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!