Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
30KW Tekna (2017)
Joined
·
1,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this has been asked before, but I tried to search but couldn't find much

Regarding my 4 year old Leaf 30, is there a need in an EV to have the zircon regassed?

Seems to be working, but I do feel it could blow a bit colder than it does. I seem to remember something about EV's using a different gas that can gradually leak out, which is different to my held belief that you should never have to recharge an ICE zircon unit as its sealed for life?

Any help would be appreciated!

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
287 Posts
Yes, it will need re-gassing at some point. EVs tend to hold their refrigerant longer than ICE cars, probably because of the better sealing that’s possible on an electric compressor.

I expect the Leaf 30 uses the more expensive refrigerant that became a legal requirement for new cars from 2017 onwards. The gas, called HFO-1234yf, produces 98% fewer climate-damaging pollutants than its predecessor, R134a. After years of paying £30-40 for a re-gas, I’ve yet to find anyone that offers the new gas for less than £100; and many places refuse to do EVs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
Seems to be working, but I do feel it could blow a bit colder than it does.
When did you last test it?

In the cold weather we have now you won't really be able to judge how well the A/C is working. It won't "feel" very cold compared to the cool ambient conditions we have right now vs a hot >20C day with sunshine on your skin where there is more of an obvious difference between the A/C air vent temperature and ambient conditions.

Also the algorithms in the climate control won't let the A/C run full blast in these current cool conditions even if you try to force it. In fact if I turn mine down to 16C and leave it in Auto it won't even engage the A/C at all as it doesn't believe the conditions (overcast 10C) are hot enough to warrant a switch to A/C mode. If I manually enable A/C with it set to 16C it does put out cold air but not overly cold air - and I see from Leafspy that the heat pump is only toggling between 0 and 500 watts so averaging about 250 watts.

Contrast this to the middle of summer with a hot 22C day where the heat pump would be running continuously drawing up to 1kW. One of the inputs to the climate control is a sunlight sensor - this detects the "heat load" of having the car in direct sunlight, and this biases the climate control a lot more towards running the A/C, and without that sunlight sensor detecting strong sunlight it is less inclined to use A/C especially in cold ambient conditions.

I remember a trip to the beach last Autumn where it was only around 17C and was intermittently sunny. The climate control was set to about 20C on Auto. When it was overcast it would switch to heating mode and put out a small amount of heat, however within about a minute of the direct sun coming out it would switch to A/C mode and enable the face vents to cool us down - a minute is too short a time for the cabin to heat up appreciably but the sunlight sensor would bias the system towards cooling the car pre-emptively because it knew that the sun would quickly warm the cabin. When the sky went overcast again within a couple of minutes it went back to heating mode with very slight heat output and closed the face vents again.

This went back and forth several times during the journey as the sun came and went so the sunlight sensor plays a big role in the activation of the A/C at least in Auto mode.

In short, I wouldn't worry - in colder predominately overcast conditions the climate control algorithms won't let you run the A/C at max even if you try to force it, and even if it did it won't "feel" as cold to you as ambient conditions are closer to the temperature coming out the vents. Wait for summer and see how it goes then.

Keep in mind that with a heat pump system the heat pump is working year round so if there was a problem with low gas you would notice a problem with heating in winter as well.

Aircon / Heat pump systems don't need topping up all the time - that's a bit of a myth. They should go for many, many years without losing enough pressure to cause any significant loss in performance. Unless they spring a leak you should get at least 10 years before there is any need for re-gassing, I would consider a need to re-gas a 4 year old car a leak not normal expected gradual loss of gas.

As mentioned by @DougM EV compressors are fully sealed without an input shaft (the motor is inside the pressure vessel) and therefore don't need an input shaft seal - this is a significant source of leakage on ICE cars when they get older so that is one major source of leaks that doesn't apply to EV's.

So for that reasons EV's should lose gas at a slower rate, albeit you might have to temper that with the fact that a heat pump EV is running the compressor year round for both cooling and heating so it will be doing more hours work per year.
 

·
Registered
30KW Tekna (2017)
Joined
·
1,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very good points! Heating is very hot when on full, and yes when on manual on full this time of year does not seem overly cold.

I had assumed like my old car you could make it cold by forcing the max fan but I see now it’s not so
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
Very good points! Heating is very hot when on full, and yes when on manual on full this time of year does not seem overly cold.

I had assumed like my old car you could make it cold by forcing the max fan but I see now it’s not so
Judging by the power consumption of the Heat pump reported by Leaf spy in current weather vs what I measured last summer, no you can't force it to run at maximum if it doesn't think the conditions warrant it.

This contrasts with my old ICE where turning on the A/C button means "A/C on full blast please" no matter the time of year or what you set the temperature to. :) (If you turned A/C on on that car and then turned the temperature up it just ran the A/C at full blast and heater at full blast as well...)

The average heat pump power consumption of 250 watts with it set to 16C and manually on A/C in current weather is only 1/4 of the average 1kW I saw in summer with it set to Auto and turned down to 18C or so on a hot day. And on that hot day the cooling was very adequate and perhaps better than my ICE.

I remember making a similar observation about the A/C in my Peugeot Ion when I first bought it - I bought it in early March (2017) when it was quite cold and while the A/C did seem to cool the air it didn't feel that cold. But by the time summer arrived I found that it did actually cool very well and felt very cold on a hot day.
 

·
Registered
30KW Tekna (2017)
Joined
·
1,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i Did mess with the hidden partial recirculate setting but I’m never sure if it’s on or off or if it resets each time you start the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
363 Posts
I'm bloody hoping that I don't need to regas any time soon as at my yearly service a couple of weeks ago I was advised that I should consider a regas as the car is 4 years old and that will be a princely £150 should you decide to go ahead with that Sir!

Sir decided not to bother.

The cooling and heating has been fine this last year so that's good enough for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
We experienced problems with the aircon on our 2014 LEAF for over a year and it stopped working three times.

It was re-gassed in April 2019 (£75) by a local aircon company. I was quoted £149 to have the aircon serviced by a Nissan dealer. But they quoted for the wrong refrigerant, R1234YF. After the re-gas the aircon worked fine.

In the summer though the aircon got really noisy and in August 2019 a Nissan dealer stated that the compressor had an internal bearing failure and to replace it would cost £2,204.42. If I remember correctly the dealer said that the handbook mentions servicing the aircon every two years.

The aircon then stopped working the following year and in June 2020 it was re-gassed (£130.21). I used an independant aircon specialist, AVACS based in Alton, Hampshire. I think they added a dye to help trace any leaks. After the re-gas the aircon worked fine and it was no longer noisy.

Then in October 2020 the aircon stopped working. AVACS found a leak in the condensor and replaced it (£779.37). Their advice was to have the aircon serviced every two years and to keep the aircon on as much as possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
i Did mess with the hidden partial recirculate setting but I’m never sure if it’s on or off or if it resets each time you start the car.
From what I've read in the climate control section of the service manual, (which is massive - something like 50+ pages of diagrams and functional description that I've only skimmed through) the partial recirculate mode does actually engage automatically in the auto mode in the right conditions, although I don't recall off hand what those conditions are.

However if you manually use the recirculate button you can force that mode to be active in situations where auto wouldn't normally use it.

Maybe I'm just lazy, but I find Auto does a pretty good job at doing the right thing >90% of the time and I rarely find a need to override it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
We experienced problems with the aircon on our 2014 LEAF for over a year and it stopped working three times.

It was re-gassed in April 2019 (£75) by a local aircon company. I was quoted £149 to have the aircon serviced by a Nissan dealer. But they quoted for the wrong refrigerant, R1234YF. After the re-gas the aircon worked fine.

In the summer though the aircon got really noisy and in August 2019 a Nissan dealer stated that the compressor had an internal bearing failure and to replace it would cost £2,204.42. If I remember correctly the dealer said that the handbook mentions servicing the aircon every two years.

The aircon then stopped working the following year and in June 2020 it was re-gassed (£130.21). I used an independant aircon specialist, AVACS based in Alton, Hampshire. I think they added a dye to help trace any leaks. After the re-gas the aircon worked fine and it was no longer noisy.

Then in October 2020 the aircon stopped working. AVACS found a leak in the condensor and replaced it (£779.37). Their advice was to have the aircon serviced every two years and to keep the aircon on as much as possible.
Sounds like you've been pretty unlucky and to be honest it seems a little bit like some of the people working on your car have not been doing the job properly. (getting the refrigerant wrong or using a machine that is contaminated with the oil/gas mixture for an ICE car is deadly for the compressor in an EV)

As for the advice to have the aircon "serviced" every two years when it is working normally, I'd love to know what this "service" would entail. The only things they could really do is check the system pressure, (which I'd call an inspection, not a service - and on modern cars this can be done with a diagnostic tool as the ECU measures the pressure) or re-gas the system - which isn't necessary unless it has leaked, in which case there is a leak that needs finding and fixing first (as in the case with your leaky condensor) but in that situation you would usually have already noticed the system isn't working properly.

Regular scheduled "servicing" of the A/C system is not the norm in the ICE world, and EV A/C should leak less due to having no shaft seal on the compressor. At most they might check the pressure during a 2 yearly service along with other info on the diagnostic tool and only take action if there is low pressure indicating there is a leak.

Keeping the aircon on as much as possible is also a little redundant as that is mainly about keeping the shaft seal on the compressor lubricated so that it doesn't harden and start leaking, but this doesn't apply to an EV compressor as it doesn't have an exterior shaft seal to leak in the first place.

Also if the EV has a heat pump the compressor is working year round anyway - in summer it's providing cooling, in winter it's providing heating, it makes no odds to the heat pump which mode the system is in as the valves in the system reconfigure the piping around it to change modes but the compressor itself still has the same work to do.

This is in contrast to an ICE car where the compressor may not get used at all in winter or only for the occasional dehumidifying operation in that rainy 5-10C range where you might need it.

If the service schedule says "check the aircon pressure" and that is easily done during the regular service then fine, but I wouldn't be going out of my way to take the car specifically to have the A/C "serviced" when it is working fine, I would just keep an eye on the system and act only if it stops working or starts to become noticeably less efficient and has difficulty getting adequately cold or hot, or the compressor starts getting noisy. (Which is often a sign the gas pressure is low)

Compressors and A/C systems can last a lot longer than you might think. I finally had to replace the compressor in my ICE car - at 22 years old... :)

The previous (and only) owner was a stickler for keeping receipts for all work done and there was no record of the compressor being replaced or system being re-gassed before I bought the car when it was 16. The A/C was still working fine when I bought it however in the last couple of years the compressor did start to get noisy and it cooled less effectively, I kept meaning to take it in to be re-gassed but it finally went bang (snapped the shaft internally) and died.

A new compressor and re-gas and it is working fine and is not losing any pressure in the year since then so the leak was presumably in the compressor itself, (they couldn't find any leaks in the rest of the system) probably the shaft seal due to worn bearings allowing the shaft to wobble too much and damage the seal. In other words it wore out with age and the bearings were probably the root cause of the eventual failure.

This sort of lifespan is what makes me very sceptical of "must re-gas every 4 years" etc... a system without leaks should go a very long time without problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Sounds like you've been pretty unlucky and to be honest it seems a little bit like some of the people working on your car have not been doing the job properly. (getting the refrigerant wrong or using a machine that is contaminated with the oil/gas mixture for an ICE car is deadly for the compressor in an EV)
The Nissan dealer quoted for the wrong gas so I decided to use an aircon specialist.

A new compressor and re-gas and it is working fine and is not losing any pressure in the year since then so the leak was presumably in the compressor itself, (they couldn't find any leaks in the rest of the system) probably the shaft seal due to worn bearings allowing the shaft to wobble too much and damage the seal. In other words it wore out with age and the bearings were probably the root cause of the eventual failure.
The Nissan dealer only quoted for this work. As the aircon was still working, just noisy, we decided not to have the compressor replaced for £2,204.42. The car still has the original compressor with the "internal bearing failure". Only the condenser was replaced in October 2020.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top