recommend you get the 450X. 1.6 lakhs for a scooter for 10 yrs is worth it. Especially since it’s an ather. Go ahead man. If you question the price of the scooter. don’t jump to petrol please. , there are other EVs too.

Your choice should be ather or other EV. Not petrol.

2 Likes

Thanks brother. You have summed all my queries so beautifully. It was like you were reading out of my thoughts. I feel more comfortable making the switch to Electric after reading your posts.

Yes, my usage will be hardly 5 to 10 kms a day and slightly higher on weekends with a zero usage period of max 1 month.

On a side note, do we have to get our neighbor or someone to switch on the scooter and ride it once a week to keep the battery happy or better to leave it on shutdown mode for the entire month or fortnight? As per the studies you mentioned, I believe we leave it at around 50% before shutting down and then charge it back to 80% or so after the one month gap. And yeah, this shutdown will surely effect battery health.

And I never even thought about the state of petrol after 10 years as you rightly said. So a long term investment should remain electric or hybrid. Cant imagine what the prices of fuel will be.

Thanks again for your insights.

2 Likes

A month isn’t too long. A lot of us left our scooters for 4-5 months during lockdown. Not an issue. I’m not ane xpert on tyres but there’s something about the tyres getting deformed if the scooter is not moved. But regards to the battery

If you’re going to not use it for a month. I think it’s better if you shut down at 65-70% charge so when you’re back it could be 45-50%. I’m not sure of these numbers. But don’t shut down at 50% for a month. Shut down at a bit higher SOC. There’s not problem in doing so.

What’s this? :joy: What do you have in mind? Do share.

Not a lot tbh. Of you shut down at 65% and it slowly drains to 45% and then you switch it back on. It really shouldnt affect your battery at all man.

Also, athers battery is best at 55% and not 50% cuz of the buffer.

Glad I could help you swithching to electric.

Thanks for your insights as always.

By hybrid I meant an electric plus another alternate fuel source in the future. Someone might come up with an LPG bike as well. Who knows what the future holds. :slight_smile:

They develop flat spots. One way to easily mitigate this is to slightly overinflated the tires. That, or lift the vehicle so the tires are completely off the ground.