Sunday, June 21, 2009

First Impressions

I have and have driven fast cars and this one left me impressed.

One needs to understand the basic specs of this car to get the idea of the power:

HP = 201
Torque = 162 ft lbs
Weight = about 3,300 lbs (battery pack is about 500 lbs)
Redine = 13,000 rpm
Top Speed = 95mph computer inhibited
0-62 (UK spec) = 8.5 secs and this seems very conservative

(the top of the Mini E power plant)

Those specs seem just decent on paper but electric motors produce almost full torque at 1 rpm and the torque curve is flatter then the horizon. HP is also near full and stays as the revs grow. Lastly, there is no transmission, it is direct drive, no slipping. This baby kicks EV wannabe booty, this is no hybrid.

BMW, parent company of MiniUSA and the brain child behind this, de-tuned the electric motor which is built by AC Propulsion, so that under 20mph it makes a little less power then it could and the torque has also been lowered to 162 to keep the trans axle from twisting like a pretzel. You can still spin those tires so don't worry.

When my turn came to drive My Mini E for the first time I was the last one off the lot, my co-workers had silently slipped away with their Mini Es....well except for one who tested out the instant power these cars have...he peeled out. I was a little more conservative as a crept out onto the main road then gave it some juice....whoa!

First thing you notice is how incredibly quiet these cars are, just a little whir is about it. Second thing is the seamless amount of power under foot, it is always there, always. First traffic light I came to I got to test out the regenerative!!! That is one aggressive setting and there is no dial back, at least the brake light comes on when you are in full regen mode so as to keep the driver behind you...behind you. After a few lights I got the hang of it and now I find regen intoxicating, give me more!! I regen when I can.

My ride home was about 8 miles and I used about 10% of the batter pack, not bad for a first trip. During the last few miles of my trip I hit a thunderstorm with lightning which certainly made me think....hmm, lightning, rain, electric of course was not an issue as these cars are perfectly safe in rain and do not attract bolts from the sky. However, I decided not to charge the car that night, I should have plenty of juice to get to work in the AM.

The Mini E has a range of about 100 miles, 120 if you are a regen master, and 150 under ideal conditions. Not sure what 'ideal' means since 120 seems to be a lofty goal, ideal might be going down hill on ice.

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