Are the bells and whistles worth it?

A little over two years ago we bought a beautiful 2019 Qx80. It is not the limited edition but has most of the new technology including lane assist, heating steering wheel, seats etc…This is an $80K car that has left us stranded 3 times in the last year. Each time the battery was dead. The second time, Infinity even admitted there was an issue and issued a recall. We had the firmware update to address the recall in April and less than 6 months later I was stranded for the third time with another dead battery. Can you help? Is it possible all of these added features are pulling electricity from our battery? Infinity claims they continue to work on the problem and when they monitor the car with their diagnostic tools, nothing is wrong. Do you have suggestions? Is there anyway to get a response directly from Infinity? The dealer says they see 2019 QX80’s with dead batteries on a pretty regular basis. There has to be something wrong but no one seems to be able to or willing to fix it.

I’m not familiar with the specific vehicle, but I presume it is an ICE car and not an EV (Google seems to confirm this.) Almost every feature in a vehicle uses power, but most of them are only supposed to use it while the vehicle itself is in use. The only features I can think of that may be pulling from your battery are an alarm system, the entertainment system and the remote entry system. The battery should be recharged by driving the vehicle (via the alternator) but this requires the vehicle to be running/driven. Is this vehicle driven a lot or infrequently. If it’s infrequently driven, that will impact the battery, as it will not have an opportunity to recharge while the alarm and other systems will be constantly draining it.

I’d be interested to hear what @samabuelsamid has to say, thou.

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Also, it needs to be driven for longer distances. Short stop-start journies will also flatten the battery quickly. The starter motor need a lot of power. If the vehicle is running with AC, lights, radio etc. it will be draining the battery or the alternator will be breaking even for the first 10 - 15 minutes of a journey, only after that will it start recharging the battery to cover what was lost whilst it was parked up and what the starter motor needed.

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This is potentially the issue. The majority of our trips in this car are about 15 minutes. So, how do we resolve this issue? Is there a car we can buy that won’t have this problem or do we need to plan longer trips? If we ran the car for an hour Or two once a week would that be enough to address the issue?

This has always been a problem with cars, going back to my childhood (70s). My mother always did short journeys during the week and at weekends, we would all pile into her sports car (for some reason, my dad always had a sensible (high powered) family car and my mum always had a sporty runaround) and we’d cruise around the countryside for an hour or so.

Modern cars have bigger batteries, but they also have more things that use the batters - start/stop mode in traffic, alarms, entertainment systems and GPS etc.

I drive about 25 minutes to work and back every day and that is enough to keep the battery around 70% charge. I then do longer runs every now and then, which will top it up. (Nissan Qashqai 1.5L diesel, which gets up to 84 mpg (US gallons), although 60 is probably the average).

Well, I’m far from an expert, you would think an EV would presumably address this issue as it is basically one massive battery, but I remember @samabuelsamid saying that a lot of the car “features” still run on a normal car battery because they’re 24V and it’s “difficult” to convert the high energy of the car’s “big” battery for use with 24V power use, so the big battery recharges the little battery and you recharge the big battery. It would be interesting to hear from Sam on whether the big battery will continuously charge the little one such that it can run all the power vampire features for longer term.

A few things to note here:

  • Most vehicles today have 12V, not 24V electrical systems although there are some newer models that are now using 48V electrical systems. However, even 48V and high-voltage BEVs/HEVs/PHEVs still have DC/DC converters because most accessory systems are still 12V

  • The Infiniti QX80 is indeed and ICE vehicle, it’s Infiniti’s full-size SUV powered by 5.6-liter V8 and is basically a more upscale version of the Nissan Armada

  • A 15 minute trip should be sufficient to replenish battery, if you are getting frequent dead batteries, there are multiple issues that could be the root cause

  • Defective battery is one, but if it has been replaced, other possibilities include a bad alternator. If the alternator isn’t generating enough current, it might not be able to keep up with demand

  • A short circuit somewhere in the wiring harness. This isn’t likely in this case given the infrequency of the problem

  • Some system on the vehicle is continuing to run when the vehicle is parked and not shutting down properly. On modern vehicles, many of the ECUs stay on for a minute or two after you shut off to handle a variety of clean up tasks. It’s possible that something isn’t shutting down properly which could be either a hardware or software issue.

  • Some aftermarket device could be draining the battery. Do you have an aftermarket alarm system? Dongles provided by insurance companies to monitor driver behavior for premium discounts can draw power and that may be the cause. Most of the USB and other power ports are tied to ignition so devices left plugged in won’t drain the battery but check to see if anything is still charging after you turn off the vehicle. The OBD-II port where the insurance dongle goes is always live.

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I had an issue similar to this on a newer vehicle and could not figure it out for a long time.

Then 1 day I realized that my driving camera was still charging after turning off the vehicle so it was not turning off with the ignition. After I started disconnecting it after using it each time I was in the car I no longer had the issue.

I assumed like I would presume that most of us would that since it was a newer car that the accessory plug would shut off with the ignition and it was that assumption that made it take so long to find the issue.

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