From June 2009 to June 2010 I had the privilege of Driving an All Electric MIMI E for a year, it was a great experience, and got me hooked on electric cars. I've since moved on to other electric cars which I will blog about.

Friday, March 27, 2009


MINI sent out a email news letter to people in the MINI E Field trial called PLUGGED-IN, this is suppost to be a weekly email to keep us plugged-in on whats going on with MINI E Field Trial. Im really glade to see this as we are all getting a bit anxious to get out there Driving. They emphasize the Field Trial nature of this program and refer to potential Drivers as Pioneers as in a previous email.

So whats the status?

Well inspections for Wall chargers are proceeding on the West Coast, and will start shortly on the East Coast. There is a problem with the production on the cable for the wall box, but they plan to go head with installation of the wall boxes and add the cables when they become available. They expect to start delivering Cars in May, so Im guessing I wont get mine until June :(

Also its official the big MINI lettering we've seen on the sides of cars used at shows and on test drives is just for shows and will not be on the Field Trial cars.

Tesla unveiles the Model S

Tesla Unveiled their Model S Electric Car yesterday, this is a 5 door sedan with an expected price of under $50K after government tax credit, and a Range of 300 miles. It can even be fully charged in 45 minutes from a 480v outlet, expected production late 2011. I love the styling on this car, only what am I going to do between my MINI E lease runs out and the Model S is released?

See the Tesla Model S

Thursday, March 19, 2009

MINI E's being prepped for delivery

Here are some photos of MINI E's in an import yard being prepped for delivery, can you pick out yours? Mine is the one on the left :), wish I could make out its number.
[source of Gordy Ormesher and]

Friday, March 13, 2009

CA Wall Charger inspections have started

Found a Blog by Stefano Paris in California who was one of the first to have their home inspected in preparation for installation of the wall charger

Sounds like he's passed the inspection with flying colors congrats Stefano.

NJ Inspections wont start until after the CA installations are done, thats probably at least a month away, Im starting to get impatient now that its actually in sight.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jay Leno Test Drives the MINI E

Great Video of Jay Leno Test driving the MINI E, never expected it could do a power slide like that.
I noticed he is driving number 138 where all the other Test Drives have been very low numbered vehicles, but this one still has the "MINI E" name on the side, I think that is ugly and detracts from the simple E plug logo, I hope it is just for the MINI's shown to the Press and wont be on the Field Trial MINIs.

Also he mentions the regenerative braking and it sounds like that only kicks in under 40 mph, so probably you can take your foot off the GAS and coast at higher speeds.

[Source: Jay Leno's Garage]

The Costs

For many people the first thing they ask is how much does it cost?

And while I am thrilled to be able to drive the MINI E I have to admit that it is not cheap and Im not saving money by driving electric. It costs $850 a month for a one year lease, and I must return the MINI E at the end of the lease. I had to do some serious thinking to decide whether I could afford this and whether it was worth it to me, and make sure my fiance didnt dump me for being a reckless spender.

Since my current car a 1997 BMW Z3 is getting a bit old, I've already been in the market for a new car, but not exactly in a hurry, I still think the Z3 beats the Z4 in styling anyday. Before the MINI E was announced, I was thinking I'd wait another 2 years until the Chevy Volt came out and get that, it looks like a number of companies have Electric or Range Extended Electric Vehicles coming out in late 2010 or 2011 and I still plan to get one then, The MINI E bridges the gap nicely.

I do keep my car in very good condition and spend about $3000 on maintenance each year, I will keep it around for long trips, and just because I love it and dont ever want to sell it, but will be glade to not be using it as my primary car.

So is $850 a reasonable amount? A one year lease of a $40K+ JCW MINI would be about $550 a month, so for a MINI it is expensive, but if you consider that AC propulsion charges $70K for their ebox electric vehicle which uses the same batteries and electric motor as the MINI E, an $850 lease seems about right. Now in Berlin they are only charging 200 euros, which is about $325 a month, which seems unfair but then they have to use public charging stations around the city.

Am I saving money on Gas? I drive 15K miles a year and my current gas milage is 22 mpg, at $1.85 a gallon that's $1261 a year in gas. The MINI E uses 26 kw/h to travel 120 miles so that would be 3250 kw/h per year. In NJ we have a choice of energy suppliers and I pay a primium to recieve my electricity from all renewable resources wind/solar/hydro so Im paying .20 cents per kw/h.
If I got the math right that translates to $650 a year to power my car with electricity, or about half the price what I was spending on Gas. Now a year ago when gas was $4 a Gallon and Electricity from non-clean coal was .10 cents a kw/h the savings would have been $325 vers $2727 or 1/8th the cost of gas.

What about Tax savings? In NJ there is no Sales tax on Zero Emission vehicles, which would have been an extra $612 dollars Im not paying. There is also $7500 plug in electric car credit, while the details of this and how it relates to leased cars isnt known right now, and probably wont be until September if I did qualify for the full credit and if my tax rate was 28% that would be about a $2100 reduction in my taxes. [edited] (This appears to be incorrect, I calculated this as a deduction rather then a credit, if the IRS gives the full credit on a one year lease and your not hitting the AMT thats a full $7500 back on my taxes, that's 3/4 of the lease paid for by the government, would be nice but I'm not holding my breath for it.)

What about Insurance? The MINI E's lease includes collision insurance probably saving me $800 over a regular lease on a new car, so all I need is liability, I priced that out at only $300 extra.

So is the MINI E saving me money, of course not. Electric Cars are way too expensive right now to be practical, but I do believe they are the way of the future, as battery technology gets lighter and cheaper, as Gas prices return to higher and higher prices, and as renewable electric energy production becomes more common and cheaper, Electric Cars will become a viable and cheaper solution then Gas.

So why Drive the MINI E? To drive an electric vehicle, at least 2 years before I could otherwise. To help the environment by using clean electricity rather then Gas, which pollutes our air and contributes to global warming. To not send my money to foreign nations that are openly hostile to the US. To not support Big Businesses that are making record profits in a time of res session and lobbing to Drill in our National Parks and off the coast of our beaches. To support companies that are looking at alternative. To be part of a program where my opinion and experiences will have a big impact on the future direction BMW takes in developing the Electric Car. And to Drive a Really Cool Car.


Monday, March 9, 2009

wall box charger

I received an update from MINI that they would soon be contacting me to install the wall box charger. They have contracted Clean fuel Connection to install the chargers. It maybe a while though, it sounds like they sent this notice out to east and west coast field trial participants and will be installing them on the west coast first.