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.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Field Trial range expanded

I got an email from BMW inviting me to join the MINI E field trial, guess their Database isnt upto date. They had a list of requirements and they have changed them a bit. The new requirements state you must be within 110 miles of a participating dealer, I think it use to be 50 mile. While it doesnt state it I think this would mean if you live in Philladelphia or Connecticut and are willing to buy your car out of state you could be in the Field Trial. Also they dont mention the need for a Garage, I dont know if this is an omission or maybe they oked installing the Chargers outdoors now, this would really help those people who have a detached garage with little power, assuming they can park close to the house. This would be perfect at my fiancee's place, I wonder if I can talk them into installing a second charger at her place:)

MINI E: 100% Electric, Zero Emissions MINI.


BMW Group EfficientDynamics is the principle behind every vehicle we manufacture. It stands for reduced emissions and increased fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. It also represents innovative thinking, which doesn’t always come just in the form of a BMW. That’s why we’re proud to introduce you to another member of our family, the MINI E.

You’re invited to apply to participate in a 1-year Field Trial for the first 100% electric, zero-emissions MINI. As a MINI E Pioneer, you would be instrumental in shaping the future of MINI and BMW Group EfficientDynamics and, quite possibly, the future of motoring itself. Your experiences, opinions, and feedback could help bring us one step closer to a practical transportation alternative that has the potential to run on clean, renewable energy, without compromising any of MINI’s world-famous handling.

To be selected, among other criteria, you must meet the following:
* You must live within 110 miles of a participating MINI E dealer.
* You must have a daily round trip commute of no more than 110 miles.
* You’ll have to sign a one year closed end lease* which is $850 a month**
(includes collision coverage).
* You’ll need to agree to have a wall box to charge the MINI E installed in your home.
* You’ll need to return the car and the charging wall box at the end of the Field Trial program.
* You have to be licensed to drive a motor vehicle for 5 or more years and have a clean driver’s license.
* You’ll have to agree to bring the MINI E to your MINI E dealer for scheduled maintenance and a status check up at 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first, and at 6 months or 8,000 miles, whichever comes first.
* You’ll have to agree to provide reasonable feedback about MINI E ownership experiences to MINI USA and affiliated research teams. Feedback methods include filling out surveys and maintaining an online log book.

Availability is limited so if you think you have what it takes to be a MINI E Pioneer, contact a participating MINI E dealer to apply today.

»Visit MINI-E.COM for dealer listings and more information about the Field Trial

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meet the MINI E

Got an email from MINI that they are planning a get together with other people in the MINI E field trial or as they like to call us MINI E pioneers. This will be on May 13th in NYC and from what I've heard May 5th in LA.

The Guest speakers will be Marc Alt and Partners

Program highlights will include:
Sneak Peak and orientation of the MINI E
a special presentation from an environmental expert
Open discussion with the MINI USA management team

I'm really looking forward to this, going to have to write up a few questions to ask, already have a couple ideas.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Passed Inspection

Had the initial inspection today, an Electrician came to my house and looked over the fuss box and where I wanted the charger box, was here for maybe 15 minute, would have been 5 but I kept asking him questions. He seemed to enjoy it though, is quite enthusiastic about the new business opportunities electric cars will have for his profession, when they start installing banks of charging stations for government and business groups.

He didn't see any problem with the 100A fuss box, based on the size of my house and the amount of electrical appliances I currently have, at least for a 40A charger. He wasn't aware of the 60A charger and felt that might have been more iffy. I suspect BMW felt that way too and thats why they are installing 40A chargers in homes. Im curious what type of chargers BMW of Germany is installing on the streets of Berlin.

The Electrician had five inspections today, his first, I know one other was a co-worker. They are starting slow probably to get the hang of things, but it sounds like I may have a MINI E soon.

Next step sounds like the electrician will submit an estimate of the work, and CFCI will draw up a contract, I think this is just a contract for the charger installation, not the full lease agreement, we'll see.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Installation Email

I got an email from Clean Fuel Connection asking when over the next two weeks would be a good time for a site visit, so they can inspect my homes electrical work and make an estimate of the installation costs. The only problem is I might be away on business for the next two week, my schedule is a bit up in the air at the moment, hopefully I'll be able to work something out.

The email also had three attachments, a flow chart showing each step in the process from credit approval through taking delivery, looks like you sign the forms just before they start the electrical work. There was a Brochure on the charging station from Clipper Creek, and a FAQ sheet. The FAQ sheet states that the time to charge up the batteries with the charger when they are fully depleted is 5 hours, but a 20 mile trip would take 50 minutes to recharge. These numbers dont make sense to me they had advertised that with the charger it would take less then 3 hours to completely recharge. And using the 20 miles in 50 minutes number that would mean it takes 5.8 hours to recharge from a 120 mile trip. Either these numbers are incorrect or the original charge and range data was way off, I suspect they may be using a less powerful charger then the one used to generate the original charge time estimates

The FAQ also mentions charge times for a 120v outlet 5 hours for a 20 mile drive, over 24 to fully charge which is in line with the original numbers. But noticeably absent is any mention of the ability to charge from a 220v outlet, I hope that was just an oversight.

Hope to hear back from them soon.

Also saw this article about solar powering a MINI E, it sounds like the author in CA has already had the charger installed. So maybe CA will be seeing some MINI E's delivered in April rather then May as we'd been led to believe.

I spoke to a neighbor who is an electrician and he said all the houses have 100A Electrical Service and since we live in a condominium development with all the electric underground he's not even sure it can be upgraded to 200A. this has me very worried, Id assumed since the buildings were relatively new they would have 200A service, I really hope he's wrong or my place is small enough that I dont need a 200A service.

[addendum 2]
I got a call from Green Power Technologies it sounds like they are the East Coast coordinator. Had a very informative discussion with the representative who will be managing things, and have an inspection scheduled for Monday. He also informed me they had two Chargers a 40A and a 60A so even if I only have a 100A Electrical Service I should be good, as long as Im not drawing too much. This also explains the differences in charge times, I know MINI was using a 60A charger for their MINI E data sheets, but it sounds like the Clean Fuel Connection's FAQ was based on the 40A charger. I had been getting worried that I might not be able to get the MINI E, but I feel much better about things now