10 October 2009

I drive the Mini E quite a lot, maybe too much. I have driven it about 8000 miles over 4 months. So it has started to feel like a normal car to me. And when I get in a conventional piston car again, I wonder how I ever was able to stand it. Sort of like when someone says "how did we live without mobile phones?" OK, it is silly but that is the feeling. Feelings can be silly.

Now my wife only drives the Mini E on the weekends, and she still marvels at how much more welcoming it is, and easy to drive. Yesterday she was searching for words, and said something to the effect that she feels she could do anything in this car, like drive across the corn field we were passing, since everything else is so effortless.

I was starting to wonder if I should check to see if there was something funny in her green tea until I realized that I had become accustomed to the luxury of electric drive, while she was still marveling at the difference from combustion drive.

BMW, listen up! You should investigate using electric drive EVEN WITHOUT much of a battery. Just put a generator on the engine and an electric motor on the wheels, with the smallest battery in between that you can get away with. It will sell on the basis of improved drivability alone. There is a market for this beyond the environmental nuts like us. And it will help obtain economies of scale in the electric drive train.

This is most notable off the interstate highways, and on hilly roads. Despite cruise control, a conventional car requires you to reach for the brake on downhill sections. Even with an automatic transmission, the shifting is always noticeable on hilly slower roads. Not so with electric drive. The marketing guys should use the word "effortless".

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