Tuesday, June 30, 2009

EV Electric Vehicle Auto Mall article

Saw this interesting article in the Long Beach Business Journal about turning a closed auto dealership into a multi electric vehicle mall. Hope it happens.

Click here to go to article

Monday, June 29, 2009

Proper use of the 110V Charging Cable

MINI e-mailed out a PDF earlier today explaining in detail the proper use of the 110V cable. Thought those not in the program might also be interested in the cable info. Now at almost 1500 miles and going strong!

110V Charging Cable Guide

If you're not seeing the PDF when you click, you may need to update FLASH.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Personalized Plates Arrived

Just put on our personalized plates today. Hit 1400 miles as I returned from the DMV. The MINI E has been so much fun to drive. Can't imagine going back to gas once the trial ends.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Business Week interviews Shai Agassi

Founder and chief executive of electric vehicle services provider, Better Place, Shai Agassi is interviewed by BusinessWeek's energy and environment editor, Adam Aston, on Monday June 15th.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

93 Mile commute today

Drove 93 miles today on a single charge. Went from Long Beach to Universal City to Burbank, out to lunch and then after work drove back to Long Beach. The car is working great and the warning light I encountered (see earlier blog postings) has not returned. It was a little warmer up in Burbank today and I noticed that the Battery temp stayed right at 102 for most of the 40 miles drive home. When I pulled into the garage I had 9 miles remaining and 11% battery charge. A/C was on 90% of the time and the Daytime Running Lights are now on full time. Also listening to radio 100% of the time. I'm currently at 975 miles and will cross 1000 tomorrow. The miles fly by quickly in the MINI E. :)

Update: It took 30 kwhs to recharge back to 100% this morning.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Costco, Sam's Club, 95 mph and more!

These past few days have been a blast! #140 has been in Huntington Beach, Carson, Burbank and everywhere in between. In all our travels we've yet to see another MINI E although we were spotted by Jim #230.

We even did the unthinkable and went to Costco one day and Sam's Club the next. I'm happy to report that a 32 Pack of Arrowhead Water fits perfectly on the floor of the passenger's side. We were able to pack up the back with all sorts of things and while we needed to leave some packaging behind, it all fit and we didn't put anything on top of the batteries.

The reason we've been to all these places in the MINI E is because it's such a blast to drive that we don't want to drive our other vehicle. I've hit the 95mph max at least five times and only one of those times was intentional. When on the freeway it's so easy to go from 65 to 95 in seconds. Each time the Regen kicks in right at 95 and starts slowing the car down. I'm zipping around cars with little effort.

Normally on my drive to work and back (80 miles total) I drive 65 or so (when I can) and basically get blown off the road. Today, I said enough of this and decided to flow with traffic and had a good 10 or so miles of 80+. Granted this caused the miles left indicator to drop to 8 miles as I exited the freeway but by the time I got home it had climbed back up to 15. This was as low as I had taken it.

Each day I look forward to hoping in #140 for another adventure!

Total miles today: 85.5
Total kwhs used: 28
This was the first day using the Daytime Running Lamps. Plan on leaving them on going forward.

I also keep the A/C on 90% of the time when I drive with the fan set at the lowest setting.

P.S. As gas prices climb past $3.00, these adventures are more economical than ever. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

44 miles of trouble free driving today

Today we were zipping around the hills of Palos Verdes, CA. The MINI E zips up the hills with no problem and minimal noise. Lots of Regen use today and thankfully no warning lights. The more we drive it the more we love it. Can't wait for tomorrow.

Still awaiting word from the dealer on what was actually discovered during it's time in Oxnard. Not sure if I'll ever know but if I hear something, it'll be posted here pronto!

The 44 miles of driving today used 47% of the battery. 17 kwhs used to recharge.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

MINI E #140 is back!

Our MINI E arrived back from Oxnard over a week early! No details on what they discovered but we were thrilled to get the car back. They put 28 miles on it. Also saw car #005 was back too. Can't wait to get back to driving. I put 375 miles on the regular gas MINI and once back in the MINI E I could immediately tell the difference. The sound of silence along with the super quick acceleration off the line were missed during it's absence.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Being patient

Spoke briefly to salesperson at Long Beach MINI this afternoon who thanked me for my patience. My questions regarding a possible lease extension or credit for days out of service during the trial must be addressed by corporate. I've sent e-mails and awaiting a response. It appears the priority for MINI/BMW at the moment is to get the cars out by June 30th in order to get the CARB credits. I understand that and hope that once that happens the communication will improve. Up to this point, it's been pretty one way. If I wasn't persistent and making phone calls, I'd still be waiting for my charger install. Glad to see other cars rolling out in the East and hope the problems Joel and I experienced are isolated to our two cars. Can't wait to get back in the MINI E.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sad news about MINI E #140

Just received some sad news about our MINI E. It needs to be taken to Oxnard, CA for further evaluation and won't be back until next Thursday or Friday (June 18th or 19th). I'm awaiting to hear about a lease adjustment or extension on the lease. I'd really like a full year with the MINI E. More details as I get them.

Joel's car also heading to Oxnard.

Monday, June 8, 2009

MINI E Techs coming tomorrow

Dropped off #140 this morning for the issue mentioned in earlier posts. Now driving a gas powered MINI as a loaner. MINI E techs coming tomorrow to look at our car and another MINI E also in for service.

While driving the gas powered MINI the first thing I noticed was the noise at city speeds. Also the acceleration is nothing compared to the E. Haven't drove the S yet so can't compare it to that version.

Put 80 miles on the gas version today.

Hope to have some news to report tomorrow (Tuesday)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

560 Miles in the MINI E and finally recognized!

This afternoon we were parked on Hollywood Blvd about a block down from the Pantages Theater. We had just seen Dirty Dancing and were checking out a small car show that was set up on a side street. I've become so use to folks not recognizing the car, I was pretty shocked when a large family approached us asking about the MINI E. We had short chat about the car and I showed them a few things. They were very happy to see the car in person.

Unfortunately, on the way home, the same warning light we've been seeing the past three days made it's appearance again. At first I thought it was related to stop and go traffic but this time it came on during highway driving. Each time it would stay on for 2 to 3 minutes with the loss of Regen during this time. Battery temp was 91, outside temp was 71. We stopped to eat for about an hour on our way back to Long Beach and upon starting up, the light appeared yet again but this time went out within 30 seconds or so. We jumped back on the 5. Once we hit the 605, traffic was flowing at 80+. I decided to keep it at 80 and flow with traffic. After about 10 minutes of this, the battery temp was close to 100 and finally hit 100 as we got off the freeway. The warning light did not come back on during this little test.

Tomorrow morning the vehicle goes in for service. Hopefully MINI E #140 won't be gone to long. Other than this little snafu, it's been a great week of driving.

Friday, June 5, 2009

MINI E #140 Good News & Bad News

Today brought some good news and bad news. Good news first. Paul from Sunpower Electric came by this morning and made a fix to our timer. When the timer was turning on and triggering the Clipper Creek box to charge the car, it wasn't working...just a green blinking light on the charger. Now, all is working great!

26 kwhs worth of electricity for 80 miles of driving seems very consistent. This has been the number for the past three days.

Now the bad news. On the way to Burbank today, the warning light noted in yesterday's post came on again. It came on at almost the exact same part of my commute (approx 30 miles in) under very similar conditions...stop and go traffic, 72 degrees outside and a battery temp of only 87 degrees. Today it stayed on for approximately 5 minutes. When the light is on and you lift your foot off the gas, you just coast at full speed. It came on a second time during my journey but only for a few seconds. On my way home yesterday there was no traffic and no warning lights. As I write this I'm still in Burbank, keeping my fingers crossed for the drive home tonight. It's a little scary when the Regen goes out when you're coming to a stop in stop and go traffic. After a while you get so use to it, when it goes out, it's quite startling. Long Beach MINI checked with Nadine at MINI E headquarters (if theres is such a place) and the car needs to be looked at by the techs. Car will be going in for service on Monday at 6:30 a.m.

We love driving the MINI E and hope that this issue can be resolved quickly so we can get back on the road.

We'll be at 450 miles when I return home this evening. For those still waiting for your car, it's worth the wait...hang in there!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

First problem with MINI E :(

Today I had my first warning light come on. It happened three times during my 40 mile drive to work in stop and go traffic. For those with the car, it's the symbol on page 101 of the manual, second one up from the bottom. Here's the description of what the warning light means:

"Energy Recovery limited due to hot high voltage battery"

"Be ready to brake at all times as the vehicle is not decelerated as is usual during energy recovery"

You lose the Regen function when light is on.

Outside temp was 74, left a cool garage before starting my drive. Battery temp was 91 when light came on.

I've been told that running the AC will help cool the battery as the cool air will go into the vents behind the front seats. Will try that and see what happens.

I'm now at 340 miles and loving the car! Still no one has noticed that the MINI E is anything special.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

MINI E second trip to Burbank a success!

Our MINI E had it's first guest driver today, a former pilot. He loved it. The torque steer reminded him of some planes he's flown. He couldn't stop talking about how much fun it was to drive.

I quickly recharged and then was off to Burbank via Universal City. Today's journey consisted of light traffic both ways with my return journey at night using the headlights. The xenon lights provide great visability and didn't seem to drop the battery power to much. I kept my speed to around 60 mph on the return trip. As I pulled in to the garage, I had 26 miles remaining. Car is a blast to drive! Can't wait for tomorrow.

Miles driven today: 81
kwhs used: 26

Monday, June 1, 2009

MINI E to Burbank and back

Today was our MINI E's first long road trip. First a little charging info. When our TOU (Time of Use) meter was installed this morning, I immediately charged the car to 100%. Our Clipper Creek box is the 32 amp version. There's even a note on the orange charging cable to remind you to set the car to 32 amp. The manual shows this version will take approx 4 1/2 hours for a full charge. The car was at approx 55% charge with 47 miles remaining. It took 2 1/2 hours exactly to charge the car. The indicator than showed I was good to go for 90 miles and 100% charge. If I'm reading my TOU digital readout correctly I used 15 kwhs worth of juice during this 2 1/2 hours. I haven't seen my bill yet to see if there will be taxes or not but based on my rate of .17 kwh it cost $2.55 to drive the car the 49 miles on the odometer. Granted most of these miles were hot rodding around town and I have no idea how the first 17 miles were driven before we got the car. I will do another calculation tomorrow based on today's drive which should be a more accurate representation of the cost to drive to work today and back.

Now on to my journey to Burbank. Since this was my first trip, I left everything off on my journey except the fan on the lowest setting. I quickly noticed that the 90 mile range indicator goes up and down as you drive. When you're on the highway it goes down quickly if there is no traffic. In stop and go it tends to climb back up or stay constant as the miles drive by. As luck would have it there was hardly any traffic today and I did my best to keep the speed to 70mph max however it creeps up quickly if you don't pay attention. Very happy with the driving experience. I did my best to use the brakes as little as possible. When I arrived at work, the indicator showed 57 miles remaining even though the actual miles driven was 39 miles. (90 minus 39 ='s 51)

On the way back home there was stop and go for the first 5 or so miles and then no traffic again. As I neared the bottom of the 710 freeway I had 21 miles remaining as I exited the freeway. I then had surface streets the remaining 4 or so miles home. By the time I pulled into the garage the indicator had climbed back up to 29 miles remaining. Slower speeds along with stop and go combined with mastering the regen braking appear to be keys to maximizing your mileage. Headlights were not used in either direction today. Total miles driven today: 78

Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be interesting. I'll most likely have light traffic driving to work and no traffic at all coming home. As an added bonus, I'll be stopping by the gym on the way to work which is a few miles out of the way and then when I do head home late in the evening, I'll be using the headlights all the way home. Will I make it...stay tuned! :)

P.S. An update...the drive to Burbank and back yesterday (78 miles) used 26 kwhs of power to rechage back to 100%.

TOU Meter just installed :)

Time of Use Meter was just installed from Edison moments ago. As the pictures show, the meter sticks out more than the original meter but not much. Car is now charging. Plan on driving to Burbank and back today. 82 miles round trip. Will report back later tonight.