Saturday May 30th 2009 we picked up #140 at Long Beach MINI in Long Beach, CA. What a fun two years it's been. Almost 40,000 miles later, the folks we've met and the joy we've had from driving gasoline free is hard to put into words.
Tom Moloughney and Peder Norby both posted a wonderful wrap up of their two year experience on the BMW Activate The Future website. Rather than repeat what they've said, I'll hit a few other points.
Our daughter was 3 1/2 when we picked up #140. Her eyes lit up like Christmas morning when Kari and I returned home with the car. I'd been telling her about it for weeks, showing her pictures online and needless to say she was as excited as we were to take delivery.
A little back story on Hailey, she's Daddy's little girl, and we're both very blessed to have her in our life. Each day since she started walking, she would zip to the garage the moment she'd hear the garage door start to open, stand in the doorway waiting for me to back in to the garage and then run over to give me a hug. She was always very good and wouldn't budge from the door way till I had our Ford Freestyle SUV fully parked and then once I turned off the ignition, she'd run to give me a hug. Unfortunately, I would have to hustle her back in to the house as the garage was full of exhaust and the last thing I wanted was for her to be breathing exhaust. Once the MINI E arrived that all changed. No exhaust. Hailey immediately made the connection with no prodding from us and quickly started saying she no longer wanted to ride in "stinky gas cars." Since that first day, Hailey's rode in the MINI E countless times and every time she has a big smile just like her Dad.
I'd heard that the older you get, the faster life goes by and when you have a child, watch out. I quickly discovered this is indeed the case and time becomes more and more precious. What does this have to do with driving the MINI E? Well, in our Ford, every two to three days I'd stop by a gas station. Each stop took me 15 or so minutes between filling up, getting back on the freeway and continuing on my way. With the MINI E, I leave the house every day with a full tank and those 15 minutes are now spent with my family. Not breathing fumes while filling up is an added bonus.
Before the MINI E, I dreaded my daily commute. Now, it brings a smile to my face. The instant torque and quietness provides an exhilarating, put you back in your seat driving experience. The strong regen braking allows you to use just one pedal most of the time. One pedal driving that isn't a golf cart...Wow! (and yes the brake lights pop on when the regen kicks in) No gears mean no hesitation or jerking around...just smooth acceleration until you ease off the pedal. This combined with the thumbs up I receive from other drivers makes driving a joy.
Finally, knowing that I've played a small part in showing other folks that yes, it's possible to drive an electric vehicle on a daily basis for most of your driving and that a whole generation of upcoming drivers will have the option of choosing to drive electric, has made it a privilege to have taken part in the MINI E test program.