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.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ops and Ops again

On Tuesday I planned to drive to a remote work site to do some work on the computers there, its a long drive about 85-90 miles round trip all on highways. I made the trip once before in MINI E #304 and was looking forward to driving it on a long trip again. But when I went out to the Garage I found #304 unplugged and with only a 70% charge, Ops I'd forgotten to plug it in last night.

I figured I had an hour to spare so I plugged it in and waited, hoping that the 40A charger would be quick, but when I checked back it was only at 80% not nearly enough charge for the trip. So I took the Gas burner, my Z3 which I hadnt driven in a month. On the way I kept thinking the 40A charger should have charged the car more, an I wondered if I had the cars Amperage set correctly. Sure enough when I got back and checked it the car was set to 12A not 32A, Ops again.

It must have been set to 12A for a week and I never noticed, 12A at 240v is faster then at 110V but not as fast as at 32A. While forgetting to plug in the car is a problem I'm guessing all electric car owners will have now and then, I dont think setting the correct amperage on the car should be as tricky as it is with the MINI E. First I think the car could tell you the Amperage its drawing while charging on the display, as it is you just dont know unless you click through a bunch of menues maybe 10 or so short and long clicks on the selecter switch, a very clunky system. But more useful would be if the plug you connected the car to told the car what amperage to use, it seems to me a very simple thing to have a RFID chip in the plug that the car could read. While we are on the subject of the plugs, I dont like the current ones MINI chose to use for this project, they have tiny wires inside of them that look like they could easily brake from heavy use, and I cant see this as a good plug to use in a public place like a Mall as there is no locking mechanism, I can just imagine kids going down a line of EV's plugged in at a charging site and unplugging them all.


  1. Hi Robert! I have Mini E #250 and I definitely agree about the need for a display for the amperage setting. You can easily have it set incorrectly especially coming back from service as I did. Also, the charger should display the current charge %. The way it is now, you have to get in the car and put the key in to check the charge level. I think it should be displayed all the time while you are charging for you to check in you want. I love the blog, and frequently visit here. You and the others inspired me to start my own Mini e blog and I linked your blog to it. Mine is at: so please link it to yours also if you would like. Keep up the great work! Tom

  2. Interesting how the bloom is off for a lot of you MINIE'rs. Still like the car?

  3. Tom,
    I've added your blog to my site, have fun with it, I'm enjoying expressing my opinions on a subject I enjoy.

    I still LOVE the car. Its so much fun to drive electric, but it has some minor issues that should be addressed before it is mass marketed.

  4. Would have to agree, as it seems rather ill planned by BMW/MINI? I love my 2004 MCS but mu 2002 was a nitemare. Also, the unevenness in lease payments and lack consumer info on the possible charger electrical costs is rather baffling to say the least.

  5. Hey Robert,
    Thanks again for the overview and ride in your Mini-E. Truly amazing technology. I am still overwhelmed at the "coolness" of your car and real world test.
    Your neighbor,

  6. Roger,
    Was fun for me to show it off, and answer your great questions, If you want to drive it sometime just stop by.

  7. The standard from The Society of Automotive Engineers (J1772) provides for the charge interface box to tell the car what current level is available. I suspect that Mini just didn't get around to it. Prototypes are like that. I have made the mistake with #458 a couple times. No big deal.