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.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

NYC meet the MINI E

Last night MINI had a event in NYC similar to the one on the 5th in LA, where MINI E pioneers could get meet each other and the Engineers and people behind the MINI E, and of course the MINI E's numbers 403 422 and 480. It was a 5 star event all the way, with a well stocked open bar, and some really fantastic food, including my favorite all you could eat oysters that were some of the best I've had in a long time.
The event started off with a presentation by Mark Alt, and while he did seem a bit nervous starting out he quickly got comforting with the crowd and went into a very interesting presentation, on what you can do today to help the environment by voting with your dollars. He pointed out Stu's MINI E business card and other bloggers and how important our words can be in influencing other people and being spokes people for electric cars and MINI. The presentation ended with a number of people having a chance to express why they are in the MINI E program and what it means to them.
Then we had a chance to eat and meet people, I had a great time talking to a number of very different people, only wish I'd had a chance to speak to everyone. There were the pioneers including a couple fellow bloggers Stu and Tim, there were the engineers and sales people who answered a lot of my questions, and even a few buisnessman who were working on differant ways of providing chaging services to electric vehicles, one mentioned owning old payphones on the street and working on using that infrastructure to setup charging stations throughout the city.
Some of the questions I got answers for:
Will it have satellite radio? No (really bummed about this, Im addicted to XM)
Can you pre-heat the car while its plugged in? Cant do that now, but they thought it was a great suggestion and are going to work with the engineers to see if this could be added to the software. (cool how you can change a cars behavior just by tweeking the program running it.)
what happens as you deplete the battery? After the charge meeter gets to 0% the car will still drive normally for about 10 miles, then the preformance will drop and the car will only drive very slowly for about 3 miles at which time it wont go any more. Also the 155 or 120 mile range estimate was to 0% charge so this does not include any limping home in its estimated range.
Can you charge it of a standard 220 outlet? No its limited to 11A 32A or 50A charging only.
I even got a chance to speak to the president of MINI USA and tried to get a hint from him on MINI's plans for electric cars and my favorite the extended range Electric, but he seemed to feel the weight costs would offset the gains from this design, and the MINI already had a very good gas mileage make any gains in mpg minor, cant say I agree with him, I think a EREV MINI like the MINI QED or volvo's C30 Recharge or Volt would be a great idea, as it gives you the benefits of an electric vehicle for your short daily commute while offering the range of a Gas vehicle, and of course a small vehicle like the MINI will have better acceleration and mileage then a larger vehicle, but I wasnt about to argue with the president of MINI USA, I just tried to hide my disappointment.

On a side note yesterday seemed to be a big day for spoting cars, on the way into the city I saw a first generation prius, only the second one I've ever seen and at lunch I saw a Prius that had been converted to a plug in hybrid with a plug in port, a phev sticker and a A123 stcker, see A123's site for info on how this conversion is done, really wanted to talk to the owner about this but couldnt.

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