Thursday, October 15, 2009
Frost Warning Or Range Warning?
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 ask...it 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 issue...no. 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 energy...it 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.