Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Electric Cars and Rain.

Just got back from a long drive in pouring rain in my ALL Electric Mini E.

Some people have some objection to this, I've had NO problems or fears of driving in the rain.

The Car still performs flawlessly rain or shine!

There are SO many little reasons people give for not trying an Electric car but it is my experience that the moment you get in and try one those dissipate and you are overwhelmed with the freedom of driving on pollution free, efficient, inexpensive and readily available Electricity!

Out in the early morning on a full charge, after an hour of driving errands I pull into the garage, plug in and sip cheep electricity (as it is still off peak until noon) refilling while I take care of home business then unplug my car at noon and with a full battery continue on with the day. This packs many more than the 120 miles I normally get on a full battery.

Many more miles than I can possibly use in a normal day.

Need to occasionally go much further than 120 miles, I use my other car (or rent one)!

Thats how I roll!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December, the end of TwentyTen!

Well, I'm back from Hungary.

It took a little longer than expected, you see Angelina Jolie decided to shoot her movie in the same castle we were using and she bumped us from October to November which put us into a different weather pattern and made shooting even colder and if-ier.

We lucked out though and had unusually great weather for November and finished in 30 days of shooting.

We had Russian VOLGA's, LADA's, belching gas and diesel fumes, all manor of vehicles supporting us.

I didn't touch a steering wheel for two months though and was driven or walked everywhere I needed to go.

Returning home I couldn't wait to see COOPER E and jump in for a drive!

I feel like I need to air the fumes of Eastern Europe out of my chest, it's amazing how much cleaner the air really is in California!

It seems the rollout of the New Electric Cars is picking at an amazing pace, just since I've been gone the Leaf has hit the road, so to the Chevy Volt (friends got theirs) Think City and more, it's really exciting, people will soon learn the fun and freedom of driving pollution free electric vehicles not tied to War Oil.

Well, Happy Holidays and Happy New Electric Year 2011, I'm back and will try to catch up on E-News.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Read This about Lithium Ion and Batteries!

I get a lot of questions about "Lithium Batteries, environmental effect, short supply, recycling, etc etc, Read the following link for a more informed view of where it's coming from, how much there is and how recyclable it is.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Might have to leave the Mini E behind!

I've got a gig in Hungary for the month of October.
It's GOOD to have work - but NOT good to have to leave my little Electric car here!

A friend (a Writer) has asked me to Art Direct his movie, we will be shooting in a wonderful French Renaissance mansion, built in 1883 on a large wooded property about 40 km from Budapest.
Needless to say the property has been through a lot in the political turmoils of the last century and has picked up a wonderful patina of age and neglect that is perfect for this film.
The Manse will act as our scripts 'Castle' and provide the ambiance for the 'Vampire' story he has written.
Shooting the whole month of October and into the first weeks of November, we are hoping for some snow to enhance the final scenes.

I'll be examining what's happening in Hungary on the 'electric vehicle' front and will report if I find anything of interest.

My wife and son will have to put some miles on lil' Cooper E for me while I'm gone.

Meanwhile, Cooper E is performing perfectly, I just couldn't be happier, it IS the perfect run around, commute, go here, go there, short hops and longer vehicle for me!

Go try one (an Electric Car or Hybrid), give it some thought, keep a record of your daily mileage and you might be surprised how easily your commute or the majority of your running around fits within 100-120 miles.

Think about this - when day is done, you simply plug-in and charge while you sleep, on cheap off peak electricity, when you awake, your tank is full, you've spent less than $3 for electricity, unplug and go do stuff!

My tank (battery) is simply always FULL!

See you in November,
(if the movie turns out good I may tell you it's name, otherwise...well, see ya).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gone Racing!

My sons and I were invited to participate in the Monterrey Historic Car Races (now sponsored by Rolex) at Laguna Seca this year. The only catch - my youngest son wanted to go see his favorite band (Gogol Bordello) perfom in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park on Saturday. 

Not wanting to drive the extra 4 hours to drop him there and pick him up later, primarily not wanting to miss any of the 18 races per day Sat and Sun, I concluded that since we 'have the equipment' we would load the Electric Mini E in our car trailer, tow it to Monterrey, drop the trailer at our Hotel and son #2 would drive the F250 to San Fran and see his band play.

Son #1 and I then had two wonderful days of driving our Electric Mini E among some of the Rarest, most expensive, even Priceless Historic Racing Cars in the world.

There were 3 Bugatti Veyrons (most expensive and fastest production car in the world) there and we were the Only Mini E. We generated some interest even though everyone was there for the gasoline explosions while racing these rare cars.

The Massive 1917 Hall Scott factory racing car, 4 cylinders, 10 litres!
Each cylinder is 2.5 litres.
They fired it up for a qualifying race and blew the valve in number 2 cylinder, right out through the head!
I offered condolences and they chuckled and said "oh we have a spare engine."

This is one of the two cars we were there to support,
an ARGO.
600 horse power, 1300 pounds.

The other car, 
1981 Lotus Factory F1.

Both cars are owned and driven by my friend Jeff,who invited us to crew for him at the races.

We put 100 miles on the Mini E traveling each day from Monterey and Salinas to the track and back.
Sunday morning Son #2 returned with the truck and enjoyed a day of racing with us.

Sunday night we packed up the Mini E with about 8 miles left on the ODO, hitched up the trailer and headed for the 7 hour drive home, 

what a great weekend!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Moving into August

Nothing new to report, just thought I would let you know I am still here and loving the Electric Life!

I am constantly amused at the comments made by those just discovering the fact that the Electric Car is Here! Comments like:
• "Oh' it's a commuter,
•.... what if I want to go to Las Vegas?,
•.....It's a Novelty,
•......only a 100 miles, what do I do if I run out of charge?

All of these comments/questions are so simple to answer it doesn't make any sense to even respond, it just shows how little thought is given to the possibility that this change could actually happen and be beneficial to all.

• Yes, it's a commuter, I put over 15,000 miles on mine in one year!
• Want to go to Las Vegas? Rent a car or even faster, fly.
• Sure it's a Novelty but only for the moment, soon there will be thousands of them driving, silently, cleanly, swiftly on all our highways.
• If you run out of charge, merely Plug it In, go to sleep, go have dinner, enjoy a sunset, visit with friends, Do Something while your car charges for a couple hours, then drive home (Hopefully you are driving somewhere to actually Do something).

The POINT IS you charge your batteries while you are doing something outside the car!

One of the silliest is "So your car is Electric, the Electricity has to come from a Powerplant that is producing pollutants" The answer to that is that it is much easier to control emissions at the smokestack than at the tailpipe, besides, here in California, much of our power is generated in cleaner ways, Solar, Wind, Nuclear, and steam.

An Electric car is responsible for a minutia of the pollution a Gasoline powered auto produces.

The most important use of my Electric car is all the little short trips/errands (15,000 miles last year) that go into the makeup of everyday life!

Think about it, investigate, there are now coming available many choices,
• Tesla
• Think City
• Smart
• Nissan Leaf
• Chevy Volt

I love my MINI E, I only wish I could buy it!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

TOTAL COST for the Year May 31, 2009 to May 31, 2010!

Just some rough Math to round out the cost of driving this Electric Car.

My total mileage for the year came in at 14,000 miles on May 31, 2010.
I was a few miles short so drove around the block some to make it exactly 14,000.

Divide 14,000 miles by the cost of the Lease at $927.50 (incl Tax) for eleven months
( I was given one month free in the beginning).
Total Cost of lease - an Expensive $10,202.50 for eleven months (those who adopt early pay the price)
Total cost of Electricity (Energy) - TOU off peak - an INexpensive $540 for the 12 months.
Insurance (the part not covered by BMW) $286 for the 12 months.

Total cost of operation (based on 14,000 miles of use),
Lease, Tax, License, Electricity and Insurance = less than 79 cents per mile!
Total cost of Energy (alone) = less than .03 cents per mile!

It is the most expensive CAR PAYMENT I have ever had.
However, it is the CHEAPEST CAR (and most fun) TO OPERATE I have ever driven.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Looking Forward!

Well, the year has ended, 14,000 Total miles of pollution free Electric driving has proven to me that this system really works and is completely viable for everyday use, even in the 'Urban Sprawl' of a place like Los Angeles and Orange Counties California!

Yes, the freeway acts to both Reduce and Extend range (depending on time of day you choose to use it)
Yes, it's cool to use the HOV lane in a ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) while riding alone
(however only on short runs as high speed does swallow range!)
Yes you have to THINK about your route, range, available chargers, speed, drafting,
but that's REALLY FUN for me, those things, coupled with the outstanding Performance and Handling, takes the boredom out of a drive that has become, well, boring!

So, BMW has asked if I would like to stay on and I answered with a resounding YES!

I'll be continuing to drive this wonderful little car for another year, till May 2011!

I'll also be watching the developments as other Electric Cars roll out on the market, eagerly watching performance and range figures and realities,
it's a great innovative time we live in!

Here's to - looking forward!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Did I ever tell you how much I like driving an EV?

14,000 miles in Eleven months!
An average of 44 miles per day, every day!

Sure there have been a few 150 and 200 mile days,
and a few days when the car never left the garage,
PROOF that, even in Los Angeles, California, the 100 - 120 mile range is totally
adequate for daily run around and commute,
(for me and I would bet, in reality, millions of other people who currently don't think a BEV is for them).

Sure, I do own another car (Diesel), it's a truck, which I need for pulling heavy things, but the BULK of my transportation needs are more than adequately covered in my 100 (120) mile 'Range' of Clean, Quiet, Smooth, High Performance, Exciting ALL ELECTRIC powered MINI E!

When I have to, or want to, travel outside the range of my MINI E
I have the option of using my truck (which is very comfortable)
for long trips.

There are four drivers in my family and four vehicles, one of them is Electric.
Which one do you think gets driven most? (because it's more fun to drive)
Which one sat so long it's batteries went dead? (Hint: Diesels have 2 batteries)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

MINI E Meetup at AC Propulsion.

Fourteen cars!

Got together today at AC Propulsion in San Dimas, California, the Company that produced the Motor, Battery and Electronic controllers for our BMW converted MINI E's.

A very interesting tour of the facility, looking inside the components of the car (that are sealed in ours) a chance to satisfy some of the curiosity of what's in that gold box under the hood and what's really occupying the back seat!

Tom Gage, CEO of AC Propulsion, shows the Dyno test stand where Motor Armatures are tested.

Afterwards we got together at a Red Robin Restaurant for some food and friendship, Nice People, Nice Day!

Sunday, April 25, 2010



Moving Parts.

At one time or another
in my 67 years of life
I have experienced the
of at least one (and more) of these
CRITICAL parts of automobiles I have driven:

Spark Plugs
Starter Motor
Coolant, Anti Freeze
Fan Belt

Manifold Gasket(s)
Piston Rings
Freeze out Plugs
Fuel Pump
and More!

of these parts
in my 13,000 miles
of travel spanning these 11 months.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Another year, still working on that Carbon Footprint!

Yes, I'm in the process of signing up for another year of test driving the MINI E!

It's just too much fun to drive and the clean, guilt free, feeling I get when running my little errands, 40, 80 and 100 miles a day, is just too good to give up and return to driving a fossil fuel powered vehicle!

My Diesel truck is wonderful for those long runs, hauling things and it will last twice as long now that I am putting upwards of 15,000 miles a year on the Electric MINI E and NOT on the truck!

I REALLY HOPE manufacturers will recognize the need for and find ways to economically build Battery Electric Powered Vehicles for the mainstream buyer!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shoulda taken the Horse and Buggy!

At the turn of the last Century you had to make the choice between the tried and true, reliable Horse and buggy or try the New unreliable Gasoline automobile.

Gasoline was hard to find, grass was everywhere.

Many people were nervous about the ability of the Gas powered car to go very far beyond town limits,
they had 

Range Anxiety!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Think about it

Well, lots of talk about what to do now that we have our new Lease offers from BMW, I'm thinking it over for a while before I decide to continue.

It's the general thought, among those of us driving the all Electric MINI E, that there will soon be purchase options and it doesn't make much sense to continue 'renting' (leasing) at such an expensive rate when that money can be applied to, or saved for, the purchase of a New Electric Vehicle. I might stick around for a chance at the ACIVE E but I have always preferred to OWN my cars, drive them many years and am looking forward to doing that in a BEV.

Having driven more  than 11,000 miles since May 2009, I KNOW that the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is COMPLETELY VIABLE in my daily life (even at a 100 mile range limit) and I feel it is time to incorporate one into the Rest of my life!

90 percent of ALL my driving has been accomplished within this much talked about 100 mile range, other trips, longer out of town, towing, hauling are accomplished with my 2003 F-250 Diesel Truck which gets great mileage for a vehicle of it's size and weight on the road (26 mpg).

This next week, I will be working a Movie set 51 miles from home. The F-250 will be driven to set by my son as he does errands on the way in to town.
I will drive the MINI E.
We'll park the truck in a secure lot for the week and commute together in the MINI E round trip 102 miles each day, Friday Ian will do returns of rental props etc, with the F-250 Truck, I will drive home in the MINI E and meet him there.

This Weeks total mileage:
158 miles on Diesel fuel @16 mpg city, (not so clean!)
Diesel cost = $29 for one day.

510 miles (plus) on Electricity @ .03 cents per mile, Clean!
(saving the equivalent of $96. worth of Diesel fuel)

Electricity cost = $15.30 for 5 days!

Saving money and the added joy of driving CLEAN!

Now THAT feels good!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lease Extension News!

News is forthcoming (hopefully in a week or two) about whether or not our time with the All Electric MINI E will be extended.

Received the email today that says look for news soon, the Good News will be a year long extension, the Bad would be having to give the car up in May 2010. I am eagerly awaiting the news as I have proven that the car works absolutely perfectly for my daily driving situation! Having driven 11,000 miles in 8 months, to every little part of Los Angeles and Orange Counties here in Southern California.

Yesterday, for example, I drove from Newport Beach to the Venice boardwalk to visit an artist friend at his studio. Venice is about as far as you can drive in one direction from Newport, 51.7 miles, 103.4 round trip. My friend and I talked for about an hour then went to lunch then back to the Studio and, after 3 hours, I left for home. By the way 3 hours is more than enough time to charge to full capacity from a dead battery if i had a charger available but my meter said I still had more than 50% left so no charge was necessary to get back home.

Returning home, I merely watched my speed, kept well within legal speed limits and arrived home with 15% battery left after 103.4 miles, more than adequate surplus power to even take a few short trips to market, the beach etc., before putting myself and the car to bed for the night and plugging in at my garge charge point.

I've been reading, on the internet, comments people make about Electric Cars, range, anxiety, battery electric not for them, etc., and can't help but think what they will be missing out on by not even considering trying such a wonderful way of getting around.

11,000 miles translates to Tons of pollutants that would have been added to the atmosphere we breathe had I driven my Diesel truck for the last 8 months,
that does make a difference!

I really DO HOPE to continue with the BMW/MINI E program, if not, I will certainly find another way to supplement my traveling around with an Electrically driven vehicle because they are SO LOGICAL!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trying to tell me something?

Tried to start my Ford Diesel F250 truck that has been been sitting since I got the MINI E,
Both Batteries were dead!

Went to the Parts Store, bought and installed new batteries. 
Started the truck to test it and looked at the odometer - 
this is what I saw -

Do you think it had anything to do with the batteries being dead?
Or do you think someone is mad at me for not buying HIS fuel?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

One foot in the Future, one in the Past!

I must admit I love this stuff!

Today I went to the Grand National Roadster Show at the Pomona Fairplex, drove my Electric MINI E, (asked at the gate if they had parking for Electric cars, the attendant laughed, said NO) parked outside the NHRA Museum. Entering through the Museum, I passed the dry lake "Challenger" record holder etc etc, and all the famous racing, drag racing and Lakester cars of my youth (the 50's).

The Grand National Roadster Show is an event that has been running annually (originally in Oakland California) for 61 years or since I was 6 years old. I've been to a few over the years.
Today there were more than 800 absolutely beautiful, privately owned and restored cars, gassers mostly, a few steamers.

The finishes and materials, creativity, time and effort that goes into these labors of love are simply astounding.

You see, I also have this affliction in that my 'other' project
(begun years before I came to the realization that Electricity IS the immediate solution to one of the planets many problems) is the ground up restoration of one of those Hot Rods.
I came today to find parts and some input as I am nearly finished with what has proven to be a nearly five year project.
My 54 year old Hot Rod will be one of those labors of love, a work of art in metal, unfortunately powered by gasoline but intended only for weekend fun outings, the Electric Car serving very well as my Daily Driver and actually just as much fun to drive!

The Gasser has been relegated to it's rightful place, a functioning sculptural piece of great beauty, to be admired and driven only on a few special occasions.

It felt really good that I had driven the 40 miles each way, 80 mile round trip, on about 30 KWH of Electricity at a cost of about .07 cents a KWH ($2.10 total, less than the cost of a gallon of gas) to view a mind boggling display of absolutely beautiful metal sculptures and mechanical ingenuity from a soon to be bygone era!
My project isn't quite ready to reveal just yet, so I'll put a few other pics from todays show here for your enjoyment.

Make this one Electric it would be cool!
It's a Cadillac!

Boyd Coddington's 1939 Lincoln.

Won't it be cool when people discover the fun of driving an Electric Car and they have been around long enough for the backyard metalsmith to get hold of them and begin to work their magic and turn the Electric Car into a Powerful thing of Beauty.

Today, I saw a lot of "Circle/Slash Green" symbols, I don't know why, It's all about fun, appreciation and celebration of the creativity and ingenuity it takes to create these things and ultimately, I think, enjoying the drive, what's wrong with doing it in a "Green" way?

That's it for todays foot in the past, movin on!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Close Encounter with the CHP.

Driving the 5 freeway toward LA, using my Car Pool Stickers, I fly past a CHP (California Highway Patrol) cruiser parked behind an overpass pylon. I look in the rearview mirror and sure enough he lights up like a christmas tree and runs me down. I pull to the side of the narrow lane as carpool lane cars zip past at high speed.

He cautiously approaches the off road side and as I roll down the window, the officer asks "what happened?"
I return a questioning look and he says "You  are in a Carpool lane!" I say "yah" "I'm driving an Electric Car!" He responds "Electric?" as he notices the 'E' logo on the dash and brushes it with his hand.

 (Of course, in his rush to boost his quota with another expensive ticket, he hadn't noticed the no less than 3 White ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) stickers and the Chrome plated word 'ELECTRIC' under the rear license plate.

The officer then proceeds to walk around the front of the car, returning, says "you have no stickers!"
I point at the REAR of the car where there are 3 and he looks, then says "oh, you only have one, by the way that front license plate is illegal!" (He was talking about my 'Euro GB plate' which is a legal plate because it says the same thing my official California plate says.)

He handed me back my license, wrote something in his little notebook, smiled and said "Have a nice day!"

I wonder when they will inform the Officers in the cruisers about the MINI E?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

COOPER E 230 to the rescue!

Got a phone call from my wife at the Bank parking lot and she says "Guess what, my battery is dead!"

Since my truck was unavailable and on a run to San Diego with my son, I searched the garage for my spare set of jumper cables, found them and took a look under the hood of the MINI E to find the auxiliary battery that runs the onboard stuff is a healthy 12volts 70 amps.

Told her not to worry, don't call AAA and jumped in the MINI E with a set of jumper cables and went to the rescue.

I love this car!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yet another 'Focus' Group

Focused for 3 hours sunday with about 10 other Electric car drivers, answering questions about the Electric Car driving experience. I hope what was said helped enlighten those asking the questions.

I have No Idea who the Company was BUT for ME
 It was very helpful to hear 9 other unrelated people who are having as
100% positive an experience as I.
These were RAV 4 drivers (2) who have had their cars 7 years and have a LOT of experience,
Tesla  drivers (2) who were right there in the beginning,
the balance (6) were Mini E's.
One had both a Rav 4 and a Mini E (and a GEM).

The moderator asked many questions re: operation, range, capacity, style, price, etc, etc. The most interesting for ME (and I think the moderator) was the enthusiasm and 100% positive nature of all of our experiences with our All Electric cars.

Try one, you'll like it!

Another good read on MYTHS

Read this, even if you don't finish it you will be enlightened!

Monday, January 4, 2010


It's been a busy Holiday season!

We've had the pleasure of 'Baby sitting' my friends Mini E #136 while he is enjoying a family vacation in Hawaii.

It's been really fun having Two Mini E's in the family, the charger has been busy.

I am looking forward with much excitement to the new year and what Electric and Hybrid vehicles will do toward transforming our transportation choices!

We've just completed another of the Mini reporting events, detailed charting of the daily use of our car for one week.
Not a typical day for us but one that happens too often is: I wake up at around 7am, unplug the car and have breakfast. Start my day and drive anywhere from 30 to 80 miles in my various daily errands finishing by plugging in after 9pm and heading for bed. My son Jamie (who's body clock is opposite of mine and stays up all night) unplugs with a full tank at midnight, adds another 40 or so miles and replugs at 3 or so in the am. Later that morning I unplug, have breakfast and am on my way with yet again a full tank for another day.

The tank is always full!

Our electric bills average about $50 a month, far less than filling two gasoline tanks every other week!

Our average 'fuel' expense is about .03 cents per mile and less when we charge on a public charger.

My wonderful (now low mileage) 2003 Ford F250 Diesel has burned no more than 70 gallons of fuel in 7 months, (those were to tow things I couldn't with the Mini) normally I would have done that much fuel ($200) in two weeks running my errands, I had to charge the trucks batteries to start it.

8500 miles on COOPER E 230 and mounting, I'll return #136 this weekend to it's home and Jamie and I will be back to our routine Day shift/Night shift.

If you are not looking forward to Electric Cars I feel sorry for you, you'll be missing something really cool!