Deadlock Drama

11 July 2022 | Rachel Harris

Deadlock Drama

When you return from a two month tour serving with the army, the last thing you want to find is that the battery on your PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is flat and that your vehicle is completely deadlocked! From the case study below, it appears that EV owners are not made aware of some important details and potential difficulties they may suffer, before they purchase a vehicle.

The story of Mr Baker

Mr Baker contacted Auto Fuel Fix (AFF) as after leaving his Mitsubishi Outlander parked at the military base for two months, he wasn’t able to gain any access to his vehicle and needed to travel back home. The vehicle was left fully charged but when he returned, the doors were deadlocked and the battery was completely flat.

He had considered smashing the glass to gain entry to his vehicle, so he could open the bonnet and charge the vehicle. He had been quoted between £300-£400 to replace the window.

Our senior technician spoke with Mr Baker on the phone and assured him that he was very confident he could gain access to the car and would then be able to charge the vehicle with our mobile fast charging equipment. Obviously, not wanting to cause physical damage to the vehicle by breaking the window, the client saw this as an excellent solution.

On arrival, the first thing the technician searched for was a 12v jump point. The 12v battery was dead and without power to this battery, the technician would not have been able to charge the propulsion battery. Using the extensive knowledge which we have amassed through our specialisation with EV’s, the technician managed to gain access to the vehicle without causing any physical damage, charged the 12v battery and was then able to provide a roadside charge of the propulsion battery, therefore allowing Mr Baker to travel home.

Issues overcome:

• The 12v battery obtains its’ charge from the propulsion battery. Power is taken from the propulsion battery, travels through the inverter and into the 12v battery.

The 12v battery however, is only charged on a minimum basis because this provides the maximum range for the propulsion battery. If the 200v propulsion battery was to charge the 12v battery for one hour every day of the week, 10% of the total range of the car would be lost.

As this vehicle was left for two months without being plugged into a charging point, the propulsion battery ran down from trying to maintain the 12v battery. When the propulsion battery ran out of charge, the 12v battery died too as it had nothing to draw its’ resource from.

• Normally on an EV there is a manual lock to open the doors. On this EV however, even this lock was electric. As the 12v battery was flat, Mr Baker wasn’t able to utilise this function.

• After some further research, we learnt that the 12v battery on a Mitsubishi Outlander charges itself every day at 2pm. It is therefore extremely important that, as an EV driver, you are aware of exactly how often your 12v battery charges itself given the direct impact upon how often you are required to plug the vehicle into a fixed charging point.

• If you add equipment to your EV, such as a dash camera and you aren’t charging your vehicle enough, your 12v battery will be at risk of dying, thus preventing you from being able to charge the propulsion battery.

It appears that there are a lot of scenario’s that owners of EV’s are not familiar with, until it is too late, thus resulting in a lot of inconvenience and wasted time. Should you ever find yourself in the same situation as Mr Baker, please get in touch as we’d be only too happy to help.