Friday, November 20, 2009

Many thanks to Jim McLaughlin who has inspired me to renew my postings to the my blog. Jim epitomizes the Mini-e spirit of sharing resources and allowed me to use his charger while I was in Princeton on Wednesday. With Jim's help I was able to drive to Princeton and spend the day making sales calls in Princeton and Cranbury. When I finished up in Cranbury I headed to NYC for dinner and then home in Bergen County. 175 miles!

While waiting for my Mini-e to charge up I had lunch, followed up with all my e-mails and returned calls so there was no wasted time. Actually being forced to sit for an hour allows you more time to actually think about your day and better plan your time.

Just a reminder to all, if you are in Bergen County and need a charge, feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

OK, I decided not to enter the same thing every day. ie I love the car - great acceleration etc. I thought it best to use the car and report back. I've put on just about 1000 miles. I would have put on more mileage but without the high current charger there were some days that my travel with the Mini-e was limited. I have my ICE auto at my office if I need to travel further than the 100 mile limit or if the Mini is not fully charged to do so.

I do have a few observations and coments after the 1st 1000 miles.

Air Conditioning puts a load on the batteries and there needs to be an improved air conditioning system in electric cars that doesn't require re-heat for temperature adjustments. The AC is super strong and doesn't need to be so strong,

I have had a few instances where the car "froze" in neutral when I came to a stop and the only remedy was to turn off the vehicle and restart. Not a big deal - It takes about 3 seconds to do so but worth noting that there's some sort of software fix required.

The Mini-e could also use cruise control. It was explained to me that the Mini-e doesn't have it because they didn't want to add any additional power consumption items. I tend to think there's another explanation... I think Mini Cooper didn't want to install it in these cars as they wanted to insure the drivers maintain complete control. I think in the future an adaptive cruise control that would maintain the car's speed when on an incline to take advantage of the regenerative braking. The cuise control could also contain an eco mode which could be more agressive in attempting to regen the batteries. It would be a great addition to the car.

It may be my imagination but I have also noticed that the car doesn't charge as well in the heat of the day. The battery temperature can reach temperatures in excess of 100 degrees while the car is under charge. I'm looking forward to receiving the high current charger and being able to share chargers within the Mini community to further the drivability of the car.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Mini-e performed well today. I did have one issue. The car was stationary in a parking lot and I was talking about the car with friends. The Mini-e was in drive but at rest for about 3 minutes.. One of the guys wanted to hear just how quiet the car drove. I pressed down on the accelerator and there was no response. No movement.... I had to shut down and restart. No big deal but worth noting.

This morning's errands had me following my wife in her ICE auto. She was definitely moving and to keep up I needed to accelerate through a light before it turned "yellow" (after all we all know one should stop on yellow and to do otherwise is illegal) It was warm out so I had the AC on for half the time as well. All this "effort" took quite a bit of energy. After all was said and done I put on 23 miles and burned though over 30 percent of the stored energy to get to Stony Point, NY!

The ride home was going to be 20 miles- I had plugged in for 4 hours and had 38% battery life. One the way home I called my wife and asked her if she wanted her favorite pizza from Turiellos in Nyack not giving any thought to distance as I have for the past 4 days. I thought I was in difficulty because battery reserve appeared to be decreasing at a higher rate than expected heading south on 9W. Here's the thing.... If you drive up inclines you can recover battery charge with the regenative braking system all the way down an incline and recover. A concept foreign to most drivers. I ended up driving 25 miles with 11 miles to spare. Very close to the battery capacity indicated. Lesson learned- If you drive this vehicle correctly you will reach your destination.

If you haven't figured it out yet.. I love this car. I wish there was some way to keep it longer than one year. If I could buy this car I would pay the price. Driving this car is the best driving experience I have had in a car. And because you drive a little more conservatively you get to notice the surrounding environment in a way I hadn't before. It's like taking a break from life and smelling the roses.

The AC is incredibly quick and very effective-- downright cold! My understanding is the temperature control adds electric re-heat which must take an enormous amount of energy. I've been hesitant to "warm" the cabin up for fear of using too much energy. Can anyone tell me if the temperature adjustment operates in this fashion. If it indeed adds re-heat, cant the AC temp be regulated with a modulating bypass valve thereby not using as much energy?
Day 3 Recap:

Since we are planning to take a long drive to Matawan, NJ from our house I only used the Mini-e to get to my office (5 mi each way) and back. It was on charge at my office for the day. I have my old ICE auto for sale and keep it at my office so if I need to go on a long trip for the next couple of weeks the car is available. After that my wife and I will swap cars when required.

Day 4:

I've been charging the Mini-e all day Friday, overnight and Sat. morning. To be honest I had been obsessive about this. Can I really dive 49 miles to Matawan and return home OK. There's air conditioning, (and I believe reheat to warm the cabin), lights, etc. It's the first time I have actually seen the charge indicator at 100%- Oh joy... We drove the Mini-3 very conservatively never over 55mph (after all the who would ever exceed the posted speed limit?) taking advantage of down hill slopes to gain maximum regenerative braking. (No air conditioning required yesterday aftn) We got to our destination, 47 miles actually, with 60 % battery capacity! Wow.... This is great! Plugged her in for 4 hours during our visit and had 75% battery capacity for the 46+ mile ride home. Going home we weren't so conservative and had the AC and naturally headlight. No problem! We return home with 20 miles available driving distance so even if we didn't get an additional charge we could have made it back home. Fantastic!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Mini-e # 353 experience

My first day, June 17th, with my Mini-e was sheer exhilaration! This car is a ROCKET!. It can thrust you back into your seat just about at any speed and handles like…. Well, a mini!

June 18th I drove #353 to work and then drove to the Secaucus rail station to take the train to Penn sta. (-14.1 mi) and while driving to the station I was a little concerned about the drive home home (-19 miles)

June 18th- The miles left indication is not an absolutely accurate indication but an estimate based on the past 18 miles and a variety of other factors like battery temp etc.. I have found the indicator to be conservative so you do have some distance “in the bank”. Since we don’t have the 220 V chargers yet I started out on the 18th with 47 miles on the indicator. By the time I got to my office it had dropped to 40 miles and I plugged in the charger for an hour before I needed to leave for NY.

Now the reality of an electric car sinks in…. Hmmm. Limited resources require planning my trip a little more carefully. Heading to the Secaucus rail station gave me a little anxiety, miles dropped significantly and I got a little nervous. It's interesting.. You become a better driver when resources are low. I made sure I didn't pounce on the accelerator and used the regenerative braking in the best way possible. When I got to the rail station I had 23 miles left. They wouldn't let me plug in there which was a little frustrating...... but a funny thing happened. When I got back in the Mini to find a parking space the batteries must have cooled a bit and it indicated I had 30 miles! found resources. I got home Thursday with +14 miles! I even used the AC to reduce fogging and to cool the cabin off.

Here's the best thing. This was the first time I have ever not gotten a little torqued up with the stop and go traffic on Rt 3. It just didn't bother me! In fact the Mini-e got more efficient and the miles left indication really didn't drop as fast as I had thought it would as it did when driving 50+ mpg. That, plus the fact that I'm driving the most fantastic car in the world and the realization that no one else on the road was getting this kind of high driving an ICE vehicle just made everything all right.. I can't ever recall getting home feeling exhilarated after facing 30 minutes of traffic. How do you top that!?

This has absolutely made my mind up... I simply can’t, actually find it impossible to go back to an ICE. I need the next 12 months to figure how I can continue to drive an electric car after June 17, 2010 when I have to return this dream car to Mini.