21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Plug and play

Cheltenham-based electric vehicle specialists Cleevely EV were the hosts for the recent unveiling of a new battery testing device being brought to the market by Maverick Diagnostics.
    
Austria-based battery diagnostic specialists AVILOO have joined forces with Maverick to bring their new Flash test to the UK, through which users can assess the condition of the battery on an EV in three minutes.  The tool assesses vehicle communication, battery controller, HV battery state, LV system and battery history, which enables it to produce a score between one and 100, rating the condition of the battery. The user can then provide the score and overall findings to customers via a report.
    
The company has developed the Flash test, building on the foundation offered by the more in-depth Premium test. This requires the car to be driven so that the battery can drain from 100% to 10%. A full state of health (SoH) result can be garnered from this. The sheer mass of data that AVILOO accrued testing thousands of EVs has enabled the company to get to the point where it can offer the faster snapshot provided by the Flash test. While the result is more comprehensive, the Premium test does takes several hours to perform, and for garages and other users that might need a more rapid picture of the condition of a battery, a speedier offering was required.
    
The Flash test comes in two parts; The Aviloo box hardware that collects the data, and the AVILOO platform, which receives it and provides the result. There is also the AVILOO app. These are the key components enabling users to perform the Flash test.
    
AVILOO Chief Technical Officer Nikolaus Mayerhoffer demonstrated live how the test is performed. To use the Flash test, the user connects the AVILOO box to the vehicle via the OBD port. Then, a flashing yellow LED light says the test is starting. The user then starts the vehicle. The LED turns green when the test is complete. The report is then created and sent to the e-mail address synced to the device.

Solution
At present, AVILOO can test around 80% of current EV and plug-in hybrid models. Explaining the company’s background, AVILOO MD Dr Marcus Berger commented: “We are based in Austria. The company was founded by my brother and our Chief Technical Officer Nikolaus Mayerhoffer. The aim was to do battery software. We have 30 employees and we believe we are market leaders on battery analytics especially with EVs. Our office is in a KIA showroom.  We can drive cars in. It us a typical start-up. The AVILOO flash test is a quick test. in three minutes, you get an assessment. The Premium test has led to the flash test.”
    
According to Marcus, the issue that the Flash test offers a solution to is very easy to grasp: “The key problem is battery life. It is familiar to anyone who has a phone. We started with the Flash test in late 2021. We are now in the UK with Maverick Diagnostics. All of our activities are being managed through Maverick.”

Solution
According to AVILOO’s Nikolaus Mayerhofer, regular battery testing is very important: “Traction batteries are chemical energy storage devices that are subject to a natural ageing process due to load and lose their storage capacity over time. Likewise, usage behaviour, such as permanent driving in the upper power range or frequent charging with high charging powers, can lead to faster battery ageing.”
    
He continued: The AVILOO Premium test was the origination of our company. This was the original idea; If you buy a used EV, you need to know the battery’s state of health. If it is not good or you can’t get the range you have not spent the money properly. If you want to swap the battery, it could cost several thousand pounds.
    
“We took this product to the market, but dealers said ‘we cannot drive the car down to 10% to test it. We need something faster’. So, we developed the Flash test. You just need to plug it in for three minutes” Because it is a rapid test, a different way of gauging the information was needed:  “Far less data is being collected, which is obvious, so you can’t do a full state of health, which is why we developed the AVILOO score, which gives you a decent idea of the battery.”
    
On how this is made possible, Nikolaus said: “Because we have all the data from the Premium test, we can take this data and use it, interlinked with the flash test. This is why it is so difficult for the competition to deliver something similar. We have collected data for thousands of different cars.” On what makes it so useful, he noted: “SoH varies at 100,000 kilometres from 98% to 68%. This is why we believe there is a huge need for a battery test. Many people do not understand this. They think, as with combustion engine vehicles, you can assess a car on age and mileage. With EVs you need to consider how it was charged.”
    
On how the different offerings are being taken up, Nikolaus said: “The Premium test is very much a consumer product. Although we have been offering it to car dealers, typically consumers are the ones buying it.” On the wider offering, taking in the Cloud platform, Nikolaus said: “Our cloud platform can be offered to workshops to find the root cause of the battery problem.” This shows where a car is being driven, and how the battery is charging or discharging, and also shows the voltage spread from the highest to the lowest.”
    
This has led to some surprising real-world results, as Nikolaus explained: “One customer came to us, with a range issue – the car had half the range it should have. He had taken his Nissan Leaf to two dealers but they could not help him. His Leaf displayed a transference state of health, but it was not the truth. We proved Nissan was completely off. Also, when he was accelerating without eco mode for 30 seconds the car would stop suddenly. To prove this is super-complicated because it takes hours to test. In this case he put the Flash test box inside the car. We then told the customer to provoke the problem. Eventually climbing a hill, we had the result. The cell voltage had dropped to 1.4V. We proved there was major damage in the battery. We could replicate the event, and we proved there was no fault code for this either. We also showed there was a safety risk and risk of fire. After six months, the driver got a replacement battery from Nissan.”

Accurate and reliable
The system is already available in Austria, Germany and across Scandinavia, and now the UK. On the team-up with AVILOO, Andy Brooke, Managing Director at Maverick Diagnostics, added: “Our partnership with AVILOO represents a game-changing opportunity for workshop owners and technicians. This is the first test of its kind. Customers can now see, in the simplest form, what condition their EV or plug-in hybrid’s battery is in. The technician can then use this accurate and reliable information to make a reliable assessment and, potentially, justify a battery replacement.”
    
Users lease the AVILOO box for the Flash test, and pricing is on a subscription model, with a range of prices based in usage. The Premium Test is available for £99.
    
For more information, visit: www.batterydiagnostics.co.uk