Saturday, September 26, 2009

110 Shuffle With No Highways

Yesterday I had to take a longer trip than I was used to in the MINI E. 100 miles round trip and near the end I knew I would need lights and heater. I was heading to a business meeting in Englewood Cliffs NJ, start point was Mendham NJ.

The day before my trip I could feel the anxiety setting in, I need a plan. I'd stay off the main highways, stick to 46 and stay off of 80 to extend range and while at my series of meetings I'd plug in the car where I could, to get a little extra boost.

On my first leg of the trip, about 48 miles I was doing pretty well, the computer said I had 70 left to go. I was feeling pretty confident at that point and one of the buildings where my meetings where held was kind enough to let me plug in for about an hr and I got a 4% boost. This was 4% after the 3 to 4 times I plugged in as the buildings I was meeting in were separated so I had to drive back and forth between them interrupting my charging - I left the cable at the one building and plugged in there when I could.

So now I am reading to head back home, the distance meter on the MINI E said 77 miles....of course I had to give one "thank you" ride to the building maintenance guy who let me plug in...that ride took the 4% he gave me ;)

On my way back I figured I'd jump on the highway to see how it goes, after 3 miles I could see I was going to eat up a lot of juice and I wanted have plenty left for heat and lights and anything else that comes my way...being in NJ a lot of things can come your way unpredictably on the roads.

I jumped off 80 and got onto 46, range ticked up a bit and I was moving along. Thanks to phantom NJ road signs I ended up on some other branch of 46, that cost me 10 miles and 15 mins before I got back on track. Now it was getting dark, I switched on the lights, range said 34 miles and I had about 25 to go...hmmmmmm. I will say it is interesting how adjusting speed and resting the battery at lights can play with the range indicator, in your favor I might add, but having a 10 mile buffer in Joisey is not the most appealing.

So I decided to pull off 46 and hit smaller roads, that did increase my range. Now I'm getting close to home, about 12 miles to go, range says 21 and I'm starting to crave heat as it was 58 degrees outside plus I was heading to a section of road that eats EV battery capacity for lunch. No EV soldier hold off until you are close enough to coast home, I thought to myself. Well, when I got to with in 10 miles I put the heat on, settings were 1 for fan and the way, very toasting. I think the heat index of setting 1 is pretty good, seems stronger than a gas car. Of course in the blink of an eye my range went from 19 to 16 but it then held for the next 8 miles and I actually pulled into my driveway with around 17 mile left and 17% at 99.3 miles total, there is long slow section followed by a good downhill before my house that usually gets me 3 to 4 miles back.

In conclusion, I probably would have made it without the boost on the 110, but it would have been close, I have not gone past 0% as others have so I do not know if I could have gone farther. Granted I really don't want to be down to crumbs becasue if I run out of juice on the roads where I live I could be there a very very long time before I'm found. ;) In the heart of winter I expect range to really drop as I will be forced to keep the heat going all the time and I will be taking this business trip again.....stay tuned.

PS - I'm still on the 110, so over half a day later I'm just at 70%, 110 does take awhile to get back to 100% when near 0%. Added, just got my electric bill with an actual read, wow, as in high. I think the 110 is not efficient as it is a long continuous 12 amps. I'll have details on this later after I speak with the utility.

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