Friday, September 4, 2009

Cool Is Good - 120 Plus Miles

My MINI E loves the cool weather. When driving in the morning I am consistently at a range of over 120 miles according to the computer. My commute, one way, ranges from 17 to 21 miles depending on the route and the range computer usually lists 106 miles left. Today I did 17.4 and the range computer listed 108 left...pretty good considering I am driving it like a normal car, I actually accerlate.

I've also noticed my start range is increasing, this is what the computer displays after a full charge and the first drive of the day. This morning it said 117 miles and stayed at 117/116 for a good 5 miles.

Yes, cool is good, but what will freezing bring? I've noticed my battery has been as low as 59 degrees even when the MINI E was plugged in, though not charging, and it did not get above 63 after an 18 mile drive. Keep in mind our MINI Es are not supposed to recharge if the battery temp drops below 40 and we certainly won't be able to do any regen. Us Easterners get weather in the negatives so winter might not be the MINI Es best friend. It does not look like the battery pack tries to warm itself up, maybe it will in extreme cold but we will see.

Some tips I'd like to offer to MINI/BMW elite and other EV manufacturers out there.
> these batteries produce some decent heat when really used, such as highway driving, find a way to recycle that heat by pumping the warm air into the cabin. This will extend range during winter months as the driver will not have to use the electric heater as much.
> during winter months if the car is plugged in there should be a way to keep the battery pack at a good operating temperature (though this may be in there already I have not witnessed it yet)
> is there any air being pulled from outside the cabin to cool the batteries? I know the MINI E is not purpose built but it may help cool the batteries better if the cabin is still really hot which in the sun is common. Or add small solar panels to power a fan to vent the cabin.

Either way, EVs are the way to go. For commuting with smaller cars, perfect! As technology improves so will these cars.

Happy EVing

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