First post. After a bit of advice, thanks.
I'm not sure if there was a sale in every country, but I recently bought a new Ninebot Elite+ relatively cheap in Ninebot/Segway's recent pre-Christmas sale, direct from their site.
But I have some concerns, mainly about the battery, how long it's been in storage, and it's current state because of this.
So my concern started when I first got the box delivered. On the side there was a date hand-written with permanent marker, in Asian format, i.e. YYYY-MM-DD..The date written is...June 2016. There's printed writing next to date in Chinese, and as my Chinese isn't so hot (i.e. non-existent), I don't know what it says, but I can't believe this date can be anything other than the manufacturing date – there were white boxes provided for the YYYY/MM/DD fields, so it wasn’t just graffiti'ed on. I can only assume Ninebot can't have sold as many Elite+'s as they were expecting to?
Anyway, this naturally worried me, as although opinions seem to vary on this, I've googled and some websites say the shelf life of lithium-ion batteries is only 2-3 years. And as I'm sure anyone knows, and I know from personal experience, devices powered by lithium-ion batteries tend do reduce in battery life as you use them.
Personally, if I'm buying a product that's new, I'm really expecting it to be somewhere around 6 to to 9 months after manufacture at most, maybe a little over 12 months if it's on sale, but assuming this date is correct, June 2016 is a whopping 30 months / two and half years ago. Is this acceptable for a product with a lithium-ion battery?
In the hope this date was wrong, I've tried to verify it by checking elsewhere on the product. I checked the silver label on the E+, but strangely there's no date – at least in a standard numerical format I can recognise. I think there was also a similar silver label on the battery, but I carelessly failed to take note before unwrapping and installing it – although if there'd been a date printed, I suspect I would have spotted it when installing it.
So, anyway, after some misgivings, I decided to take the plunge and assemble it and charge it.
I obeyed the instructions to the letter and fully charged the E+ and waited for the charging light to turn green before even turning the E+ on. Took around 5 hours, as expected.
And everything went well, it's worked reliably and was good fun...except how long the E+ actually ran for. Because I had concerns about the battery age, I decided to test what distance I could get before 10 bars went to zero. It came in at just under 11 kilometres to the last bar ran out and alarm sounded, which is obviously a lot less than I was expecting. Ninebot’s website states up to 30km - although I’ve heard a YouTube reviewer specify it’s more like 12 miles/20km.
For this test, for most part I’d decided to test the E+ on grass with some occasional slight mud (no puddles or water), because I was worried about trying the E+ on hard surfaces, for falling off until I got used to it. I also decided to test it going up and down a fairly steep, grassy road where I live, which is close to the 20% gradient limit specified for the E+. I figured maybe these two factors might be a plausible the reason for the poor distance performance (although obviously I was also suspecting the aged battery).
So I decided to recharge fully and go again. This time, I decided to avoid hills and just try and stay on the level – still on the grass, so I was hoping for better results, as although I know the E+ recharges when going downhill, I very much doubt it’s less taxing on the battery overall than staying on the level. This time, though, as I was a more confident rider, I’d taken off the speed limiter, occasionally getting up to about 15km/h.
The result? Instead of more distance, I got even worse again, less than 10km! So unless going faster on the E+ causes a significantly greater inefficiency/battery drain, I’m now worried that not only is the battery reduced in capacity, but also potentially rapidly degrading each charge cycle. Possible?
Something that alarmed me more, this 2nd charge cycle, was that this time, I’d decided not to go down to zero bars, but just to 1, as I figured always going down to zero would be bad the battery’s longevity (although I figure even at zero bars, they must keep 5%+ in reserve to stop the battery being damaged).
So this time I was diligent, and when I got down to one bar, I quickly noticed – literally 30 seconds earlier it was on two bars. At this point I decided to check the bar again after getting off (I noticed it sometimes has a habit of going back up when you dismount), it stayed at one bar, so decided to ride a small distance, then put the E+ back in the garage for charging. So I rode the E+ about 40 yards, maximum, then dismounted and use the powered walking mode (not sure what it’s exactly called) to get the E+ to climb a very small step into the garage. In the process of climbing this small step, the Ninebot then suddenly went from one to zero bars and the alarm goes off again! What I tried to avoid this time round by being very conservative with my usage on one bar, happened again.
So clearly the battery reading of one bar was too optimistic, this second charge cycle. The first charge cycle, one bar had lasted a fair while and I’m sure I was able to ride for good 5 minutes at least. Again, another indicator of battery degradation, perhaps? It’s a little worrying that the battery meter seems less accurate on the second charge than the first. I would have thought it would be improving accuracy with each charge cycle.
So, what I really want to do is work out what’s going on with the battery, particularly with it’s capacity, maybe a reading in kw/h, mA/h or the like? Is it possible to somehow get an accurate reading of the battery’s capacity after a full charge and compare it to what it should be? And also to check if it’s not degrading / reducing capacity rapidly each charge cycle?
Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the bluetooth connectivity and app working, yet. Can the Ninebot app give me this sort of information, or do they not reveal such raw data to owners?
Also, have you any thoughts on the E+ and it’s battery being in storage for 30 months before it was sold to me? Is it inevitable that the battery is significantly degraded after this length of time, or do E+ batteries keep better than I thought?
Also, any thoughts/advice on what my next course of action should be, if the battery is on it’s last legs, would be appreciated. Just ask Ninebot to replace the battery with a new one? Hopefully they are still making them.
Thanks in advance for any help, opinions or advice.
To help with the picture, here are a few product details:
Firmware ver: 1-4-4
P.S. Apologies if I’ve gone into too much detail and this is an overly long read.