04 December 2009

120 miles and freezing at the start

I have  almost 13,000 miles on #458 and it finally happened - I got to work (60 miles from home) and unexpectedly had to head back home without charging the Mini E.

No Problem!  I had even used the heater for half of my trip to work, something I rarely do but it was 29 degrees F on my way in and I did not have the hot drinks I usually have in the car to stay warm.  So I ran the heater some after the cabin cooled off.  (I had preheated the cabin to 88 that morning as usual, but after 20 miles it drops into the 60's.)

I have driven my commute several times very gently to see what I could do for range, so I was confident.  I had plugged in at work but left after only one hour, so I added only about 4% to the charge before I left again for home.

I took back roads and really took my time.  I have a column in my log to record how aggressively I drive, this is the only time I ever put down a "one" on the scale of one to five.  It was mid morning so traffic was light but I still annoyed a few people by going slowly.  On highway 12 in New Jersey, I drove maybe 30 mph and pulled onto the wide shoulder to let others pass at the 50 mph limit.  On the big hill I got in the truck lane and crawled up at 20 mph.

And I arrived with 1% charge left.  I even used the heater for the last 3 miles.  I know there are ten miles left after the gauge hits zero, but I didn't need it.  All in all I drove 124.6 miles, using the heater at the middle setting for about 30 miles.  Starting temperature outdoors was 29 F, ended at 49 degrees with 58 degrees in the cab.  In the middle I charged for one hour at 120 volts 12 amps adding only 4 miles to the range.

Despite the minor issues with this prototype car, we love it.  It has never let me down, even when pushed to the extreme in cold weather.  And I bet Mini will fix the minor charging problem next week when it goes in for the 13,000 mile checkup.  Actually, it is getting to be a bit worse than minor.


  1. I have to wonder whether folks seeing you go at 30 in a 50 will form a very negative impression of MINIs (or electric cars - but they likely don't know you're electric)

  2. Ian

    Yep, 0.02% of the time I drive really slow. I am sorry if I besmirched all of Minidom by trying (sucessfully) to get to my dentist for an emergency visit.

    You know, you sound jealous. There are more Mini E's available, there is even one that escaped up to Massachusetts. Maybe you can get one too? You would like it! Despite all you feigned objections. Come on, you are an engineer, IT IS A BLAST! You'll never go back. Quit your bitching and try it!