Sunday, July 26, 2009

MINI E out runs three souped up Acura's

Tonight as we were heading back from dinner on surface streets we started to hear some engine revving and noticed in the rear view mirror three Acura Integra's hot rodding through traffic. At the next light, we all ended up together. These guys had gauges galore, giant pipes, fire extinguishers mounted near the windshield, etc. Two on my left side, one behind me. This left one open lane on the right. This was a moment I'd been waiting for. I could see the guy behind us looking at our license plate (KNOW GAS) but the two to the left didn't give us a second thought. When that light changed, we changed lanes and floored it leaving all three behind. We happened to be going through a tunnel and the echo of their engines was super loud. I hit 85mph about half way through and eased off as they blew by me. They were probably doing 100+ at that point. At the next light all three noticed us and were giving the car a good look over. They were smiling and shaking their heads. It's gotta be a little humbling realizing that your street racer just got beat by an electric car. Another fun day in the MINI E!

3000 miles and going strong!

Just passed the 3000 mile mark. Love the car! 3 folks took the car for a spin this past week. When they punched it, the remarks were the same...WOW! Any perceptions of a golf cart wrapped up in a MINI body were quickly erased.

I'll be attending the EV event in Long Beach, CA on August 11th. Hope to see other MINI E folks there!

Here's a link for more info:

Long Beach EV Event August 11th

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Electric Cars in the United States tech brief

This paper was commissioned by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Interesting reading:

Thanks Paul at for posting this on his blog.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

101 Highway Miles today with miles to spare!

Today was another great day in the MINI E! Decided to see if a 100 mile highway trip was possible and I'm happy to report it was with miles to spare. Even better, 96 of these miles were highway miles with speeds from 65 - 70 with no traffic. We drove from Long Beach, CA to Upland, CA and back. It was a fantastic drive and best of all, no gas. As I was coming home I was right next to a Shell Gasoline double tanker truck for a few miles. As one who was spending close to $300 a month on Shell Gasoline, it was one of those many happy moments I've had driving the MINI E. Setting aside the problems and the sometimes bad press, it's moments like that that really make me thankful for being part of this field trial.

I know the details can bore some folks but for those interested here they are:

101 Miles Traveled, 10% charge left, 11 miles left as I drove into garage.

Trip to Upland - 50.5 miles

My wife was the passenger. Outside temp in Long Beach was 82 when we left and 104 in Upland when we arrived. Battery temp never got past 97. We kept the a/c on low and radio on low volume. Daytime Running Lamps were off. Kept speed between 65 - 70 miles per hour despite being passed by almost 100 cars. :) When we arrived I was a little concerned that the gauge showed miles left to travel as 37 and the battery left % at 35. I knew that this part of the trip was slightly uphill but still was a little concerned.

Car sat for 4 hours in carport.

Trip back to Long Beach:

Just me driving home for the return trip. Was happy to see when I started car, miles left were now 44 and battery charge left was 49%. The sitting around in the shade seemed to have helped. Time was 8pm, outside temp was now 84 and since it was dark, turned on the headlights. Decided to keep a/c and radio off just to be safe. Put fan on low and hit the road. Once again I kept speed between 65 - 70. It was smooth sailing all the way home and I was able to take advantage of brake regen now and then as I drove because the ride back to Long Beach was slightly downhill. Battery temp never higher than 95.

A couple of things learned on this trip. First, as one who normally, when traffic permits, drives 75 -77, by driving 65-70 you really can increase your range. This little bit of speed adjustment really helped. Second, don't freak out if you see the battery % and miles left a little lower than you'd like when you get somewhere. Chances are when the car sits for a bit, it will climb slightly. Plus if your trip was slightly uphill going, remember going back it'll be slightly downhill and you'll get a little extra range. (provided you drive in a similar fashion)

I'll update this post in the morning with kwhs used for this trip. #140 charging on the Time of Use Meter right now. *Update: 31 kwhs used for this trip.

Another great gas free day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

ZEV Parking Decal came today

Received my official ZEV Parking Decal today (State of California) I probably didn't really need this but thought what the heck, it's offered so I'll apply for one. :) Decal measures approx 2" square. Here's the link for more info:

CA DMV ZEV Decal Info

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MINI E gift box arrived :)

Today we received a gift box of MINI E goodies from MINI. Inside was a hat, mouse pad, custom key chain with our car's number on it, cards to give out to folks inquiring about the MINI E, one dice, a notebook with pen and stickers that you can use to make up phrases about your MINI. Not pictured is a black bag. Thanks MINI!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

MINI E back with new Gold Box

We picked up our car this evening at around 7pm from Long Beach Mini. Earlier this morning the gold box under the hood was replaced. I was told that the MINI E tech was very familiar with the problem we experienced (see earlier post video) and we were the 5th one he'd worked on with this problem. When I peeked under the hood after returning home, I noticed some stickers that weren't there before including the large one on the box itself. Glad to have the car back and hope not to be back at the dealer until our 3000 mile check up. The gas powered MINI loaner was fun but it was no MINI E. :)

When picking up your car from a service visit, be sure to check the charge setting before plugging in. Mine was set at 50amp the last two service visits.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The mysterious golden box

Dropped off the car this morning for the problem mentioned in blog post below. Received word back that parts have been ordered and the MINI E tech will be installing them on Wednesday. The parts involve the mysterious golden box under the hood. Should know more soon.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Video of car auto shifting to "N' while driving

Unfortunately, we're still having the problem with the MINI E shifting to "N" on it's own while we're driving. The gear shifter still shows "D" but the display shows "N". See video below. The set up for what'll you see: Dry road, sunny, driving at 40mph and punching shows what happens:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

#140 auto shifting to Neutral while driving

Car was acting quite strange this evening. Car was parked all day and I decided to give my Cousin a test drive before calling it a day. We started off with 100% charge and traveled about 1 mile with no problem. I then took the car up to 40mph and then punched it...wanting to demonstrate the quick pick up even while moving....I immediately heard a loud pop and noticed that the car had switched to neutral and the triangle next to the miles traveled had lit up...similar to how it does when the battery warning light comes on at 29% charge. While still moving I moved the gear shift to neutral (it still showed "D" even though the display showed "N") and then back to drive and the car appeared to be back to normal. However the triangle stayed lit up. We then stopped, turned off the car, waited a minute and then started it again. Triangle was gone and all seemed well. Took off again and whamo, happened again at approx 40 mph...once I punched it, a loud pop and then the neutral light was lit up again. We repeated this a total of 4 times over the course of our 3 mile test drive. This is the first time I've ever had this problem. We'll see if I can repeat it tomorrow.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Video of the MINI E charging at work

Picked up the 110V cable this past Thursday from Long Beach MINI and shot a short video of the MINI E charging at work.