Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To Hell With Range - I'm Gonna Drive!!!

Why am I so happy? It is because I finally got the wall box charger, no more sipping from the 110. With my commute I've always had to be home at a certain hour and drive the car a certain way so there was enough time and % left so as to get a full charge on that 110 by morning. Well no more of that wimpy stuff, I'm gonna drive MINI E #402 like it was meant to be driven. Pedal to the floor, li-ions screaming "back off, for the love of God, baaaack off!". Not me people, I'm going to enjoy this EV ride now that I know I can burn through the batt pack and recharge in a matter of hours. This EV is now an EXTREME VEHICLE

Northern part of NJ fear my electrons!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Second East Coast MINI E Meet Up, Charge Up And Chow Down - Nov 8

The Second East Coast MINI E meet up is November 8th at Nauna's. For those that were there the last time you may remember that shrimp dish was well worth the cost of entry into a MINI E, well almost ;) but that dish sure was awesome!! Plenty of reserved parking just for MINI Ers.

All Pioneers welcome - please RSVP to Tom at tom.moloughney at gmail dot com (at=@ and dot=.)

Date: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: Nauna's Bella Casa
Street: 148 Valley Road
City/Town: Montclair, NJ 07042

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Looking For 220 Charge Points in NJ

Hello all MINI Ers in NJ or PA. Next week, Oct 28th, I will be doing another green car event in Malvern PA. I will be coming from Mendham NJ which means I might or might not make it there on one charge, depending on weather, and I won't make it back. So I'm looking for charge points along the way with a 220.

I figure if I could charge 1 to 2 times each way I'll be more than safe, my route will take me along the Delaware river and I'll cross just north of Philly and head to Malvern or I'll go along 206 south toward Princeton then I'll cut over and head west to Malvern, depending on where I find charge points. Preferably I'd like a full charge before heading over into PA since Malvern and back to the NJ border could be 60 or more miles round trip depending on where I charge up. I'd need to get to my final destination by 11am so I'd start out early AM and I'd be heading home around 3pm - charging along the way where I could and as needed.

Ken has kindly offered me the use of his wall box which is in South Jersey but I'll be running on e-fumes by then and if it is cold I will not make it to his place. Anyone reading this is welcome to join me at the event if they have an electric car, MINI E or not and whether you charged me up or not. You would be Comverge's guest (my company). We plan on having a real V2G car there - the eBox. It is a private event with about 300 people.

Any offers/suggestions please post here or email me directly at cwneff at gmail dot com (at=@ and dot=. remove spaces)


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Frost Warning Or Range Warning?

(frost warning in mid Oct - terrific)

Well I had my first taste of winter today in NJ. We had some snow and I got the frost warning on the MINI E dash - now that's cold for mid Oct. It actually got down to 35F during the day.

So what is the worry you is range or lack of it. Today on my 40 mile round trip commute I ended up with just under 80 miles of range and that was with the heat at low. I had the heat on with lights going to work and on the way home heat, lights and wipers. I avoided highways to maximise distance. I arrived home with 36 miles left and 40% capacity - ouch!! During late summer I was usually at 75 to 80 miles left with 70% or higher. I was unable to keep resetting the recirc button because the windows just fogged up instantly so I was forced to let the cold air flow in forcing me to turn the heat up and use more energy. MINI/BMW, hear my plea - do NOT take control away of the recirc button from the driver in your next EV - not to mention reaching for it to turn it back on every 2 mins could be considered a safety issue.

What the shortage of range means is I'm ok with my commute, once the wall box arrives, but that is it. I won't be able to take regional business trips, go to Newark airport much less NYC without arranging a charge somewhere along the line. Is this a MINI E This is an EV issue that manufacturers will be challenged to address for us snow belt peeps. The heater absolutely draws a large amount of may not look that bad when the car is sitting but once you begin to drive you are adding load and that is when you see your energy fly out the window so to speak. So the frost warning icon is really a range warning icon.

Snow belters with MINI Es you know what I mean. Still love the car and do look forward to improvements in the technology.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Getting Cold

This morning it was 42F so I think over night we may have gone below 40F. In an earlier post I asked the question as to whether the MINI E will allow its batteries to go below 40F because this would cause recharging to stop as well as regen braking. I'm happy to report the batteries stayed at 50F even when the car was not charging. Does keeping the pack at 50F use any juice while sitting I'm not sure, I'm sure I'll notice that once we get down to 5F or less.

I did get a temp warning light that lasted a second or so and that was it. What is turning out to be an issue is using the heater, it is sucking the juice. Today after a 40 mile drive I was down to 58 miles and I only used the heat half of that drive. Now if I had the wall charger this would not be a serious issue for commuting, traveling over 100 miles yes, but for commuting no. Since I'm still on the 110 this quick depletion of the batteries is becoming a concern.

I predict that once I need to use the heat continuously the car will need to sit home half the week as I won't have enough hours in the day to catch up. I do have a back up car but it does not even like the rain so I'm kinda screwed. Thanks New Jersey for making EV implementation so painful. Here we have a car that is paving the way for the future with a company investing time and money, with the drivers, into this technology - an you dump all over it.

For those not aware, it is NJ bureaucracy that is preventing the rest of us from getting the wall box. Of course where would NJ be without corruption, ignorance and self centered thinking.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Coolest Thing About The MINI E Is.......

The coolest thing about the MINI E is the fact it does not look like an EV. Think about it, there are very few EVs or alternative fuel vehicles coming in the future that look like your every day car, they look like concepts or prototypes - like the EV-1 did. The MINI E is a MINI Cooper and drives like one too, sure people don't even know it is an EV, some get close by calling it a hybrid but that is part of the charm.

I for one love the idea that it looks like a regular just needs some subtle EV badging and we have a winner.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

At The Car Wash...Yeah!

Today in one of the local towns a small church was giving a free car wash, yes free! How could I resist, #402 needed a bath. I did ask one of the organisers why a free car wash and was told they were raising money for some room renovations inside.....hmmmm I thought, free car wash, raising money, what's missing. She continued by telling me I was free to leave a donation, well of course I would and I did.

What was fun about this particular wash is it was being done by a group of kids and they just loved the MINI. They were gushing all over it, I waited until #402 was well lathered up and then dropped the bomb...hey kids you know what else is cool about this car, it's all electric! They went nuts, it was really cool to share their excitement. Heard a few say, I want one, I want one....well kids one day you might just get one.

#402 got towel dried, I got into the drivers seat feeling good about the world, turned #402 on and got the hour glass, for at least 2 minutes, no worries, it is still way cool.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Those MINI/BMW Engineers Are Drivers

Let me thank the engineers behind the MINI E for keeping it a drivers car. The MINI Cooper is a slot car and the MINI E is not that far off. Yes, it is heavier and if you really flog it you can feel that battery mass get a tad top heavy and want to come up front to see what all the excitement is about, but you really have to push it to get there. It still has that quick steering and razor sharp handling, but, one other item that might not be noticed when the brake lights pop on when regeneration kicks in. The brake lights only come on when you are really getting into a hard regen, not just when regen starts or during a coast regen as I call it (not really slowing down). Therefore, you can regen down a hill casually and not look like a clod who rides his brakes all the way down a hill or worse, up a hill. Yes, I do believe the engineers thought about that one.

Of course the brake light comes one under hard regenning but only then.

Thank you MINI/BMW engineers for not making me look like a clod while regen braking.