Monday, December 21, 2009

YES! BMW announces the ACTIVE E!

I haven't written anything for a while as I've been just enjoying driving the MINI E!

I marvel at what a great thing it is every time I drive it, anywhere!

Between my son and I, we've averaged about 160 miles a day this last week, the only rest the car is getting is at the charger.

We are anxiously waiting more news about the new BMW 1 series Electric car which we have been informed is to be announced at Detroit in January. They've wrapped into the design of this car some of the information and data gathered during the Mini E test driving program.

How exciting it is to be a part of this process!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Some thoughts
that occurred to me today while driving my All Electric Mini E - 80 miles round trip to one of the Multitude of Meetings I endure as a Special effects Artist in the Southern California Movie industry.

The meeting was in Manhattan Beach, 40 miles from my Home Office in Newport Beach. While  driving the 405 freeway, I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) a Talk Show about Cars, then an interview with a Car Journalist from the LA Times who's talking about the LA Auto Show, an event I will attend this weekend.  He is being questioned, among other things, about the viability of the Electric car in Southern California, will people buy them? His answer:  "it will take a long time for people to adopt the idea of an All Electric Car" and "they will probably have to go through the Hybrid phase first to gain Security over the Fear of running out of electricity" he said "it will take many years for people to accept the Electric Car". This I hear as I am traveling faster than the other traffic while in the Car Pool lane of the 405 freeway by myself to a meeting with my briefcase and laptop computer (a daily occurrence) in my All Electric Mini E.

Finishing my meeting, Mini E and I head for the 405 and the return trip home when a Lifted 4X4 Chevy, 3/4 ton Pickup, pulls in front of me, carrying only the driver and stops at the red light. As we sit waiting for the light to turn, I am thinking about the FUEL he, and the other cars sitting there, are BURNING while IDLING and the 4 inch EXHAUST pipe I am looking down as I sit using NOTHING waiting for the light to turn.

My eye drifts while thinking of these things and rests on the license plate frame which announces in Bold Face:
and below that on the lower frame:

I agree Totally, (though I don't think he meant it the way I'm taking it)!

On the Radio, the LA Times writer is asked about the various cars soon to be available in the Hybrid/Plug-in Electric universe. He itemizes most of them, the interviewer asks about the Mini E, he responds something like "Thats not really a viable car, no backseat, only a two seater, 'snickers' and glosses over its existence as not really PRACTICAL".

The Radio is telling me THIS car is not practical as I watch my ODOmeter turn over 7200 miles. This afternoon I will finish my singular ride (among thousands of other cars occupied by only one Single person), arrive at my destination, plug in, do some work and after an hour and a half the Mini E is ready with a full tank for another run, wherever I want to go in a 100 miles.

Such is my life with the so called "IMPRACTICAL" Electric car I love driving more than any other car I've ever driven!

Perhaps it WILL take a LONG time for the adoption of the Electric Car,
(I hope we don't run out of Fossil Fuels in the meantime)
More people need to actually DRIVE the Electric Car,

DRIVE one and GET IT!

There IS more to life than Gas Mileage!

I easily get a HUNDRED miles on the COST of a single GALLON of gas!

That's Practical!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

COOPER E 230 meets Ken Gibson of the LONDON SUN

One of the best parts of being involved with the MINI E road test is the really nice people I am meeting along the way! 

I received a call last week from Natalie at Mini, asking if I would be available to talk to someone named Ken Gibson who had been reading my blog about the Mini E driving experience. Sure! I said, always glad to talk about the Mini E!

Yesterday, I had one of the most fun afternoons I've had in a while.
I met Ken Gibson, Motoring Editor for the London Sun Newspaper, at his Hotel in downtown LA., Yvonne, from Mini PR in Detroit, was there with a shiny new Mini Convertible, a local photographer and a bunch of cameras.
Ken is doing a story on the Mini E driving experience, here in America, in preparation for the launch of the same program in the United Kingdom.

As the clock was now pushing 2:00 I hit 'Start', the 'ICE' Convertible 'fired up' and we headed out with an eye toward LA city backgrounds and icons that would be recognizable to his British readers.

Driving around LA/Hollywood being chased by a Mini Convertible and a strobe flashing photographer was a really fun experience for an old guy who has spent most of his career BEHIND the cameras, for a moment I felt what a celebrity must feel!

Speeding past Paramount Pictures front gate (where I spent most of the 70's), the Hollywood sign, my old Stage 29, shooting away, strobes flashing, was a lot of fun for me.

All too soon it was over, back to the Hotel, seared Ahi dinner on MIni PR, we said our goodbye's. 

Thank you to Ken Gibson, the LONDON SUN, Yvonne and Natalie from MINI PR, MINIUSA, BMW and all the good people involved with bringing the Electric Car to the rest of us!

I new when I signed up I would be meeting a lot of really nice people!

(128 miles today with a hour and a half charge during the morning meeting.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Range Anxiety is completely GONE!

100 mile range is completely adequate 
for what I do in my regular daily routine!
I have driven 7000 miles now and have reached
every place I need to go in the Los Angeles basin from Orange County,
with a little help from a few chargers.

With a well developed infrastructure of available chargers,
it will be such a pleasure for more people to be 
quietly, cleanly and affordably whisking from place to place in this city.

I had to drive an internal combustion engined (ICE) car this weekend and the drone of the engine, though relatively quiet, really irritated me!

I am really spoiled by the amazing performance, silent power and ease of operation of this great little car.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

140 mile round trip.

My Malibu friends now see me (probably too) often!

The 140mile round trip used to be a rare visit in the old gas (diesel) guzzler because it cost too much and I would stress about the use of a finite resource to go for a joyride, but now that my friend has also gotten a Mini E (with 60 amp charger), my trip is guilt free, stress free, easy, fun and cheap!

He was able to snag one of the returned Mini E's from someone whose lifestyle it didn't fit and 2 chargers, one for work (Hollywood) the other at home (Malibu). I am in Newport Beach, 70 miles from Malibu and 55 miles from Hollywood, both just outside my 100 mile RT so it makes it perfect for me as those are the only places I go (in my daily routine) that are in need of at least a touch up charge.

Almost 7000 miles, be there in a couple days,
(we watched as we turned over 6666.6 last night).

if you want to drive one, ask me, you'll be hooked too!
Still Love this Car!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Drive an Electric Car Once and You Won't Go Back!,0,5609464.column

I love the fact that people are discovering Electric Cars!

Find someone to let you drive one and you will be as hooked as I am!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BACK HOME with a new Brain!

Diagnosis of this weeks problem: Internal Fault in the PEU (Power Electronics Unit) or the 'Brain'.
After diagnosis the 'Flying Doctors' replaced the unit, reprogrammed the DMI and returned the car to my dealer.

After four days (with the 328i loaner) I am back in the drivers seat. Thanks BMW for creating this valuable program so many people are watching and learning from. 

My son and I picked up COOPER E 230 and drove straight into Santa Monica to see the Nissan 'Leaf' launching at Pier 59 Studios.

An Exciting Event, the Leaf is definitely a serious attempt by a Major manufacturer to jump in to the BEV market.
Watch for an event near you, they launched last night a 20 city tour exhibiting the car and a cutaway chassis that looks to be very well engineered.  

The run from home to Santa Monica is 51 miles one way, the computer was figuring 87 mi of range when we started out, hmmmm, this'll be fun. We jumped on the freeway, kept it at 60 mph, drove 55 miles to Hollywood using 50%, we spent 20 minutes on the charger at a friends business, where there is a charger in the parking lot, had some dinner while waiting. 

Now With 60 % and 11 miles to Santa Monica we went to the Launch Party.

The computer seemed to indicate we were using power at an alarming rate on the 11 mile trip to Santa Monica and I spent most of the time at the party wondering where we would be calling the flatbed from to get home.

I did, however, enjoy looking at Nissans entry. 

Retrieving the car from the Valet (hoping he hadn't joy rode with our meager remaining power) we headed out for the trip home, 52 miles with 48% battery! Jamie drove, keeping constant speed is his theory, so we pegged the speedo on 60 mph and meticulously stuck to it varying as little as possible. We watched the battery % meter at first deplete alarmingly fast then it began to recalculate and actually add percentage. Jamies theory is to keep speed constant and avoid using regen.

We were about 8 miles from home when we hit 0% and flat line on the battery!

Hmmmm we were still doing 60 MPH! I have run the car 9 miles in the same condition so I now new we could make it home, so we continued, conservatively, (Not Jamie's nature or even a word he likes) and pulled into the garage and the computer popped back up to 3% after having read 0% and flatlined for about 8 miles.

It was another great day with the Mini E and we are so happy to have it back ...and to be in the drivers seat again!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sad Day!

Little COOPER E 230 is in the hospital, the flying Dr's are assessing what to do.

Last week he started kicking into N from D, sometimes at speed upon acceleration, others when starting and into R to back out of the garage. Each time it would kick to N eutral and give me a car on the rack symbol. I would press Stop, pull the key, reinsert, press Start and everything was fine. Several days I drove my normal 80 to 100 miles, starting and stopping without another incident. Then, morning, full charge, same thing, R kick out N, restart routine, go on my way.

I just grew tired of it and decided someone should look at it before it happened in a more dangerous situation.

Thats it for now, meanwhile I'm driving a nice little silver 09 328i ICE loaner, not bad,
but it's definitely not my Electric Mini E!

I'm gonna hate that GAS stop to return it full!

Can't wait to get My E back!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

West Coast Meetup 2

What a great group of people!
To those who missed it, there'll be more, watch for info either here or on Facebook at Mini E.

Mini E Meetup 2 devouring good food at "My Fathers Office"
located in the old Helms Bakery.

AC PROPULSION showed up with the E-Box and test rides all around.

Our group of ten Mini E drivers being interviewed by John O'Dell, Senior Editor at
under the Solar Charger Port at the old Helms Bakery bldgs. in Santa Monica.

Thanks BMW/MINI for making such a great little car!

Monday, October 26, 2009

EV Focus Group

Got Invited to an EV Focus Group session.
Love any chance to talk about my E, so I went.
9 people in our group, all Mini E experienced drivers with 8 driving their cars.

It means something to me that the Information is being gathered by one of Our Major American car manufacturers and is being evaluated toward the production of EV's and Hybrids to be designed and built in the USA!

Thanks to BMW for putting these on the road so we can show people how Fun and Practical they are to drive and demonstrate how well they fit into our daily lives!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


New Mini E driver just added to the group.

Number 136 had been turned back in with only 400 miles on it.
A friend of mine picked it up Friday and is off and running and very happy!

I will try to get him to start a blog, if not I will include his experiences here.

Great video interview with the maker of the motor in my Mini E.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Alternative Power Expo at Santa Monica Civic, Santa Monica California.

Had a great time exploring the various exhibits and talking with people about the pure JOY of driving an Electric Vehicle, BEV.

Numerous Mini E's
Numerous other Alternative vehicles, Test drives, great to see a plethora of possibilities hitting the market soon.

As for COOPER E 230 we now have a charger in Hollywood (40 amp) 60 miles from home and another 75 miles from home in Malibu (60 amp).
We seem to be building our own infrastructure!

Came home from Hollywood at 80 mph (car pool lane), a/c on, headlights, radio,
arrived home with 30% to spare, oh what a great feeling!

I LOVE this car!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's So good to be back in the drivers seat!

Approaching 5000 pollution free miles!

Since 5/31/2009

As of today - 4330 miles divided by 123 days 
equals an average of 35 miles a day, every day.

Sometimes I drive further, sometimes less,
Mostly, well within the 100 mile range of the car.

I now have access to a charger at a business in Hollywood (55 miles one way)
so my Hollywood trips have just gotten easily feasible.

Still costing an average of 3 cents a mile to run,
get home plug-in and charge overnight (off peak)
have a full tank ready to go in the morning.

Love this car!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh...It's a Novelty!

OK I was talking to a FORD GT40 owner a while back
and on introducing him to my ELECTRIC MINI E he looks at it and states
"Oh....It's a novelty!"
Now I ask you,
Which is more of a novelty?
• A 2 Passenger, $200,000, 800 HP, 300 MPH car that can only be driven on a closed track.
• A 2 Passenger, 200 HP, 95MPH car that has the SAME breathtaking performance characteristics and can be driven SILENTLYon any road, as far as one normally drives in average daily use
My car does this on ELECTRICITY, without pollution, smoke, odors, burning fuel, and does it while costing only PENNIES.

Hey, I love the GT40, it was historic and beautiful and sounds wonderful!

But the world is indeed changing and it's time to see the light and MOVE ON,
besides what's more important, all that sound?
Or the feeling you get from being G-forced back into your seat as you experience phenomenal acceleration when you press the accelerator to the floor?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spanish Adventure

Had to go to Spain for two weeks.
Saw the new MINI D
on the showroom floor.

Diesel is still king in Europe, at $5.00 a gallon its cheaper than Gas, better mileage, engine life, cheaper tuneups, etc, and the new Diesel engines are quieter and cleaner.

These days the air in Spain is fabulous!

Historically, Spain has been harnessing the Power of the Wind for a thousand years.

Everywhere, on the PLAIN,  there are NEW High Technology Wind Powered generators.

The ELECTRIC car is perfect for In City errands,
small, nimble, Clean, daily range of 160 kilometers (100 miles),
saving many Diesel Powered kilometers for the long hauls.

I saw a Prius in Madrid with the word "ELECTRICO"
across the back window.

Slowly, the World catches on, Clean Power Now!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Run to Zero

Arrived home with 8 miles left on the Range Estimate readout, so  decided to take it down and try to find zero.

After hitting the 'dashed line' meaning no range left, I flipped to % and found I had 2% left in the battery.
I continued to drive, at 30 and 40 miles an hour till I finally found 0% on the Battery and --------- on the range readouts.

I was still doing 30 miles an hour.

Not wanting to have to push it I headed for the barn and arrived with 0% and --------- after about 8 miles of driving.

Parked it, let it sit about half an hour, checked again and I found 2% in the Battery with still -------range.

Turned him back on, turned on the headlights, as it was now after dark and went for another drive.

After about 3 miles and 0% and -------- readouts I decided to head home again for the same reason as above.

This photo shows 0%, ------ range and I am doing 30 mph with the headlights on!
Finally, I never found absolute zero, I went fully ten miles beyond 0% and ------- range and still had enough to do 30 miles an hour. Performance definitely slacked off the nearer I got to 0% but I was still able to travel at legal speeds and stay out of the way.
I parked COOPER E, plugged him in and today I'm off again with a full tank!
This is COOPER E's new front badge, a custom EEU front plate!

Love this car!

Bye for now!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Charger Sharing, Thanks Sandra and Dan!

Had to go to Malibu, 74 miles from home, today. 
Jamie had put 98 miles on the car last night arriving home about 4:am. COOPER E was still charging when I got up at 7:30. 
I began to plan my day and how I would make the trip (which is right on the edge of my range capability) and return in one day instead of doing an overnight with the 110v 'occasional use' charger.
Knowing I would need to charge somewhere along the way, I consulted the 'Charger Sharing' website, looked up Sandra Kulli #246, who had previously offered hers.
I called, talked to her husband Dan and found she would be home around noon. I arrived at their beautiful home in Malibu at 12:15 having used about 60% of my charge with about 10 or 12 miles to go to my destination in Latigo Shores. 
Sandra, I had met at the initial MiniUSA party, Dan I just met for the first time.
Greeted by the ever smiling, cheerful, Sandra, I immediately felt welcome as she abolished any thought I had of intruding on her day.
After an hour and a half of great conversation and Coffee made by Dan  I was ready to go with an 88% charge.
It really is fun meeting the other Mini E Pioneers!
Thats me and my new friend Sandra, Dan took the picture.

I made it to Latigo, had a nice two hours there with friends, jumped back in the car and headed off to do the 74 miles home with a 76% charge.

A lot of traffic, even though it was Saturday, used regenerative braking a lot. Thought about stopping at Long Beach Mini for a touch up charge but decided, as I passed Signal Hill in Long Beach, to go for it as the 'regen' seemed to really be helping.
Several times I watched as, while in heavy traffic, the % digital readout actually reversed and climbed, I was putting power back into the battery. There were times also that sitting at a stop light, it would adjust upward a percent or two.

I ended a great day of guiltless driving, getting off the 405 freeway in Seal Beach and cruising down PCH (Pacific Coast Hiway) along the ocean, returning home to Newport.

148.8 miles on the ODO with 9 miles left.

The warning 'sound' and triangle appeared at 25 miles then again at 10 miles.

COOPER E now sits charging and getting ready for what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Better Batteries for everyone.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

HOV Stickers arrive and get placed.

These are the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane stickers that give us the right to use the HOV or Diamond lane on the Freeways. These stickers are silver as they are CLEAN AIR or ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) Tags and allow me to drive alone in the HOV lane, NICE!.
The small sticker applies to the right side of the rear bumper.
The Large stickers are supposed to be placed behind the rear wheels but as you can see there is no place to put them.
Solution, place them in front of the wheels, on the side of the car behind the door.

(if you use a little windex or soapy water first, you can slide the sticker around till you get it right, then squeegee the liquid out from under and the sticker will be perfectly applied)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just the Facts, Man.

Facts About Plug-in Vehicles

Today's batteries can take EVs up to 300 miles on a single charge.

Battery Electric Vehicles (EVs) are by far the most efficient motorized vehicles in the world and use 3-4 times LESS energy than hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Enough excess generating capacity exists at night in the U.S. to charge 180 million EVs without adding any new capacity (no new coal or nuclear power plants). Source US. Department of Energy.

We will never fight a war over electricity.

EVs powered by the US electrical grid are cleaner than gas, E85, biodiesel & fuel cells.

Half of EV owners surveyed use solar energy to power their houses and cars.

EVs by the millions could be built today.

Plug-in cars capable of 50 miles per day would meet the needs of 80% of the American driving public. Source: U.S. Department of Transportation.

This car is Soooo much fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009

50th Birthday of Mini after Rally Party.

Six Mini E's in one place at the same time (actually 7, look closely at the end of the row near the building, one is hiding there).
The one in the distance behind the building is charging on 110v.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Joined Crevier Mini today (Sunday)for a 50th Birthday event for the MINI.

We drove a great 50+ mile run through some beautiful Southern California country roads.
Down the canyon to Laguna, PCH to Balboa where we crammed Four Mini's at a time on the Balboa Ferry (3 car Ferry) with room to spare.
Many Mini's, some of the fifty cars that showed up.
Balboa Island queing up for the Ferry.

We ended the day with a great BBQ and get together at Newport Dunes Aquatic Park in Newport Beach.

Want to see more photos of the Rally go here:

The numbers:
100% at start ODO:0.0, used 8 % to get to Crevier (Rally Reg and Start)
Arrived at Rally End at Newport Dunes with 60.8 miles on the ODO,
40% remaining (which after sitting, while we partied, grew to 43%)
Returned home ( about 3 miles) arrived with 40% remaining.

We were on track for at least 100 miles on 100% charge.

Nice Day, Great Food,
Fun Games,

Thanks Crevier!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Had to get out the Old Truck (F250-6 liter Diesel) to haul something I couldn't fit in the Mini E.
Sure felt BIG after driving Cooper E for two months.
Steering actually feels a little, scary, loose after the tight responsive Mini wheel.
Kinda miss 'Torque' steer and boy do I miss Regenerative braking, have to think about stopping.

Finished my 'run', delivered my load, hurried home to park 'the truck' and get back into my Mini E.

Still flawless (in spite of all other negative reports,) Cooper E is performing very well with no problems to report.

Tomorrow (Sunday Aug. 16,) we will participate in the Crevier Mini Road Rally finishing at Newport Dunes. I will report on that with photos, have fun, I am!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Other interesting Projects:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hydrogen vs. Electricity

Following, is the body of a letter available on:

"I am writing today regarding the transportation “Hydrogen Economy” being proposed by Big Oil and our government. A “Hydrogen Economy” is not in the best interest of the general public, it serves big industry only.

Hydrogen is a dangerous fuel, it is far more combustible than gasoline, it requires a great deal of energy to extract and it demands a new infrastructure for delivery. This will cost hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars. Further, the widespread use of hydrogen is unsafe and I refuse to use a technology that will endanger me or my family, especially my children.

I will not sell out the safety of myself and my family for the benefit of the oil and auto industries. These industries know that the use of hydrogen as a fuel is unsafe!

A solution to the use of hydrogen as a fuel is the use of the electricity. Toyota produced 100% electric vehicles, over ten years ago, that are still running today, exceeding performance expectations of 80-120 miles per charge and still running after 100,000 miles. The NiMH battery patent technology responsible for this performance is being prohibited for use in high range 100% electric vehicle.

The owner of the patents related to NiMH batteries is Chevron Corporation.

This obvious technology suppression is an insult to American intelligence, a threat to our national security, and serves only to benefit the oil industry.

Please invoke President Obama to execute Eminent Domain and/or Compulsory Licensing over NiMH battery patents to free America of oil dependence and allow for ongoing automotive ingenuity using a technology that is safe, clean, free of foreign dependency and proven in reliability.

P.S. An excellent resource for comprehensive analysis of this issue is book "Two Cents per Mile" by Nevres Cefo."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Seems to me

There is a lot of talk running around about problems with the MINI E and the 'test program'.
I would like to put in my 'two cents' (which is what it costs to drive me nearly a mile).

First, we all were warned there would be hiccups and delays as it is an Experimental car.
As far as I am concerned the car and program have been flawless and smoothly executed.
If I've had a question (one) or concern ( few) they have been answered quickly and efficiently with a simple phone call to the right person.

My Charger installation was smooth, efficient and professionally handled, inspection passed, I've been charging for two months, 3000 miles, no problems, no complaints.

The car:
• Fit and Finish: Perfect
• Design:
• Exterior: Perfect, wouldn't change a thing.
• Interior: Of course I would like the rear seat (battery box), more cargo space.
(future reduction or redesign of battery size will take care of this)
Love the look and feel of everything.
Would like to reorganize some of the digital information in dash.
• Performance: After two months = still WOW!
95 mph top speed is entirely adequate (more would only tempt me to get tickets).
Acceleration is astounding!
Regenerative braking is wonderful, miss it when driving other cars.
• Handling: Superior!
Everything I would expect from a Mini and more.
love the extra battery weight, feels like I'm glued to the road.
• Range: Entirely adequate for a day to day 40 mile commute or running around town.
(150 to 200 miles would be superior, I'm sure ((hope)) this is future possible.)
• Charging: Couldn't be simpler or safer.
(Future Standard Plug and Infrastructure will nice.)

All said, my experience so far has convinced me this IS the car of the future NOW.

We CAN drive Electric Cars NOW, the infrastructure exists NOW, there is plenty of power to charge OFF PEAK, I have done 3000 miles in two months just running around town and haven't bought an ounce of Gasoline and have been only responsible for a mere tiny fraction of the pollution produced by power generation facilities.

As my wife says, (as a Mom with two sons growing up and all the things they have to do and events they have to attend)
She drives tens of thousands of miles a year - one mile at time!

All that could be done in an ELECTRIC vehicle.
(reducing ones carbon footprint on the Planet).

WE ARE doing it right NOW,
YOU CAN TOO, look into it.
Even Hybrids are a step in the right direction.

Voice your opinion, let them know WE want these cars NOW.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Back in the 'E' (ticket) seat.

Well, that was fun, a day with the Z4, but I'm actually happy to be back in the Mini E.
Service went very well, the 'flying Dr' came down early to inspect Cooper E, he passed all the tests and I got the call to pick him up at 5:00.
2930 miles when I brought him in, 2936 when I picked him up. $0 spent.

Looking forward to a nice weekend of cruising in Cooper E.

3000 Pollution Free Miles!

In to Crevier Mini for mandatory 3000 mile Checkup this morning.
So far Cooper E 230 has been flawless!
Service advisor Ken Woods told me the 'Flying Dr' would have to look at it and might not get to it till this afternoon, he would call.

Went to the loaner desk and the girl says "How about a Z4?"
What was I gonna say, "Sorry, I've given up Gasoline"?
"Why Sure" says I!

So, I'll be doing some damage to my carbon footprint today, not much though as BMW makes some very efficient engines!

Thank You Crevier and MiniUsa for all the fun I am having!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Newport to Marina Del Rey and Venice and back.

Had a 9:30 am meeting in Venice, right down by the boardwalk, turns out it is exactly 50% of my power reserve from home (Newport Beach). After, about 11:00, going to Lunch we drove a few blocks to Marina Del Rey where there is a fellow Mini Pioneer at New Deal Studios, Shannon Gans. Pulled around back to where I know the charger is, plugged in (as I had already cleared permission with Shannon) jumped into my friends car and went around the corner to have some lunch at Souplantation. Back to the Studio, pick up Cooper E and head home with all accessories on, back to full charge for a angst free ride home. Arrived home having used a little more than 50%.

The Actual 95 to 100 mile range is just shy of adequate for most travel in the LA area for me coming from Newport Beach. It's been totally adequate for daily run around things in Orange County but venture out and I need a boost. It's great to have a list of chargers to consult and access to them, it just takes a little more planning and conscious effort.

My Hollywood runs are 55 miles each way, 150 mile range would have been excellent but I am averaging 94 to 103.

Eventually a 200 mile range would be excellent, hopefully by the time this, or any other Electric car, makes it to market that will be feasible.

• 60 amp chargers at the dealers are WONDERFUL.
• 110 volt charger is for extreme dire emergency only, (no wonder the Pioneers that had only that in the beginning were so frustrated.)
• Wonder if the guts of the charger could be 'on board' the car, so you could just plug into any 220 outlet. (car could sense and self adjust amperes)

Today is absolutely beautiful, plugged in last night, tanks full of kilowatts, think I'll take a little drive!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Addendum to Aug 2, blog

After arriving home from our venture to Malibu and back, son Jamie charged the car for 2 hours and with a friend headed back out for the evening. Checked the ODO this morning and they added 55 miles upping yesterdays total to nearly 200 miles! 3 partial charges in one day!

By the way, added something to the back hatch under the license plate, Pep Boys $1.99 per letter.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Malibu BBQ - 148 miles RT

110v Charger plugged into GFI Circuit, charging happily away.

Saturday we drove 74 miles to our Malibu friends house for BBQ.
Planning to overnight, I knew we could find a charger nearby but wanted to try the 110v cord that comes with the car.

Arriving at 3:00 pm with about 25% left of a Full charge we immediately plugged the car into a GFI circuit at the alley wall of the house and left it to charge.

Many others have written of problems with GFI circuits and report that they do not work,
we had NO SUCH problem, the car charged fine.

We had a wonderful afternoon and evening with our friends, went to bed, awoke, had breakfast, walked on the beach and checking the car at Noon found we had 90% charge.

Thinking we can surely drive the 74 miles home, we said goodbyes and started out.
Perhaps because it was Sunday and there was No Traffic we made great time.
Watching my Odometer, the Computer Estimate of miles remaining and calculating,
doing the math, because we were making such 'good time' I calculated we were going to be about 5 miles short on range!

Not wanting to walk 5 miles or wait for a tow truck, we called Long beach Mini which was right on the way, just off the freeway at Cherry Ave in Signal Hill. A quick look at the card in the glovebox for the number, call LB MINI, ask if "we can get a charge?" and the reply is "Not on Sunday, Service Dept is Closed, no charger."

We called again and asked for someone involved with the Mini E program and I was about to tell them we were coming anyway and they could find someone with the keys, when a new voice came on the line and said "OK, Ask for Junior!"

We arrived, a very nice young fellow met us at the door for us, I asked for Junior, He said "I'm Junior! Would you like some nice cold water?"

I told him we were looking for a half hour charge and he said "where are the keys?"
I gave them to him, he took the car.

We had a nice half hour rest looking at new Mini's and BMW's next door, had a nice talk with a Beemer salesman, 'Junior' came back with the car and we were on our way again with a 75% charge and two bottles of cold water.

Thank You Junior Mercado, as with most of the people from BMW and MINI we've met since joining this program, you couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating, Fine Job!

As it happened, the bottom line was we made it home with 25% remaining, thats exactly what we added in the half hour stop at Long Beach Mini. If we hadn't stopped at Long Beach Mini, we would have necessarily called 'The' truck or worse, had to start Walking as, due to the 'short' charge, we would have used ALL our range and had nothing left.

The Important Point of all this for other Mini E drivers is:
• The Dealer chargers are only actually available during normal business hours and NOT on Sunday.
• And don't take NO for an answer, ask for someone else who knows what you are talking about and realizes that we are all in this together and They Can Help.

Still loving this little Car!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Second Month EDISON Billing

Total cost of ALL my Pollution Free driving this month is: $56.00!
'Fuel' Cost per mile still about a nickel!

If you factor in the cost of the lease it adds about 83 cents per mile this month.
(Didn't drive as many miles as I was in Hawaii, without Cooper E, for half the month)

The 2 weeks I was home and Jamie's use while I was gone totaled about 1100 miles.

We will make the 74 mile trip to Malibu for a Bar B Que this Saturday, the plan is to plug-in to 110v the moment we get there, enjoy the BBQ, friendship, walk/play on the beach, maybe stay overnight, breakfast, unplug and drive home. We know (from the charger share website) there are several fast chargers in the vicinity if we need them.

Won't it be great when Electric Car availability and use grows to the point we have a charger infrastructure and a proliferation of Silent, Non Polluting Electric cars on the roads.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wind Power, No Gas either.

This was my recreational toy for 24 years.
Thousands of miles sailed without ever burning a drop of fuel!
No engine, only Dacron cloth sails,
(OK, they were made from a petrochemical I suppose)
wonderful, silent, renewable, non polluting powered FUN!
She is made of wood and canvas, still sailing with a new master and will celebrate her 100th birthday in a few years.
I've always enjoyed alternative power sources, it's not entirely necessary to burn oil to get through our daily chores or even to have fun.

Think of it, when my boat was built in 1923, Electric Autos, Trains and Electric powered Public Transportation were in common use, The Red Car Line (Electric) ran from the Balboa Peninsula, to downtown Los Angeles (6th & Wilshire) in 40 minutes, a thermos of coffee and the LA Times and you were downtown.

We've progressed so far!

They have recently rebuilt some of the system that was torn out in my childhood (the 50's) in favor of big oil and rubber, we'll never get it all back, however Public Transportation in LA is moving once again in the right direction.

Thinking has come full circle, vastly improved technology is presenting us New Ways to move into the future on Old Ideas.

I love driving this Electric Car, the MINI E.
Almost daily someone asks .."really...only Electric, no Gas?"
"How fast does it go? 40?"
I give them a ride and they are amazed!
A quick spurt to 80mph (knowing there's more left), all they can say is "WOW, why don't we ALL drive these!"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back in the Saddle again!

Returned, rested from Paradise, to find Cooper E has exceeded 2000 mi. on the ODO, thanks to son Jamie.

Still performing perfectly, Cooper E now has his environmental plates and we are still working on the ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) sticker which will allow me to drive in the HOV lane alone.

It seems even though I filled in all the boxes on the application, Electric, even writing 'This is an ELECTRIC car', the DMV still believed it must be 'Compressed Natural Gas'.

They returned my application as 'Incomplete'.

Deciding this will be fun, I took Cooper E to a local DMV office for 'Verification' this morning.
While waiting in the lineup of cars, the Security Guard checking the lines asked what I wanted, "Verification, They don't believe it's Electric" a nice conversation ensues with the Security Guard voicing all the normal concerns," Don't you miss the engine noise? How far does it go? Does it just stop when it runs out? What do you do when it runs out?" I express to him that non of these things are really concerns in my Daily routine as I enjoy impressive acceleration without the exploding roar, I've not run out yet, I rarely exceed the cars range in my daily tasks, I plug it in, go to bed and have a full tank in the morning for less than 3 bucks.

The seriously poker faced inspector arrives and proceeds to look the car over, matching vin numbers, reading labels, etc etc, looks in the filler cap and says " I see you have two modes of power here" I said WHAT? he says you put some kind of gas in here (pointing to the Electric plug socket) I said NO thats where you plug in the Electricity! I open the rear hatch, show him the battery box, he says "Open it up" I said "I can't, they won't let me" I showed him the Emergency Cutoff switch, pulled one of the handy little information cards I'd just received in the 'goody' box, handed it to him. He read the card, handed it back and, finally, walking back to the engine compartment, still sure I'm hiding another motor somewhere, finds and reads the sticker on the hood which reads' ZEV fuel=Li*'.

He turns to me and says "you have Li * fuel---I guess that means battery!"

He signs the paper ELECTRIC - Li Fuel, hands it to me and says send it in to Sacramento with 8 bucks.

to be Continued, I'm Sure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Sorry, this is what I'll be looking at for the next week.
The Big Island calls, so Jamie will be driving (and hopefully helping me blog)
So I'm off in the morning to snorkel, paddle, swim, visit with some old friends in paradise, I'll be walking and riding bikes (what a great place it would be for Cooper E!).

Very comfortable ride today to Fullerton and back to visit a project I have in process at Kickstart Customs. Gave Master Painter Jimmy (motorhead) a chance to drive the future, needless to say very impressed and surprised at Cooper's performance abilities!
That's a tease as I might let you know about project 'X' later (someday if all goes well).

I'll miss the little guy, Cooper won't be lonely, Jamie is here to exercise him.

See you soon, Aloha!

Meet Up!

Well 017 and I decided to meet up at Beach Burgers in HB, we were told it was 'Mini Night', they knew nothing of it.
Turned out it was just US.
We had a fine time eating delicious burgers and talking about experiences with our 'rides' (even though we are just beginning).

I am driving Cooper E every day, 60 to 80 miles average with plenty of charge left over at the end of the day, still thoroughly enjoying every aspect of this machine!
Son Jamie then takes over and drives the night shift doing whatever it is he does.
When done, Jamie plugs in and when I arise, in the morning, Cooper is Full and ready to go for another day.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Just thought I would introduce the COOPER E family to you.
Son Jamie, who attended the Inauguration in Washington D.C., Sociologist, Scientist, Mathematician - Son Ian, who is currently (for the last year) traveling around the world on his feet, couch surfing and whatever Public transport he can find, brilliant multidimensional personality, Jamie and Ian's Mom Suzi and Dad (me) Jim.

COOPER E is My project (in that I pay the bills) but we all drive him (except Ian, whose carbon footprint is pretty tiny right now).

We feel very lucky to have been chosen to drive the Mini E for this year long (short) testing experience!

Stop by occasionally for updates and Please, leave comments or questions, or even requests for a test drive!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cost results are in!

Received my Edison TOU (Time Of Use) meter bill yesterday.
TOU is the separate meter installed by Edison to monitor the power consumption of the 240 volt 40 amp charger exclusive to the Mini E.

The breakdown on the rate sheet is very complex but shows the percentage of sources behind the power you used. almost 25% was provided by DWR (Department of water Resources)

The Bill, including the $15 account setup charge, totals $91.14.
$76.14 is the cost the electricity I used in the process of driving over 1200 miles since installing the meter. (I've deducted the mileage driven the day I used 'New Deal's charger to recharge mid-run to Hollywood)

This works out to fractions more than .06 cents per mile for "fuel" (electricity).

Add the cost of the lease (which I don't pay till next month) the total cost, including lease, for the next 1200 miles (one month) will be around .83 cents per mile.

Compare this to the $1.84 it has cost (fuel and cost of vehicle) me to drive a mile in my 'other' vehicle (F250 Diesel, it's paid for now, so I'll keep it for the occasional hauling/towing trip)

To "fuel" 1200 miles in my other vehicle (@.1875 cents per mile @$3 per gallon) would have cost at least $225.

My fuel saving, this month, is nearly $150!

Add to this saving, the JOY I feel while driving the CLEANEST, least polluting, car on the planet.

I'm a Happy Boy!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

How many tons of pollution do stoplights produce?

I've always hated idling at long stoplights, wasting fuel and polluting the air we breathe.
Driving the Mini E it's wonderful to sit now at a long stoplight and know I am not contributing. Yesterday I had to fire up the 'Dino' fuel truck and haul something I couldn't fit in the Mini. Really hated to do it but had no choice.

It's amazing how different I felt driving it after a month of Electric Car heaven.
The guilt I felt idling at stoplights, the sound of the engine, I used to like to hear, now sounds primitive and unnecessary.

Personally I can't wait for this to be my reality!

My next investigation is the conversion of my roof to Solar collection, I know it's expensive and I probably won't live to see the payoff but I feel it's worth investigation. There would be no better feeling than to know I was cleanly generating the power necessary to haul me around in my daily routine.

I can't make Hydrogen, or natural gas, I don't want to spend money on foreign non renewable fuels, I CAN MAKE electricity, we have the technology, it is the OBVIOUS SOLUTION.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Saw 222 today.

Saw the second OTHER Mini E I've seen on the road.

For the 2nd time in the month I've had COOPER E,
I had to fire up the Diesel truck to haul something I couldn't fit
in the Mini. So I was cruising south on Jamboree in my Ford Diesel Truck and there it was, a Mini E, gliding along in the fast lane beside me!
Of course he couldn't know I had one too, so I just watched as he passed by with a huge smile on his face.

I got home and looked up 222 in charger sharing website but he hasn't signed up,
so, don't know who you are 222.

Anyway, welcome, we should all have a meetup someday!

Monday, June 22, 2009
Just a reminder
this is what it is like
to drive a vehicle
powered by CLEAN,
It is empowering
and refreshing
and guilt free.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Turned 1000 miles today

ODO: 1046 miles
TOU: 310 kwh

mileage: 3.4 mpkwh

Cost: about a nickel a mile!

I get my Edison bill soon I'll report exactly what the cost is.


My son Jamie and I were invited to go along on a scheduled tour of SpaceX, with the kind folks from New Deal Studios.

We left at 9am, again the philosophy was to keep it under 65 mph, no a/c, drove the 40 miles and arrived having used 40%.

After our visit we decided to head home and not overly mind the mph but keep it down with an occasional burst to 70 mph, run the a/c, etc for the 40 mile ride. We arrived home having used 40% of our battery charge! 20% left.

Space X is Space Exploration Technologies, founded by Elon Musk who is also responsible for the Tesla electric car.

We not only toured the entire manufacturing facility (800,000 lb thrust rocket motors, etc) but saw in the back of the building, in a little white tent, the first Tesla roadster along side two Model S prototype cars! A wonderful facility, where Boeing used to assemble 747's, is now Spacex where alongside rocket engines they are building the prototype Teslas completely in house!

All of this right here in Southern California, privately funded.

As we finished the tour, everyone wanted to see the Mini E. Soon the entire Tesla design team had spilled out of the building to surround our Mini E, inspect it and ask questions about range, performance, how we liked driving it etc, etc.

Talking with the youthful Tesla engineers and designers was truely a joy and I felt the passion they feel for what they are doing and the happiness they felt to see another electric car on the road, we all agreed that once you drive Electric, you don't want to go back to gas!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

109.8 miles!

Today I made my longest round trip yet in the Mini E.

Starting out about 9am, in normally heavy LA morning traffic, I had decided my strategy would be to keep my speed under 60 mph when traffic flowed, use the regenerative braking whenever possible and utilize the gradual inclines and declines I really hadn't paid much attention to before. As I flowed with the stop and go traffic, I actually watched at one point as the battery readout read 58% fluctuated and improved to 63% as I used the regenerative braking. This happened repeatedly.

Arrived for my meeting at FOX at 52 miles with 51% charge left.

Returning to my parked car I was nervous, I had 51 % to get home, I might make it, might not.

I drove 8 miles to Marina Del Rey, to a friends Studio, where I knew there was a charger. They have a car coming, arrives next Monday.

So, at 60 miles, 48% charge left, I borrowed some juice, after a nice tour of the Studio, chat about cars in general and Mini E in particular with a lot of very nice people on lunch break, a one and half hour charge brought me to 80%.

I then headed safely home. I arrived home having traveled 109.8 miles having 29% charge left.

Simple math 80-29=51% (what it took to get home), add the 49% (I used to get to the meeting) = 100%.

Maybe I cheated by getting a touch up mid course but I wasn't sure I would make it and the opportunity to charge was there.

I really don't think you can count on more than 1% per mile and generally less especially in Southern California but the regen does seem to help and I think mileage really benefits from heavy traffic. (a new way of looking at rush hour)

All's well that ends well, another successful day in the life of COOPER E 230, and our horizons continue to broaden.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First long run to Hollywood.

Tomorrow I am making my first long run into Hollywood then Marina Del Rey from Newport Beach (about 65 miles one way).
I need to do a meeting in town, something I used to do every day, 130 miles round trip,
since I am getting 80 to 100 miles per charge, it will be difficult to get there and back on one charge. I am determined to do it, however, I really hate driving anything else at this point.

Shannon at New Deal Studios has graciously offered her charger for a brush up before I attempt the run home, so after my meeting at FOX I will cross town to Marina Del Rey and get an hours worth of juice at New Deal. Planning to be there during 'Rush' hour, I'll have my laptop, so all is not lost (I could be sitting on the freeway). It's really kind of fun having to plan your moves a little more than normal, think about range, strategy, timing, desirability of certain routes over others, etc., whatever makes your day, huh.

So, I'll let you know how it went, hopefully I won't have to make the 'call'.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Show me yours - I'll show you mine!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Second Week 6/13/09

Today I put 50 miles on COOPER E, a wonderful drive up Pacific Coast Hiway (PCH) to Long Beach to visit friends. Saw #140 in Belmont Shore, my first sighting of another Mini E, did a double take as I passed by and saw it parked at the curb.

A few more test drivers today and I am noticing the recurrence of some initial concerns people have as they realize it is an ALL Electric car, not Hybrid.

First concern is Range. Really, how many people drive an excess of 50 miles a day to work?
I used to drive 55 miles, thats 110 Round Trip and after 5 years it nearly killed me. Even that was theoretically in the range of this car.

Today, however, most of the work I do is done at home, digitally delivered, and I find I am averaging no more, many less, than 50 or 60 miles daily (some of which is just because COOPER E is so much fun to drive) waiting till off peak hours, plug in before bed and wake up to a full tank in the morning, it's so easy!

Funny, what seems to concern some people most about driving an electric car,
(before they ride in or drive the car), is that they think they will miss the sound of the engine, the exhaust note, the engine rev cues.
Only after they get in the car and feel the acceleration, experience silently gliding and instantly accelerating from speed to pass, hearing only wind noise and tires wearing on the road, the performance is so overwhelming, sound is no longer important.

They exit the car saying.."this IS the future!"
Because we are used to it, the sound of cylinders exploding and sending gases thru the exhaust is what we associate with speed. Once you feel what the electric car can do, drive it, feel the tremendous performance, the joy of driving cleanly leaving NO noise pollution or fumes behind, its so exhilarating the sound no longer matters.
Eventually it seems the proof lies simply in a short test drive, demonstration of the fact you can do all that which a gasoline driven car can, with this alternative, renewable source of power that is accessible through wind, solar, geothermal, hydraulic generation, non of which use up non-renewable resources.

The infrastructure for the delivery of electricity already exists, we all have electric power in our homes.

How many of us drive further than 50 miles to work each day?

We CAN do Electric Cars NOW, take the time, continue developing other fuels, Hydrogen, Fuel Cell, etc., systems requiring development of entirely new delivery infrastructures but get the Electric Car on the road now.

Begin the process of replacing Dinosaur Fuels today, for me it feels REALLY good.

Can you imagine what the very near future could be?

Test drive an Electric Car, it IS the future and it is HERE today!

Soon they will be affordable and available if we really show them we want them!