Jun 16

Taking Delivery of the MINI E Electric Car

 

On Friday June 12th I took delivery of an electric MINI Cooper, car #412.

After registering on a waiting list, I was chosen as one of the 100 people in New York State who would get to participate in a one-year close-ended lease of the pure electric car.  BMW, the parent of MINI, is calling this a field test.  They plan to take back all 450 cars (100 in NY and NJ, 250 IN CA) at the end of the lease and dismantle them.  The purpose in to learn about how electric cars will fare on public roads and in the public’s hands.

Truth be told, I’m not a MINI fan, its the powertrain Im after here.

In my opinion, the cars are best described as mules.  They are converted standard MINIs and weigh in at 3656 pounds.  They have not been built from the ground up as an electric car. The rear seat has been removed and replaced with a very large 573 pound 35 kwh lithium-ion battery (28 kwh usable) supplied by E-One Moli.  The drivetrain was engineered and installed by A/C Propulsion.

The car is strikingly styled with silver and bright yellow accents including stylized plug decals on the sided and roof.  It is a head-turner as I can attest.

Inside the cockpit is comfortable, eclectic, and interesting.  The MINI controls are unusual and unique among cars, taking a little getting used to.  There is a large dial ahead showing the battery state of charge (SOC) and in the center stack an even larger dial displaying velocity (mph).  A small LED display can be toggled through screens that shows battery SOC, temperature, and miles remaining.

Placing in a keyfob primes the car, and then there is an engine on/off button.  Like all electric cars you know its running when lights on the dash go on, there is no roar of an engine.

The car is very silent and stepping on the accelerator lightly allows you to creep off electrically.

The 150 kw motor develops a whopping 205 hp that is capable of pinning you into the seat.  For some reason, there is a built-in minimal delay before take-off from stop which ever so slightly dampens the rush of instantaneous torque.  0 to 60 is 8.5 seconds but feels a lot faster. Nicely, once moving even when traveling at highway speed, a stomp on the accelerator instantly springs the car forward in a way most combustion cars cannot, like silently leaping through space. The car is front wheel drive.

The regenerative braking is very intense and the car rapidly grinds to a stop just by lifting one’s foot off the accelerator.  Brakes are almost unnecessary.  This takes a little getting used to but I actually came to enjoy it.

The car handled a bit skittishly.  It was easy to chirp the tires especially if taking off on a slight turn.  The car has a go-cart like road feel, low to the ground and very fun around turns if not a little disconcerting to some drivers.

There is a 94 mile (when fully charged) electric range.  Charging is simple and can be done at 120 V though a specialized J1772 adapter.  As part of the program MINI installed an EV charger wallbox in my garage that operates at 240V and 32 or 50 amps, which can fully recharge the car in 4 hours. At 120V it takes 24 hours.

I’ll have the car for one year.  The lease fee was supposed to be $850/month but because the cord for the wallbox hasn’t gotten UL certification yet, MINI is giving one of the months for free, bringing the actual cost to $780/month.  For me, driving  about 1800 miles/month the vehicle will save about $250 in gas. Collision insurance is paid for by MIIN and the wallbox is installed for free, effectively putting the monthly cost in the $400-$500 range. Yes there is a significant premium but being able to drive all electric is worth that to me.

There are some slight imperfections being the car is a mule.  The door locks are a little sticky, rarely the car won’t start and the key has to be removed and replaced.  The big battery has a loud ventilation system and produces noticeable heat.  There is also essentially no storage space, and as mentioned handling is a bit awkward.

The car hasn’t been engineered from scratch as an electric car as has the Volt, and range is limited, but the fact is I am driving electrically in 2009 and I’ve got nothing to complain about.

And by the way this is the 1000th post on GM-Volt.com, another milestone.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 5:54 am and is filed under BEV, Competitors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 183


  1. 1
    Hercule

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:00 am)

    Congratulations on the 1000th post. The car doesn’t sound practical yet. The volt is on the edge of practicality for me, since I have a five person family, but since my eldest will be about ready to drive, maybe I can keep three cars.


  2. 2
    GeorgeB

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:02 am)

    First? Good luck with the Mini, Lyle.


  3. 3
    ChrisC

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:13 am)

    After following this site everyday since the beginning, I’ve never posted a reply before. It is great to see EVs finally getting some traction from nearly all car companies and the excitement that this site has raised in the Volt. You deserve to be one of the first in this EV test Lyle. Great job and keep the posts coming! 3rd by the way!


  4. 4
    dorp7

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:21 am)

    Sounds great. I’m jealous. Please keep us updated as to if there are any performance changes over the span of the year. I’d like to see you max out the battery range (drive it till it stops) several times throughout the lease (at least beginning and end) to give us an idea how much battery capacity degrades over time. That would be an interesting metric that might also tell us something about the Volt.

    Thanks!


  5. 5
    statik

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:22 am)

    In a related matter: I hate you Lyle.
    /do not covet thy neighbor’s…EV?

    1,000 posts huh? Wow, thats sad…who has that kind of time?

    Just kidding, gratz all around. Tell you what…take the rest of the day off and just enjoy driving around New York/New Jersey showing off a little eco-smugness. (=


  6. 6
    Tibor

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:23 am)

    Great! Now you will be able to compare the Volt with other electric cars, the E-REV with BEV, check out if range anxiety is really as annoying as expected, etc. Your blog will be even MORE excellent!

    BTW, I was driving around yesterday, when my car suddenly said “BING!” and the refuel lamp came on. I got an instant sense of anxiety… until I realized: “wait a minute! The car says I must refuel within 50 miles… that’s like the total range of many BEV cars! So when I get anxiety is when a BEV owner thinks no problemo?!”

    Sure, 94 miles is better, but so is rear seats! The more one looks at competitors the more one appreciates the Voltec platform.


  7. 7
    StevePA

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:27 am)

    Congrats Lyle on the 1,000th post, and the good done by them all.

    Curious BMW/Mini would put out for test what sounds like a fairly crude rendition of what the vehicle will become…compared to GM’s reluctance to allow testing of somewhat more refined Volt mules with the ICE running.

    Anyway – enjoy the ride! Looking forward to more observations.


  8. 8
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:29 am)

    Very interesting Lyle. Congrats on both the 1000th post and the MINI.

    I am curious about why the car can be charged in 4 hours with 240V but 24 hours with standard 120V.

    Can someone explain this for me?


  9. 9
    Andy

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:39 am)

    Rashid its all about the watts. The power from a plug (in watts) is the volts times the volts. A normal household plug is on a 15 or 20 amp breaker so it can deliver 1800-2400 watts/hour. 32 amps at 240V is 7680 watts/hour and 50 amps at 240V is 12000 watts/hour. So by comparing watts you can see what 120V takes 6 times longer than 240V…


  10. 10
    Jim in PA

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:42 am)

    Watch for the blogosphere headlines in 2010: “WHO KILLED THE ELECTRC CAR? MINI! They took all the cars back, even though people really wanted to keep them!”

    Then again, maybe not. Conspiracy theories like that are reserved for GM. Sounds like a great ride.


  11. 11
    Schmeltz

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:56 am)

    Congrats on 1000 posts Lyle!

    Nice to hear about this Mini Electric experiment. Hoping they can gather enough good info. about the cars and mass market a more refined edition later. It’s a competitor to the Volt but also a validation too.


  12. 12
    ClarksonCote

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:59 am)

    Sweet, now I’m wishing I had signed up for to be one of those 100 NY people too!


  13. 13
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:16 am)

    Congratulations Lyla and thanks for the 1000 posts.

    On may assume that is the start of a one year account of driving an electric car.

    Regards,
    JC LGTAWOTR !!!


  14. 14
    Dan Petit

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:32 am)

    Up in New York, you could be OK without AC, but it will be interesting to see for an entire year how this would work out for you, Lyle.

    Recharging over 24 hours would have you keeping your current vehicle, I’d imagine.

    Are they really charging you 780 bucks a month?

    You ought to get rebated about 400 a month for the objectivity that you will provide them, and, rebated another 380 a month for the advertising you will provide them.

    However, the important value to us readers is your highly practical advisories for those who are still in BEV-only mode. And, from that perspective, your daily posts (two per day would be great), would perform a critically-objective service for BEV-only interests.

    I would doubt that other BEV-only OEM’s would do this. Even if I did have 800 bucks a month for that, the only vehicle I’d ever consider posting a daily advisory about, is, of course, as everyone knows, is a Voltec vehicle. But I would not need it for a year, I would only need it for 30 days.

    It is said frequently:
    “Here in Texas, if you get bored with the weather, just wait 15 minutes”.

    Only Winter driving conditions here in central Texas are non-existent. We used to have snow here in Austin on average, every 11 years, but that won’t likely happen anymore.

    But AC is a safety issue down here. This is why EREV is the only way to go.

    I am looking forward to your extremely-important findings on the BEV. This is an immensely-critical issue for the public to objectively understand, and, educational-credibility to Mini is to be sincerely commended for their courage to allow critique, yet global understanding of BEV. This is so that customers will understand that their decision is to be a completely-informed one as to purpose, tasking, and consumer-responsibilities.

    Dan.


  15. 15
    Robert

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:44 am)

    Congrats on your new MINI E, I’m driving #304 in NJ.
    Are you getting the 60A charger? have they installed it yet? Most people are only getting the 40A charger and they are only installing the 60A ones at the dealerships. I have the charger installed, but need the cable and to pass inspection.


  16. 16
    jdenn

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:49 am)

    Yeah reading about this car really drives home how much better the voltec setup is. If you only drive 10 miles each way to work, the 90 mile battery capacity is an anchor, but if you want to drive to the lake for the weekend, you can’t use the car. The flexability of voltec is ideal and i think we will see more and more of them. It will be interestign to see how efficient the ICE can be made when they don’t have to worry about torque etc, simply electricity per gallon of gas.


  17. 17
    LauraM

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:02 am)

    Congrats on 1000 posts! And on getting the car!


  18. 18
    David K (CT)

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:02 am)

    Robert @ 15 (& Lyle)

    I would be interested to see how much your electric bill increases.

    I’m not sure if I would get a discount for nighttime charging.

    Here in CT I pay over $0.20/kWHr.

    I believe New York/New Jersey have pretty similar rates.


  19. 19
    CDAVIS

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:14 am)

    ______________________________________________________
    Lyle, Be careful not to run over the deaf or blind while driving your quiet E-MINI…just kidding…it’s ok to run over a few of them in the name of science.

    Wow 1,000 posts! That is a monumental effort. The Voltec Program and the Electric Car Revolution has no greater PR advocate than Lyle Dennis.
    _____________________________________________


  20. 20
    Jackson

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:16 am)

    Getting a real EV for a year is impressively appropriate for post #1000.

    We will all be eagerly awaiting word of your experiences / comparisons.

    Congratulations, and many thanks from your readers.


  21. 21
    Larry McFall

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:23 am)

    I believe that auto companies such as Mini Cooper is making an attempt to get into the “Electric Auto” business. It sounds as if they are going to make a rather detailed experiment for research purposes. It is interesting to have others with a committment to the technology.

    However, I am confident that GM’s VOLTEC is leading the pack and is on the correct path to success. For them to maintain the lead, they will have to explore new and inovative avenues to improvements. Just making the VOLT attractive will not keep GM in the game, they will have to assure good sound technology and mechanical application. The warranty will have to take into account that the technology used in the Volt is new and vulnerable. Otherwise, the buyer of the vehicle will not want to buy this pretty car to find that they are having to spend money for repairs. GM has went down this road often to find that it doesn’t pay.

    This is exactly what test like Mini is conducting which can alleviate some of these expensive mistakes before dropping them on the consumer. I believe the VOLTEC will do fine and has a fantastic future.


  22. 22
    Starcast

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:29 am)

    “And by the way this is the 1000th post on GM-Volt.com, another milestone”

    I have read them all. (we all need to get a life ;>) Grats for sure

    The car sounds like BMW is 10 years behind GM (thats pretty bad) It sounds just like the EV1


  23. 23
    heyIMmike

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:31 am)

    Lyle, Reading your comment about the Mini’s regenerative braking (RB) reminded me of one of my questions. You indicated that the RB is “very intense”. Do the brake lights come on when you are using the RB system?


  24. 24
    DaV8or

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:41 am)

    Congratulations on 1000 well done posts! Keep up the good work. Maybe now GM will see one of their best advocates posting about a competitor’s car and give you a bit better access to their mules.


  25. 25
    Zach

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:43 am)

    Wow Lyle! That’s awesome! I’m very excited to hear more about your experience with the MINI as time goes on.

    We’re Volt fans, but that also means we’re EV fans too 😉


  26. 26
    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:48 am)

    I know a tall guy (6-5) who loves his mini-Cooper, they rate well in CR, Maybe you’ll get to like it.

    Don’t know why those dumb Germans would do a BEV in a small platform. I’m pretty sure from the expertise on this site that there is no application for a daily urban banger.

    Wish I had one, I’m certainly dumb enough to like it.

    Congrats to you. Hope they get into a series EV+ER too eventually.


  27. 27
    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:51 am)

    Save many coppers with a MinniE-Cooper.(at least for fuel cost)


  28. 28
    Tagamet

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:52 am)

    It’s nice that you were chosen for the mini-trial, but I’m especially appreciative for the thousand articles you’ve written/posted. It’s a huge measure of your dedication to this cause. Do you have a number on the total replies to the 1000 posts? THAT number would also be a measure of your impact (and I’m guessing that it’d be REALLY huge!.
    As always,
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    LJGTVWOTR!!


  29. 29
    Gary

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:54 am)

    Lyle, it’s interesting to hear your comments on the MINI. We’ve got a regular MINI Clubman and find it to be a blast to drive and very responsive. While it’s my wife’s car I would not object to one myself for one big reason… I fit. I have long legs and most cars are uncomfortable at best. Imagine my surprise when I can get in the MINI and adjust the seating and steering wheel so that I can fully extend my legs and also not hit the steering wheel with my knees.

    As much as I like the Volt, the price will probably keep me from getting one until at least gen 2 or until they can somehow lose 10K (or 15K if the gov credit expires). Then, if/when I can afford one being able to fit in it will be another consideration. In the mean time I’m hoping MINI offers the diesel version (60+mpgs) here in the states as that is something I should be able to swing payments on while waiting for the Volt or a BEV that I can afford.


  30. 30
    KUD

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:54 am)

    1000 posts where did I find the time to read them all 🙂

    Congrats on both the 1000 post and the Mini E


  31. 31
    old man

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:56 am)

    LYLE

    DRIVE SAFELY!!

    Remember you have a 500 lb. battery right behind you that in a head on crash is going to have a strong desire to be in the front seat. And that would make my getting my daily Volt fix impossible.

    Grats on the Mini e. and Keep up the good work at GM-Volt.com.


  32. 32
    Lyle

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:59 am)

    #15 Robert: I have the home version charging station (40 amps).

    Today I couldn’t even drive the thing to work because it didn’t have enough range in it after yesterday’s drive and a 12 hour home charge. This problem will be eliminated when I get the high voltage cord.

    I got my parking garage manager at work to install a 120V outlet for me over my reserved space, so this will work out for tomorrow.


  33. 33
    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:00 am)

    My mother told me I should have been a doctor!

    Wow! That’s cool.

    Mini’s are good cars. They are a little light on rear seat room, but that seems to have been resolved in this electric version. It’s all battery.

    The car in the photo looks great (read: no “electric” decals all over it), and Lyle, you’ll fit right in (here in SoCal) on casual Fridays.

    It will be interesting to see if your opinion changes about BEV’s.


  34. 34
    Randy

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:05 am)

    GM i already saying” I guess we lost our most loyal customer to a foreign car once again”. THey (BMW) should be giving you the lease for free just for the advertising.


  35. 35
    maharguitar

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:10 am)

    It’s good that they told you up front that the cars will be dismantled and inspected. We don’t want to have any misunderstandings later. Gathering real world usage information seems to be the only really good reason to have a program like this. Americans have different driving patterns than Europeans do because the layout of their cities is different and their mass transit system is different (it exists).

    I agree with your impression that the car is basically a mule. Any complaints that you may have that are related to the fact that it is a mule can be discounted and won’t affect the market’s impression of any production vehicle.

    Congrats on the 1000th post and have fun with your car.


  36. 36
    NASA-Eng

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:10 am)

    Lyle,

    Will you post a story on how the performance changes when driving at night with lights on, AC, radio, etc.? I’m curious how MINI has handled those extra power needs. Also, does the car have a traditional power steering pump or is it drive by wire like Ford’s Hybrid Escape. My understanding is the drive by wire is less energy then running the power steering pump all the time. All those items if refined could pick up performance to some extent.

    I’m curious to put the 94 mile range in perspective.

    Thanks A BUNCH for your web site (I check in every morning), congrats on your 1000th post.

    Todd


  37. 37
    Gary

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:10 am)

    “They plan to take back all 450 cars (100 in NY and NJ, 250 IN CA) at the end of the lease and dismantle them”

    Well, that’s much better than simply crushing them! BMW’s and Mini’s earth-friendly reputations will remain safe. 🙂


  38. 38
    Van

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:14 am)

    28 kWh usable and a 94 mile AER works out to a real world 3.3 miles per kWh. Using that number, the actual Volt range will be 26 miles. But that is driving at highway speeds, running the AC, you know, driving normally. I am hoping because the weight might be less, 3200 vice 3500, and the traction motor not quite so powerful, 110 kW vice 150 kW, our Volt actual will be near 4 miles per kWh. Time will tell.


  39. 39
    solo

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:16 am)

    Sounds like a cool car.

    Will you have a chance to do some real world range testing? I would love to know how far the car will travel now that it is new, and then just before you return it, to determine any battery degradation.

    You would have to plan a route that has consistent traffic patterns, so you can duplicate the test in a year. Maybe do 3 runs each and average them out. Okay, I know you are busy and this would take days out of your life, but it would be interesting!


  40. 40
    RVD

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:21 am)

    Now it is getting more interesting. Let’s see if Lyle will change his mind about electrical power train after having e-mini for a year.


  41. 41
    kent beuchert

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:28 am)

    I pity you if the heat from the battery overhwelms the AC. Or is there any AC?


  42. 42
    RVD

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:32 am)

    I just put the numbers to this conclusion:
    94 miles on 28 kWh will cost about $6 in electricity ($0.22/kWh in MA)
    94 miles on 3 gallons (~31MPG) will cost $7.5 in gas ($2.5/gallon)

    what is the point? I see none at current gas/electric pricing.
    Factor in huge electric battery cost and owning electric car is a total economical nonsense.

    Prius is a better car hands down. At $20k and 55MPG beats e-mini any day. I seem to like Prius more and more, may even buy one eventually 🙂


  43. 43
    Luke

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:38 am)

    Congratulations! I must say that even with the limited storage space and the heat tradeoff, I’d love to own something like the electric Mini covered in this review!

    Also, when I owned my Jetta TDI, I thought it was a little unfair that only the front seats were heated… Won’t someone think of the children? I wonder if the next iteration of this car might include heated seats for the children for free… 🙂


  44. 44
    Johnny Mac

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:46 am)

    I HATE YOU LYLE 🙁


  45. 45
    statik

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:49 am)

    #42 RVD said:

    I just put the numbers to this conclusion:
    94 miles on 28 kWh will cost about $6 in electricity ($0.22/kWh in MA)
    94 miles on 3 gallons (~31MPG) will cost $7.5 in gas ($2.5/gallon)

    what is the point? I see none at current gas/electric pricing.
    Factor in huge electric battery cost and owning electric car is a total economical nonsense.

    Prius is a better car hands down. At $20k and 55MPG beats e-mini any day. I seem to like Prius more and more, may even buy one eventually
    =====================

    It is not all about costing…and .22 cents seems pretty high, not saying you don’t pay that, but the national average is .11


  46. 46
    RVD

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:02 am)

    I am not sure why people are so jealous. Paying exorbitant rental fee for a risky car with 600 pounds of explosives in the back seat and no reliability records?


  47. 47
    nataraj

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:03 am)

    #42
    94 miles on 28 kWh will cost about $6 in electricity ($0.22/kWh in MA)
    94 miles on 3 gallons (~31MPG) will cost $7.5 in gas ($2.5/gallon)

    what is the point? I see none at current gas/electric pricing.
    Factor in huge electric battery cost and owning electric car is a total economical nonsense.
    —————-

    Ofcourse it doesn’t make economic sense. If you can pollute for free it will always be cheaper – why do you think they use lead paints ?


  48. 48
    Eliezer

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:06 am)

    Congrats on the Mini-E, Lyle. Its the closest thing to the volt thats on the market today.

    In other news, looks like GM has sold Saab to supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090616/ts_nm/us_gm_saab

    Kinda odd though, in that Koenigsegg has only 45 employees and built 18 cars last year, whereas Saab has 3600 employees and built over 93000 cars last year.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:06 am)

    Congrats on the 1000th post Lyle. Can’t say how much your work is appreciated.

    Congrats on the car as well. A few notes. The drive train is provided by AC Propulsion. They have publicly said that the lag between when you press the pedal and when the car moves is all the doing of BMW. This makes sense since AC Propulsion does high quality work and they’ve never had this problem before. The battery pack is 35 kWh, of which mini is using 80%. This is high but the pack only needs to last a year. Originally the range was claimed to be 150 miles (190 wh/mile) but this was changed to a more reasonable 90 miles of real world range ((311 wh/mile). Lyle should get his except in the winter or if he starts to re-enact his Tesla experience.

    As for how saleable this is: We have a two seat car with a limited range that needs a special charging station for a subsidized price of $850/month. Sound familar? Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha! Of course this is, as Lyle says, a mule for testing. And while mini wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with orders, it’s amazing how many people were interested given the economy.


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    statik

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:07 am)

    From the article:
    “There is a 94 mile (when fully charged) electric range”

    “They are converted standard MINIs and weigh in at 3656 pounds”

    “The rear seat has been removed and replaced with a very large 573 pound 35 kwh lithium-ion battery (28 kwh usable) supplied by E-One Moli.”
    ======================================
    ======================================

    A 94 mile range seems like a very reasonable ‘real world’ range number (which is strange for a EV maker to state, lol)…but I have to ask, does that give anyone pause on the Volt’s real world AER?

    Mini:
    3,600lbs, on a converted/existing platform, getting 94 miles on a usable 28 kWh of pack?

    Volt:
    3,500lbs, on a converted/existing platform (Cruze-Delta II), getting 40 miles on a usuable 8 kWh of pack?

    /can both be accurate? …and if so, should this electric MINI ever come to market? Only a two seater now as well. (and should their engineers be scolded harshly, lol)

    Of interest/related: The MINI’s CdA is 7.03…the outgoing Delta platform was 7.26, the Cruze looks to me high 6s (no data yet)


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    Bruce J

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:09 am)

    That’s great. I love MINIs, they are so fun to drive. Electric would be even better. Enjoy your year of driving it. Should be a real pleasure.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:11 am)

    Let me join in on the congrats all around and good for you. We want more updates on your experiences with the MINI E as you have them.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:14 am)

    #5 Statik

    1,000 posts huh? Wow, thats sad…who has that kind of time?

    lets see…who probably posts at least 5x on any given post?? static, statik, statich, stahtic..and all its variations..lol

    Who has time indeed…

    Hey Lyle..can you add up Statiks posts??lol


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:16 am)

    #46 RVD:

    I am not sure why people are so jealous. Paying exorbitant rental fee for a risky car with 600 pounds of explosives in the back seat and no reliability records?
    ———————————————————————————-

    What risk is there? Lyle’s leasing the car, not buying it, and Mini covers the insurance… and I wouldn’t call a battery pack an explosive. I’m sure the risk of fire is far less than in an ICE car.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:16 am)

    Well done Dr. Dennis. Nothing like putting your money where your mouth is and leading from the front!

    IMHO, this is a brilliant strategy by Mini. Seeing the hardware out in public will give them a priceless image of leadership. GM should take the hint and do something similar with the Volt. I would gladly do the same thing with a “mule” Volt, pay the same price, and put up with whatever teething problems arose, to help advance the cause. I’m sure plenty of people here would do the same.

    #42 RVD & #45 statik:

    Yeah, it’s about $0.13 on our So Cal Edison bill. And unleaded 87 octane topped $3 in So Cal yesterday. And, “It is not all about costing…” For about the 1 millionth time.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:17 am)

    Now you need to pull a silent bank job !


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:20 am)

    I am also wondering about the regenerative braking and if the brake lights come on when you’re coasting to a stop like that. Seems like a safety issue to me if you’re slowing down significantly without any indication to the cars behind you that you’re doing so.

    I’m sure a 500 pound battery in the back seat does not exactly do wonders for the normally exceptional handling of the Mini. Best not to judge this too harshly.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:20 am)

    Ofcourse it doesn’t make economic sense. If you can pollute for free it will always be cheaper – why do you think they use lead paints ?
    ——————————–
    Who is polluting for free and using lead paint?
    Looks like many people here are loosing touch with reality.
    Just a reminder: progress should improve quality of life, not put us back into stone age.


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    Dave K.

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:21 am)

    Actions speak louder than words. Get the GM EREV cars on the road or someone else will.

    =D~


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:25 am)

    statik Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 9:49 am
    the national average is .11

    Noel Park Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 10:16 am
    Yeah, it’s about $0.13 on our So Cal Edison bill

    ———————————–
    Good for you guys, I hope that really accounts all fees and taxes and charges and not only generation fee.

    Here in MA I just paid $94.24 for 441 kWh in May. Which leads to roughly $0.214/kWh. Winter time is even more expensive.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:34 am)

    Eliezer Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 10:16 am

    What risk is there? Lyle’s leasing the car, not buying it, and Mini covers the insurance… and I wouldn’t call a battery pack an explosive. I’m sure the risk of fire is far less than in an ICE car.
    ————————————————————-
    It depends on a battery pack. There were many reports and videos on self explosion of laptop and cellphone batteries. Even brand names like Sony recalled thousands of Li-ion batteries. Car battery stores 1000x more energy than laptop battery. I do not even want to think about what would happen in a crash situation. This is uncharted territory.


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    RSBaker

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:35 am)

    This article sholud illustrate perfectly why GM is taking its time and doing so much testing. All of those little quirks and misfits in the cooper would have the automotive press howling if an actual made into rpduction and still had all of those flaws. GM more than any other company right now has to get Volt perfect right out of the box. becaus so many people will be paying atrtention, so I applaude GM for not being tempted to push up the release date of Volt when every thing seems to going well. This areticle also show that Electric vehicle will have to be purposefully designed and can not be quick conversions from gasoline models as many people think can be done. .


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:40 am)

    Nice Catch Lyle! Enjoy the testing! The best part is you get to drive it like you are renting it for a whole year!

    This is sort of off topic, but since the likely first site is NYC maybe not TOO far off. 😉
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/05/07/MNGNEPMD801.DTL
    Kite based wind generators running up into the jetstream. This is a new one to me.

    It certainly could/would address the “long tailpipe” issue.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:43 am)

    One other comment… A selling point of the Volt is the 40 mile range which fits most of the populations commuting range. So, what’s wrong with no backseat? During your commute look at how many vehicles have just one or occasionally 2 people in them. Most in my area. If the vehicle is to target the “most of the time” situations then leaving out the back seats is not necessarily a detriment.


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    EVO

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:46 am)

    Welcome to the club, finally.

    A couple of brief comparisons between your mini e description and my years old inexpensive mass produced in the US electric enduro motorcycle.

    1.

    Our electric vehicles share some of the same components and technology, but mine has multiple, switchable driving modes, one of which (Easy) emulates crappy gas performance (similar to the “For some reason, there is a built-in minimal delay before take-off from stop which ever so slightly dampens the rush of instantaneous torque” on the mini e) and one of which (Sport) allows me to feel more of the instantaneous torque off the line (pow – not even gas supercars can touch that feeling). It sounds like your mini e lets you feel some of that pow once you are moving, at least. Once drivers get used to the superior performance of electric drive, that crap gasser emulation mode is the first thing they will scream at vehicle makers to get rid of (or at least offer switches/buttons for performance modes that allow you more direct interaction with the electric drive performance potential). In the meantime, consider that built in delay off the line to be your training wheels, a penalty for having used gas vehicles for so long. My inexpensive electric vehicle does 0-30 mph is less than 2 seconds, so I know what’s possible. Probably BMW was afraid that you would smack the rear of a slower gas Lamborghini in front of you when you launch from a stop sign or red light. I haven’t yet, though holding back to give a gasser in front a chance to get into the power band of their first gear and finally get going takes massive self control.

    “a stomp [twist, in my case] on the accelerator instantly springs the car [vehicle] forward in a way most [all, actually, since electric drive provides maximum torque 100% of the time, which no gasser can] combustion cars cannot, like silently leaping through space…go-cart like road feel…very fun around turns.” Yep, the high performance sounds similar to mine. You must have electric drive.

    2.

    “The big battery has a loud ventilation system and produces noticeable heat.”

    You probably mean the power pack, which is assembled with multiple individual battery cells. My electric vehicle’s power pack (manufacturer patent pending on the array assembly) uses the same cells as your electric mini, does not make any noise at all and produces absolutely no heat when discharging or charging. It sounds like the AC Propulsion array, pack assembly, power management system, etc, is old school by comparison, but is probably extremely well and time tested by this point. The same goes for the cells in your (and my – the same ones) power pack. They aren’t the latest and greatest (on price or performance) by a long shot, but they’ve had years of robust testing with good results and are good enough all the way around for right this second viable electric vehicle use, as we both show every day that we use ours.

    After another year, I’ll still own my current high performance electric vehicle. And you? (couldn’t resist).


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:49 am)

    Gary Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    One other comment… A selling point of the Volt is the 40 mile range which fits most of the populations commuting range. So, what’s wrong with no backseat?
    ———————————————
    Nothing wrong if you compare to a bicycle which I use to go to work. But from a 3500 pounds $40000 car I would expect at least 5 comfortable seats. Better yet an option of 7. And roomy interior.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:53 am)

    #64 Gary
    You are absolutely right, BUT most of us need our cars for other times as well and don’t have the space or funds for a dedicated commuter only vehicle.

    Having said that, the Mini is cool and fun little car and Lyle should have a well deserved blast with his! I’m only about 5 years away from being able to get away with a two seater as one of our cars. (Converj maybe? Or an EREV Camaro convertable?)

    My current most of the time (discounting the ~30 km round trip to work during which I absolutely have extra space) has 3 bums in the car.

    I have the boss lady sold on the Volt, so I wait… semi-patiently.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:01 am)

    #53 Mitch said:

    #5 Statik: 1,000 posts huh? Wow, thats sad…who has that kind of time?

    lets see…who probably posts at least 5x on any given post?? static, statik, statich, stahtic..and all its variations..lol

    Who has time indeed…

    Hey Lyle..can you add up Statiks posts??lol
    ==================
    …shhh, don’t mention that

    /pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
    http://www.mackinac.org/media/images/2008/v2008-09.gif


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    Lwesson

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:02 am)

    The Boys are barking in joyful happiness for you Lyle! Down Zeus, down Apollo there is not enough room for you in that little cute thing!

    Taking the foot off the accelerator and having a sudden deceleration sounds like a bloody goode way to have some poor motorist get to meet you Lyle in a, ah, rather unpleasant setting. What were they thinking? Does the brake light come on???

    Carcus1, Benion2, Dan Petit last Lyle posting #999, hummm, is that 666 upside down or what, anyway do go to #108, give it a jolly goode look see will you?

    The Boys still want to go for a ride. Ok ok.

    Cheers!—Higgins


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    eightzero

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:05 am)

    Here’s an idea to ba around: could automakers make “mules” for homebuilders or secondary marketers to complete? Some years back, you could buy a Nissan pickup with essentially no bed – you could finsh out the rear end with whatever accessory you needed.

    Imagine this: big car manufacturers make nothing but a frame, cabin, and simple nmechanical chassis. Leave it to the secondary market to develop finishing batteries, motors, biodeisels, fuel cells, anitgravity or whatever to finish them off.

    I have a 92 Toyota Previa van that I could love to electrify. I’ve give up lots of cargo space for simple lead acid cells. But I am not a home builder. Lyle seems will to front upwards of $800/mo to lease this kind of drive train.

    Any automotive economists out there? Discuss…


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    NASA-Eng

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:05 am)

    94 miles on 28 kWh will cost about $6 in electricity ($0.22/kWh in MA)
    94 miles on 3 gallons (~31MPG) will cost $7.5 in gas ($2.5/gallon)

    WOW…your getting Ripped on Power Dude

    Huntsville Utilities is charging me $0.08 per kWh and the Mini Cooper gets 25 to 34 MPG with an automatic trans. I think your 31 mpg for an automatic is high, but I’ll concede the number.

    Huntsville Alabama
    94 miles on 28 kWh will cost about $2.23 in electricity ($0.07966 per kWh in AL)
    94 miles on 3 gallons (~31MPG) will cost $7.5 in gas ($2.5/gallon)

    Don’t forget your gas mini needs oil every 5K miles. Thats $25 a pop.

    20,0000 miles a yr.
    Electric Mini – $0.0237 per mile or $475 for the yr.
    Gas Mini – $0.0798 per mile + 4 oil changes of ($100) total = $1696

    Here is my perspective…the electic mini has battery life issues, but the gas min has transmission, exhaust, valves, cooling, etc. issues. I’m going to say that with time the battery issue at 100,000 to 150,000 miles will at some point be a wash with all the issues a gas car can potentially have. The duty cycle on the electic motor is not 1 or 2 times that of a gas engine but more like 10 times, thus I think long term mechanical cost will easily be a wash if it’s not already.

    So in my area Lyle’s MINI would save me $1221 per yr. and I would never need oil or have to stop at Citgo. And yes, I understand I can only go 94 miles at any given time, but it’s a start.

    With time it will be cheaper. There is no way a gas car can compete once the battery issue if over come. Way to many parts and limited life. One other issue with electric versus gas. As an engineer I don’t think the electric car will care how hard you drive it. Stomp on the accelerator all you want. You can’t really “Red Line” that car. When my daughter goes to college, I don’t have to worry if she has taken it in for service….. You get the point, the electric car system has some majoy advantages, again once the battery issue is over come.

    Todd


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    statik

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:10 am)

    #60 RVD said:

    Good for you guys, I hope that really accounts all fees and taxes and charges and not only generation fee.

    Here in MA I just paid $94.24 for 441 kWh in May. Which leads to roughly $0.214/kWh. Winter time is even more expensive.
    ===================
    It is ironic how I was on the other side of this coin only a thread or two ago….but I have have to stick to whatever side reality falls to. I paid $154.39 from Feb 23rd to March 22, and used 1223 kWh, for a ‘all-in’ total of 12.5 cents per kWh. So there is examples out there that counteract what you pay to make up a national average.

    I do agree with your point in #42 about it not making sense from a sheer economics standpoint…but I was just trying to smooth out/clarify what the actual price per kWh for the ‘average’ consumer would is.

    I think we can all agree that if you are trying to do ‘math’ on EVs, it just isn’t going to work out.

    To get your money’s worth, you have to be putting a value on other intangibles to make up the shortfall on the ‘dollars and cents’ ie) global warming, pollution, eco-smugness, coolness, getting off foreign oil/making a statement, etc….whatever you ‘thing is’ If you don’t have a ‘thing,’ you are not a buyer.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:25 am)

    #
    statik Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 11:10 am
    To get your money’s worth, you have to be putting a value on other intangibles to make up the shortfall on the ‘dollars and cents’ ie) global warming, pollution, eco-smugness, coolness, getting off foreign oil/making a statement, etc….whatever you ‘thing is’ If you don’t have a ‘thing,’ you are not a buyer.
    ———————————————
    I am certainly not buying Volt at $40000 price point. Jeez, I could have 2 Priuses for that money and still feel good about “global warming, pollution, eco-smugness, coolness, getting off foreign oil/making a statement, etc”.
    And I could do it today. And Prius is a well known And proven technology. And unlike bankrupt GM Toyota is a reputable company. And if you do not like Prius, there is even cheaper alternative from Honda.

    What is the point with Volt? I do not get it.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:31 am)

    #70 Eightzero
    Been done before… Duesenberg. The origional Rolls Royce’s as well. Of course they included the engine (which was THE reason to buy a Duesy or a Rolls) The bodywork on each and every one was custom. (and VERY expensive!)

    I see where you are going but what is the incentive to the automaker to do this? Some would be very well done and be excellent representitives of the company. But you just KNOW that some will be god awful and that would come back to bite them. It’s way too much risk in a society that says “Sue Them” at the drop of a hat.

    If someone modifies a vehicle after it leaves the factory that is one thing, but if the automaker sends the car out to BE finished by someone else they potentally take on the responsibilty for any major failure or injuy.

    I certainly wouldn’t do it for just anybody, they would have to have their own reputation to protect.
    Somebody like Carrol Shelby for example would not let ‘crap’ leave their shop. But some small time builder might not be so careful.

    The potential risk is high and return low for the automaker.

    /sorry for coming on so strong, at the same time I think a build like that would be fun! Maybe an old Porsche 911…


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:38 am)

    I definitely look forward to your perspective on the Mini EV mule.

    As a BEV enthusiast I am particularly interested in hearing how the 94 mile AER affects (or does not effect at all) your daily driving habits.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:44 am)

    @RSBaker 62

    “All of those little quirks and misfits in the cooper would have the automotive press howling if an actual made into rpduction and still had all of those flaws.”

    The media has already spoken on the mini e. The howls are:
    1. Get rid of that pregnant pause off the line gasser algorithm and let the electric drive stomp from the go.
    2. repeat 1.
    3. Back seats, please, for additional practicality (as if existing mini purchasers are considering practicality first and foremost).
    4. Make it more affordable (lease equates to a $40 to 60K vehicle) as power cell prices go down (as if gassers don’t charge a performance premium for superior acceleration response).

    Everything else seems adequate or superior to the media folks, so the weak sauce off the line software algorithm appears to be the biggest obstacle to full consumer acceptance and production. It should take about 0.5 seconds to delete that line of code for an on the fly existing vehicle performance upgrade. Try that with a gasser.

    It seems like it’s pretty much ready for production already. Most of the purported quirks and misfits mentioned on this thread are with the existing mini base vehicle and those are selling quite nicely.


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    coffeetime

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:46 am)

    RVD writes:

    “I just put the numbers to this conclusion:
    94 miles on 28 kWh will cost about $6 in electricity ($0.22/kWh in MA)
    94 miles on 3 gallons (~31MPG) will cost $7.5 in gas ($2.5/gallon)
    what is the point?”

    Just looking at my bill from Puget Sound Energy (Seattle area), I pay .084772 per KWH, which means that 94 miles would cost me about $2.37. Meanwhile, the average cost of gas in the Seattle area as of yesterday was $2.818, which would translate (based upon your 31 MPG) to $8.45. My figures represent a much larger spread than yours.

    Once the world economy kicks back into gear and oil consumption goes up, up, up, you just know that the price of gas will rise almost daily while the price of electricity will remain relatively stable. That is the point.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:46 am)

    #73 RVD
    A prius is a lot of things but cool is not one of them. I give you smug though! 😉

    The point of the Volt is that it turns the conventional car design model on it’s head. A conventional car, this includes the Prius, is motivated by the gasoline/diesel engine.

    The Volt and the Tesla are the new world order with pure electric drive. The Volt for cost considerations and to address user nervousness issues includes an onboard genset to allow it to be quickly “recharged” with fuel when and if required.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:46 am)

    #50 statik says “but I have to ask, does that give anyone pause on the Volt’s real world AER?”

    Ya think? I feel like I’ve literally been beating you up about this for several months. No one should think the Volt’s real world range is going to be 40 miles. As noted, Frank Weber keeps saying “up to 40 miles” not “40 miles”. This is not his being sloppy. GM is simply using the standard EPA cycle and coming up with 200 wh/mile. It would be more reasonable to assume 250 wh/mile, which gives a range in the lower 30s. But even that would be for reasonably good conditions and a reasonable driving style. It could be lower. In Ontario in the winter you can almost guarantee it will be lower because of a host of factors like higher drive train losses, more rolling resistance, and heavier air leading to more drag.

    This is not, however, such a big deal for the Volt. The average commute is 30 miles or less, and if you are careful, for example you don’t mind driving 60 mph behind a tractor trailer, you can probably get your 40 miles. Plus if the battery is depleted you just start using your gas tank. No big deal. Plus when GM is finished testing the battery it may decide to use more of the pack. (If GM used 60% or 65% of the pack they’d be getting that 40 mile range). Finally, you can only pay for the battery if you use it fully, so not depleting the battery every day means you’re leaving money on the table, so to speak. (This is point made by the CalCars and SeekingAlpha articles, among others).

    On the other hand it is a huge deal for BEVs. How many watts per mile do you think the Tesla S would use? How many would the i-Miev use? Take their pack size. Multiply by .7 to get the usable power. And then divide by 250 or 300. The results aren’t pretty, and certainly not anything near the ranges given by the press releases. (Mitsubishi gets a pass here because the range they’re giving is for the Japanese drive cycles, which are quite different from the NA drive cycles. Tesla doesn’t have any excuses other than everyone knows Elon Musk never tells a straight story so no one can reasonably rely on what he says).

    This is why I’ve said that other than something like the Aptera or the Persu, which are unconventional vehicles which have small frontal areas and/or low Cds, BEVs just aren’t going to work in NA. The battery pack needed to get a decent range is just going to cost too much. You can run the numbers. To get a 60 mile range the i-Miev would need about 16 kWh, or a battery pack of 24 kWh. Given that the i-Miev now costs about $48K, adding another $5K to $10K to its current price makes it a complete non-starter. These type numbers are why the DOE has estimated that about zero percentage of vehicles in 2020 will be BEVs.

    We’ll see if Nissan can disapprove this. That would be absolutely terrific but it’s hard to understand how that would happen.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (11:50 am)

    #73 RVD said:

    #
    statik Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 11:10 am
    To get your money’s worth, you have to be putting a value on other intangibles to make up the shortfall on the ‘dollars and cents’ ie) global warming, pollution, eco-smugness, coolness, getting off foreign oil/making a statement, etc….whatever you ‘thing is’ If you don’t have a ‘thing,’ you are not a buyer.
    ———————————————
    I am certainly not buying Volt at $40000 price point. Jeez, I could have 2 Priuses for that money and still feel good about “global warming, pollution, eco-smugness, coolness, getting off foreign oil/making a statement, etc”.
    And I could do it today. And Prius is a well known And proven technology. And unlike bankrupt GM Toyota is a reputable company. And if you do not like Prius, there is even cheaper alternative from Honda.

    What is the point with Volt? I do not get it.
    ==========================
    ==========================

    Well, for you obviously there is no point, you dont get it (or rather doesn’t make sense to you), so you are not going to buy one…and that is fair enough. That is how the world works. If you like, (and you can afford), you buy…if you don’t like, then you don’t buy.

    For me, I want a EV (I personally prefer a full BEV…but I’m breezy)…so you could offer me 20 Prius’ at $2,000 a pop and I’d still buy the Volt at $40,000 first.

    The statement I want to make is, “One gallon bought at the pumps (or litre, as the case may be), is one gallon too much.”

    If there is a vehicle that can replace something I currently drive that can offer me that, then I’m going to do it.

    Fair Disclaimer: The vehicle does have to be within my price tolerance for a passenger car (probably sub 50K…unless it is ‘wicked awesome’), and it also has to be able to be serviced locally.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:02 pm)

    statik Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 11:10 am

    It is ironic how I was on the other side of this coin only a thread or two ago….but I have have to stick to whatever side reality falls to. I paid $154.39 from Feb 23rd to March 22, and used 1223 kWh, for a ‘all-in’ total of 12.5 cents per kWh. So there is examples out there that counteract what you pay to make up a national average.
    ——————————————————
    The irony is I was much more excited in Volt at the beginning. But then numbers started to come in – gas engine power up, gas tank size up, battery life down, space down, total cost up. Nowadays, the reality check tells me Volt makes no sense. Unless gas price hits $8/gallon and electricity cost remains the same Volt will never be mass consumed. And being a niche vehicle it will never solve global warming or gas independence problems. Actually, these problems will probably get worse because Volt production will take double resources, double efforts, double everything… New plants need to be build , new mines need to be developed, new wars need to be started etc. Li-ion battery is not a car revolution.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:08 pm)

    @ statik # 50

    If you look at the original estimate for the Mini E, 150 miles/charge, then you see that the approximate kWh/mile for both cars is about 5.

    So… likely the “real world” figure for the Volt would be less, about 27 or so, assuming, of course, that you drive exactly the way BMW figures you will. Some will get more, some perhaps less.

    Gassers have an ideal fuel economy, depending on a multitude of factors, it should come as no surprise that electric cars will as well. This is why YMMV.

    My gasser gets less mileage in the summer with the A/C on, in the winter when it’s flippin’ cold, when I’m hot footing it, or doing anything not represented by the standardized gas mileage test procedure.

    Yes, if you lead foot an EV, drive it in the summer or winter with accessories cranked, you will loose mileage. This should be no surprise. It just looks worse because the EV range is so low to begin with.

    40 miles ideal to 30 miles actual looks very bad, but 400 miles ideal to 300 miles actual isn’t quite as striking, and probably wouldn’t even be noticed by the average driver’s commute.

    If you were to drive like a scalded cat for 30 miles, in the Volt you might be running on “fumes” (i.e. genset mode) when you get to your destination. In a pure EV with that range, you’d be sweating up a storm, range anxiety eating at your insides. However, in the same EV with a larger range, say 400 miles ideal, you would still have at least 270 miles left, depending on how you drive from that point on.

    Arriving at work with over 3/4 of your range still left on the clock means the average person won’t likely be looking nearly as closely. How many people know exactly how thier gasser reacts to A/C, cold temps, “spirited” driving styles, etc…? It’s just not as important.

    Oh, and congrats Lyle! I’m so jealous.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:12 pm)

    statik Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    The statement I want to make is, “One gallon bought at the pumps (or litre, as the case may be), is one gallon too much.”
    ———————————————————————–
    Are you going to refuse working, buying, eating, flying etc? This is all part of the current OIL ECONOMY. “One gallon is too much” approach will leave you with the only choice and I do not want to mention it.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:19 pm)

    DonC Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 11:46 am

    if you are careful, for example you don’t mind driving 60 mph behind a tractor trailer, you can probably get your 40 miles
    ——————————————-
    LOL, You just made my day , thank you 🙂


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:21 pm)

    #77 coffeetime said:

    RVD writes:

    “I just put the numbers to this conclusion:
    94 miles on 28 kWh will cost about $6 in electricity ($0.22/kWh in MA)
    94 miles on 3 gallons (~31MPG) will cost $7.5 in gas ($2.5/gallon)
    what is the point?”

    Just looking at my bill from Puget Sound Energy (Seattle area), I pay .084772 per KWH, which means that 94 miles would cost me about $2.37. Meanwhile, the average cost of gas in the Seattle area as of yesterday was $2.818, which would translate (based upon your 31 MPG) to $8.45. My figures represent a much larger spread than yours.

    Once the world economy kicks back into gear and oil consumption goes up, up, up, you just know that the price of gas will rise almost daily while the price of electricity will remain relatively stable. That is the point.
    ——————————-

    Feels like we are splitting hairs here a bit…but the thread is about a MINI E, so lets split them one more time.

    …the MINI actually runs premium, as FYI. National average is at $2.90 atm, and he MINI itself in base/automatic trim gets 29 MPG.

    MINI: (source: EPA
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=25800

    Premium gas: (source eia)
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_home_page.html


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:21 pm)

    94 miles on 28kWh, oh boy that is a real bummer!

    IF a small, 2-seater only squeezes out 3.36 mile/kWh, I would be very skeptical of the promised 40 miles @ 8 kWh for the Volt. Your lugging around all the extra baggage (ICE related), along with all the EV related parts. Maybe the Volt squeezes out a little more in aero, but I cannot imagine much more.

    So, lets say the Volt can get 3.5 miles/kWh, thats still only 28 miles, which is 30% less then the promised 40 miles.

    Have you noticed the slight play on words that have come out of GM? First it was “40 mile range”, then “Up to 40 miles”, and so what will be the next GM speak? Maybe, “40 miles…in your dreams”

    Pessimism is running deep with me today…sorry 🙁


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    For those who think 22 cent/kW-Hr is expensive… This is what we’re paying in the San Francisco Bay Area from PG&E:

    Baseline Usage 239.40000 Kwh @ $0.11550
    101-130% of Baseline 71.82000 Kwh @ $0.13131
    131-200% of Baseline 76.49875 Kwh @ $0.24725

    I haven’t gone over it in awhile but above 200% it jumps to ~$0.30/Kwh.

    Since an EV will be in ADDITION to whatever electrical use we have in our house, these higher rates is what we’ll be paying for our cars. So I will be curious to see what impact this MINI-E will have on Lyle’s monthly electric bill.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:26 pm)

    Statik
    “Fair Disclaimer: The vehicle does have to be within my price tolerance for a passenger car (probably sub 50K…unless it is ‘wicked awesome’), and it also has to be able to be serviced locally.”
    ======================================================
    I see the new S class Tesla in your future. It seems to meet all your requirements?


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:27 pm)

    coffeetime Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Just looking at my bill from Puget Sound Energy (Seattle area), I pay .084772 per KWH, which means that 94 miles would cost me about $2.37. Meanwhile, the average cost of gas in the Seattle area as of yesterday was $2.818, which would translate (based upon your 31 MPG) to $8.45. My figures represent a much larger spread than yours.
    ——————————————————–
    And how exactly your electric bill is better representing then mine? Seattle area is well known for very low utility prices. Its electricity cost is half of national average. Are you suggesting the entire Eastern coast to move in your State? 🙂

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/fuelelectric.html


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:35 pm)

    RVD – regarding exploding batteries, what little I know about E-One Moli batteries suggests that they are not a particularly dangerous chemistry. I believe the comparison you make to Sony laptop batteries exploding is not appropriate. That comparison is made all too often. The new Li-Ion batteries being developed for electric cars are a whole ‘nother beast.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:38 pm)

    “The rear seat has been removed and replaced with a very large 573 pound 35 kwh lithium-ion battery…”

    Am I missing something here? The Mini’s 35 kwh battery weighs 573 pounds, yet the Volt’s 16kwh battery weighs 400 pounds? I would expect the capacity to be approximately directly proportional to the weight. This isn’t even close. Can someone enlighten me?


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:47 pm)

    Terry Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    For those who think 22 cent/kW-Hr is expensive… This is what we’re paying in the San Francisco Bay Area from PG&E:

    Baseline Usage 239.40000 Kwh @ $0.11550
    101-130% of Baseline 71.82000 Kwh @ $0.13131
    131-200% of Baseline 76.49875 Kwh @ $0.24725

    I haven’t gone over it in awhile but above 200% it jumps to ~$0.30/Kwh.

    Since an EV will be in ADDITION to whatever electrical use we have in our house, these higher rates is what we’ll be paying for our cars. So I will be curious to see what impact this MINI-E will have on Lyle’s monthly electric bill.
    ——————————————-
    I would be very interested to know that as well. My estimates are very disappointing so far.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:47 pm)

    Wow, how incredible there has been NO progress in electric cars since the EV1. I have to be impressed by what GM accomplished 16 years ago! The Mini and EV1 were both 2 seater all electrics with a 90 mile range. Nothing more to note than that. The Mini is not purpose built but with 16 years of progress (or non-progress) its specs are no better than the EV1. I don’t remember the 0-60 times for the EV1 but 8.5 to 60 for the Mini with a 200hp motor sounds less than impressive. AND the power electronics shares the same engineering core as the EV1! (AC Propulsion founder was the same person who engineered the EV1 power electronics).

    Bash GM and bash the Volt but look at the specs and both the EV1 and now the Volt are WAY ahead of anything that is running, announced or even in the works by a major auto manufacturer. With all their resources why can’t a major auto maker come up with a Model S or Karma? BMW comes out with a MULE? Specs no better than an EV1? Add BMW to the green washing list!


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:48 pm)

    I’m jealous! Good for you Lyle, you deserve it.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:49 pm)

    573 pounds is like having 3 big & tall adults in the back at all times.
    I can see this is not going anywhere…


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:51 pm)

    Well…I think I really need to weigh in on this electrical bill deal.

    I have lived in my present house for 8 years and have logged/graphed each months electrical bill (actually I didn’t start until I became interested in the Volt, but had all the bills filed for the input).

    July ‘01 – 943 kWhr. for $99.03 = $0.105/kWhr.
    May ‘09 – 556 (ooh…good! Kids turned off the lights when not in use) for $115.79 = $0.208/kWHr.

    Price per kWHr. doubled in 8 years!

    The other thing I find interesting is that the rate actually goes down (slightly) with the more electricity that I use (March ’09 – 712 kWhr. For 143.77 = $0.2019/kWhr.

    These prices include ALL taxes, transmission fees, everything!

    Gas price for regular unleaded is $2.72 today at noon time (probably $2.75 when I drive by to go home).

    Yes, it will cost me electricity and gas (73 mile ‘round trip commute), but I still want my Volt. I like the look of it (although I preferred the Concept). I like the technology. I like it as a “game changer” for the automobile industry.

    Terminator Blue please.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (12:53 pm)

    C’mon people. Saying the Volt MUST get 40 miles AER is like saying my Golf MUST get 29 MPG on the highway, even if I’m driving like a hooligan, with the A/C cranked and the heater going, driving into a headwind in the middle of a blizzard at -40 degrees (Celsius or Fahrenheit), with the stereo maxed out, all the lights blazing, and my hand taped down on the horn (I can’t think on any other possible loads off the top of my head).

    Reality check. Your mileage will depend on your right foot. There are people out there who consistently beat the fuel economy estimates, referred to as hypermilers. There will likely be people who will get over 40 miles AER on the Volt. Most will not, but it won’t be the car’s fault, or the size of the battery.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:01 pm)

    kgurnsey Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Reality check. Your mileage will depend on your right foot. There are people out there who consistently beat the fuel economy estimates, referred to as hypermilers
    —————————————
    How many hypermilers do you know? They are like 1 ppm and the way they achieve it is beyond my imagination.
    The truth is unknown how many miles Volt can do per kWh. Up to 40 miles is not useful. It is an upper bound from what I can tell. But what is median or at least average?


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    No gas, congrats Lyle. Keep up the good fight!


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:03 pm)

    kgurney @ 97

    I agree with you 100%.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:06 pm)

    Jake Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    RVD – regarding exploding batteries, what little I know about E-One Moli batteries suggests that they are not a particularly dangerous chemistry. I believe the comparison you make to Sony laptop batteries exploding is not appropriate. That comparison is made all too often. The new Li-Ion batteries being developed for electric cars are a whole ‘nother beast.
    ———————————-
    I do not know. At least Tesla seems to be using thousands of off the shelf cells. IMHO, people who drive Tesla are not representing any meaningful category of population.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    “The big battery has a loud ventilation system and produces noticeable heat.”

    So you got a battery where the back seat should be, with the ventilation system sitting right behind you, and heat emanting from the battery pack? And they’re giving it to you for $800 a month to test this way? I don’t remember any similar comments from Volt test drives, although I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong. That said, I’ve got to hand it to GM, right now it sounds as if they are light years ahead of the MINI.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:09 pm)

    I’m gonna draft large trucks a la Mythbusters to get my 40 AER goshdurnit!


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    Thomas Gilling

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:20 pm)

    Good look with the MINI or Mini.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:22 pm)

    #91 anvillis says “Can someone enlighten me?”

    Nice catch and good question. My answer/guess would be the weight attributable to the tank like structure which houses the battery pack. The case would probably survive an atomic blast and has to weigh a couple of hundred pounds.

    #86 JEC says “Pessimism is running deep with me today…sorry”
    #88 JEC says “I see the new S class Tesla in your future. It seems to meet all your requirements?”

    Last week I was nuts to say that the Volt would use 250 wh/mile and now you want to use 286 wh/mile? Yes, pessimism is running a bit high! As for the Tesla, you need to evaluate the stated specs. The battery pack and related controls are the most expensive part of the vehicle, and the costs increase in a linear fashion with the size of the pack. At production levels, the Volt, using GM’s expertise and supply chain, will cost $48K to build with a 16 kWh battery pack. The i-Miev using Mitsubishi’s expertise and supply chain will cost $48K to build with a 16 kWh battery pack. Given these numbers, how likely is it that, hand built, the Tesla, with that very nice interior — no doubt genuine Corinthian leather — and a 42 kWh battery pack, will cost less than $58K to build?

    Not only that, but the Model S will go 300 miles, which works out to 98 wh/mile. Right. Can we spell F*A*I*R*Y T*A*L*E? Basically if the Tesla S ever gets built, which seems increasingly unlikely, it will cost $75K and go a hundred miles.

    #98 RVD — Use 250 wh/mile. That’s a pretty good number to sue as a SWAG for most driving and most drivers. If you’re really aggressive then you might use up to 400 wh/mile, but that would be really aggressive. My guess is that most people willing to pay a premium for an EV will be reasonably careful with the occasional lapse. 🙂


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:22 pm)

    David K (CT) Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Price per kWHr. doubled in 8 years!
    ———————————————————-
    Right now electricity is following oil and gas prices.
    People, who believe oil price will go nuts and electricity will remain stable are not realistic. Opposite to this it could actually become much more expensive if more cars will be shifted to use electricity, electricity demand will grow and oil demand will be reduced. Hence pricing of electricity could potentially grow much faster than oil if no new generation capacity added in time.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:26 pm)

    DonC Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    #91 anvillis says “Can someone enlighten me?”

    Nice catch and good question. My answer/guess would be the weight attributable the tank like structure which houses the battery pack. The case would probably survive an atomic blast and has to weigh a couple of hundred pounds.
    ——————————————–
    e-MINI obviously cut some weight on battery pack safety.
    As of now I am not sure I would like to be inside that thing.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:27 pm)

    #79 DonC said:

    Oh, Im not going down that road again, lol.

    Your quote:
    “…for example you don’t mind driving 60 mph behind a tractor trailer, you can probably get your 40 miles”

    Hehe, its not ‘MY’ 40 miles. I assume you where being rhetorical and not really directing that to me, but I had to mention it anyway.

    I have no issue with the real world numbers on the Volt being lower, or the i-MiEV (just by how much I suppose). I was using this (the MINI 94 mile range on a 28 kWh pack) as a comparison of why a much lower AER on the Volt is actually a likely reality. (I was just being nice/indirect about it, lol).

    I don’t expect the Volt to be anywhere near 40 miles AER for ‘average Joe’ when he takes it out. Low 30s would be my stab.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:32 pm)

    Lyle, Congratulations on # 1000 and the mini – E.

    ..

    ……

    .. . ……

    So anyway, I was wondering if I could borrow the mini-e for a few weeks in August? If you can’t, I understand.. . I just thought I’d ask. I’ll take real good care of it. I’ll wash it off and vacuum all the sonic tots out from under the seat and bring it back with a full tank.

    oh, oh. . . . aaaaannnnd I can leave you my old pickup while I’ve got your bimmer. Maybe you need to take some stuff to the dump or something?

    No pressure or anything, just let me know.

    Your friend,
    Carcus1


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:34 pm)

    Congratulations, Lyle! We will be looking forward to updates on your electric driving experience.

    Also, 1000 posts! You are certainly dedicated. Keep up the good work.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:34 pm)

    #83 RVD said:

    statik Says: “The statement I want to make is, “One gallon bought at the pumps (or litre, as the case may be), is one gallon too much.”
    ————————
    Are you going to refuse working, buying, eating, flying etc? This is all part of the current OIL ECONOMY. “One gallon is too much” approach will leave you with the only choice and I do not want to mention it.
    ==============

    No, obviously not, but if I have the option to do any of those things without using oil by paying a premium…I will do so.

    I’m not going to not buy a EV, because my lawn mover uses gas, that makes no sense. (although I have a cordless battery-electric lawnmower, lol). I use my purchasing dollars to support the technologies/products that best fit my ideals and the direct I want to see taken.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:39 pm)

    Lyle:

    Too busy at work to read all the posts today.

    But I just wanted to say “congratulations!” and I hope you have fun with the Electric Mini.

    You have one year to run test that unit to its limits.

    Go for it!!!

    🙂


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:39 pm)

    #93 KentT,

    “Bash GM and bash the Volt but look at the specs and both the EV1 and now the Volt are WAY ahead of anything that is running, announced or even in the works by a major auto manufacturer. With all their resources why can’t a major auto maker come up with a Model S or Karma? BMW comes out with a MULE? Specs no better than an EV1? Add BMW to the green washing list!”

    And at $850/month, for a 6 year loan at current interest rates, this would finance a $50,000 vehicle!


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:41 pm)

    #88 JEC said:

    Statik
    “Fair Disclaimer: The vehicle does have to be within my price tolerance for a passenger car (probably sub 50K…unless it is ‘wicked awesome’), and it also has to be able to be serviced locally.”

    —I see the new S class Tesla in your future. It seems to meet all your requirements?
    ==========================
    ==========================
    Everything but the last bit (serviced inside its electric range).

    There has been some talk of a Toronto Tesla dealership..but still nothing. (I’d be a little concerned on the ‘when’ I’d receive it if I placed a order too…not a lot of confidence I’d actually get one until like late 2013/early 2014, and it would drive me crazy to see other EVs on the road for a year or two…but I’d give it a really good think, lol)

    “The stores in New York, Seattle and Chicago will open in late June, followed by Miami. The new additions will complement Tesla’s flagship stores in Northern and Southern California, which opened a year ago. Tesla is also scouting locations in Washington DC and TORONTO!”
    http://www.motorauthority.com/tesla-expands-across-the-globe-with-seven-new-dealerships.html

    #105 DonC said: “how likely is it that, hand built, the Tesla, with that very nice interior — no doubt genuine Corinthian leather — and a 42 kWh battery pack, will cost less than $58K to build?”

    —I do agree with you like a billion percent here though Don.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:43 pm)

    @kgurnsey 82 said:
    “40 miles ideal to 30 miles actual looks very bad,…
    If you were to drive like a scalded cat for 30 miles…In a pure EV with that range, you’d be sweating up a storm, range anxiety eating at your insides.”

    The Volt sounds great. You don’t need to baselessly disrespect pure EVs for it to be a good vehicle. I’m sure you have some valid points, but that’s not one of them.

    Since my existing all electric vehicle (pure EV enduro motorcycle) has that exact manufacturer range, 40 miles, I have to respond to that wild conjecture with my actual, real world experience.

    When I actually ride like a scalded cat (only much faster) for 30 miles, when I actually arrive at my destination, no, I don’t sweat up a storm, and no, I don’t have range anxiety eating at my insides. I think I’ve got at least a quarter of my actual capacity left (the dash display lets me know exactly how much capacity I have left at all times – maybe they could do that for gas, oh they do?), plenty left but maybe I’ll let the vehicle top itself off while I’m busy at my destination (try that with a gasser, as most destinations have electrical outlets and few have gas pumps and you have to stand right at a smelly, flammable gas pump while you refill). No big whoop. Really. You can adjust to the not so different new ways of electric drive quickly and easily.

    For those who like my vehicle but have range issues, the manufacturer sells a version with twice the power pack size of mine. It really all comes down to how much per charge range you want to purchase, since that’s currently the most expensive single part of an electric drive vehicles. Smart manufacturers can ultimately offer different per charge ranges at different price points for consumers. This is a case where a little bit of personal experience is way better than a boatload of wild conjecture.

    Also, since a commute involves your vehicle sitting for hours at a time as you work while it can recharge, it’s ideal for an electric vehicle multi-range trip. Most folks commute way less than 40 miles one way and most don’t do it on an interstate (that’s 1% of all roads) or at interstate speeds (most real world commuters continually face stop and go traffic jams, gridlock, red lights and stop signs).

    Yes, I drive my vehicle in a way that’s appropriate to its performance and range, but you all do that already with your gassers. Surely you make minor adjustments when you get a new vehicle to operate the new vehicle as it actually works, not as your old one did?

    Last, sure, if you really insist on forcing your vehicle to run out of gas far from where you can refill, you can do that (easier to do with few gas stations than with an electric (many nearby outlets)). But why would you do that?

    Nice little reality check for y’all.

    When everyone has real world daily experience with electric drive vehicles, this site will be a historical hoot. “If my good man cannot walk in front of the motor carriage with the lantern to warn others of our impending arrival, I imagine that will dramatically increase the anxiety of all, so the motor carriage cannot possibly work for our fellow man.”


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:44 pm)

    Good luck with the Mini Lyle. Hope you have a fun, safe year with it. Keep us posted on how it does and thank you for all of your work with the gm-volt site.


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    DaveP

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:47 pm)

    As cool as it is to be able to at least have an EV to drive around for awhile, I just had a realization (that kind of makes me laugh) of the fact that the major auto companies with EVs this time around are the ones that didn’t even make it to the crushing party the LAST time around.
    As near as I can remember (I didn’t use The Google this time so I may be incorrect):
    This time (at least):
    BMW, Mitsubishi (Japan), Subaru (Japan)
    Last time (at least):
    GM, Toyota, Ford, Honda

    The only sort of exception I see is that this time around GM comes back with EREV. Which is also probably the only vehicle this time around not destined for a lease/crush agreement. 🙂

    Just a random thought to ponder.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (1:53 pm)

    DISCLOSURE
    I understand that driving the MINI E, as well as preparation for driving in, passing, turning, breaking, parking, charging, plugging in, test driving and related activities in alpine, plain, windy, wet and snow (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Activities”), conditions, variations in steepness or road, natural and man-made obstacles and structures, battery failure, collisions with other vehicles or structures, being struck by driver/riders or other vehicle, and exceeding one’s own abilities. I further understand that MINI E driving may be more hazardous than driving a conventional ICE vehicle. I understand that INJURIES OF ALL TYPES ARE A COMMON AND ORDINARY OCCURRENCE of the Activities. I know that personal training, instruction, supervision and enforcement of rules by the police, highway patrol, RMV, DMV, FHA, IIHS, its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, volunteers, employees, organizers and sponsors, and operators do not and cannot guarantee my safety.
    With full knowledge and understanding of the RISK OF SEVERE INJURY AND DEATH involved in MINI E driving, I FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY ACCEPT AND FULLY ASSUME THE RISK THAT I MAY SUFFER TEMPORARY, PERMANENT OR EVEN FATAL INJURIES.


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    carcus1

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:03 pm)

    DaveP @ 117

    “Just a random thought to ponder.”
    ____________________________

    It’s random, but not much of a thought, really. So you might want to go ahead and exercise google privileges.

    Or, I can save you the google fatigue. Almost every major auto manufacturer in the world has some type of BEV in the works at this time.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:07 pm)

    #118 RVD
    You should see the one for my new keyboard!
    I laughed out loud when I read the one for my mountain bike!

    RVD I haven’t quite figured out your agenda but you sure are negative today!


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    kgurnsey

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:12 pm)

    @ Kent T # 93

    The progress exists in the size and weight of the battery pack. The pack in the Mini E is much smaller, 575ish lbs vs. the EV1’s 700 lbs of NiMH or 1300 lbs of PbA. Even though the battery pack is positioned more awkwardly, due to the fact that it is a conversion as opposed to a ground up EV, it’s a pretty big leap. Also consider that the Mini E needs more battery capacity to achieve the same range as the EV1, due to significantly worse aerodynamics. So, you get the same range from a battery pack half the size, in a car that is much less aerodynamically efficient, and say we haven’t had progress? Yikes. With a modern battery, many sources have mentioned that the EV1 would be a 300 mile car. That’s progress.

    There has been progress on the motor/controller side as well, but it is not nearly as pronounced. The lion’s share of progress has been on the battery side of things.

    When it comes to batteries, it’s all about the chemistry. Not all Li-Ion chemistries are the same. The explodey ones are, I believe, Lithium-Cobalt. The Volt uses Lithium Manganese Spinel. I’m not sure what chemistry the MINI E uses, but it will be one of the non exploding types, I expect. Even though Li-Ion as a rule is better than NiMH or PbA, not all Li-Ion chemistries have the same power or energy densities either, which could account for a weight difference between the Volt pack and the Mini E.


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    Mitch

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:20 pm)

    #103 ccombs

    “I’m gonna draft large trucks a la Mythbusters to get my 40 AER goshdurnit!”

    A ls mythbusters..? does that mean AER = all EXPLOSIVE range?

    KABOOM!!!! HAHahahahaha


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    Jim

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:27 pm)

    Traitor! Just kidding.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:35 pm)

    MuddyRoverRob Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    RVD I haven’t quite figured out your agenda but you sure are negative today!
    ————————————————-
    More I look at pieces of information made public about electric cars less I want to have Volt, MiniE etc, more I am inclined to buy Prius/Fit. It is like all this electric noise and unsustainable claims diverting public attention from a real solution. The problem with electric cars is that they make no sense with expensive immature battery technology in the current economic conditions.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:36 pm)

    @ EVO # 115

    My intention was never to slander BEVs, and for that I apologize; I was only trying to make a larger point about how mileage is dependant on one’s perspective, and one’s right big toe. I agree with basically every thing you mentioned, and believe that they are all valid points. I would ask though, respectfully, that you take a step back and focus on the “other good points” of my post, instead of zeroing in on the one, somewhat exaggerated, example. I admit my description of range anxiety is a bit over the top, but only to emphasize a greater point that I was trying to make.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:46 pm)

    kgurnsey Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    The progress exists in the size and weight of the battery pack. The pack in the Mini E is much smaller, 575ish lbs vs. the EV1’s 700 lbs of NiMH or 1300 lbs of PbA.
    ——————————————
    What you mentioned here is not a noticeable progress. While EV1 battery managed to reduce battery weight almost in half (46%), MINI E battery weight reduction is insignificant (18%). Volt problems are even worse, as you will be required to pay double price upfront because of 50% of unusable battery capacity.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:54 pm)

    Realizing, as Lyle mentions, that the mini-E is not meant for production . . .just a mule to gather data, let’s hope that BMW follows the lead of Aptera (and the EV1) when they do get a production intent BEV together. Emphasizing low weight (1700bs,( 2900 lbs)) and Cd (.15, (.19)) .

    Methinks a successful EV design will be drawn on a clean sheet of paper, and may very well have to say “goodbye to steel”. — Why does this seem to be so hard to understand?


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (2:55 pm)

    121, kgurnsey

    My point exactly. With progress the Mini should be a 300 mile range electric not a 94 mile range electric!!!!!

    How about some speculation on the Volt as a pure electric? Toss the engine, generator, fuel, cooling, exhaust and emmission systems out and I bet you would have a four door, four passenger 100 mile plus range pure electric. Vastly superior and practical than the Mini e-MULE and I bet you could have all this with the existing battery! AND I’d believe the Volt without the ICE anchor would out accelerate the electric Mini!

    COME ON AUTO MAKERS, THE ELECTRIC WATERS ARE JUST FINE!


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:01 pm)

    #124 RVD
    Which is exactly why the Volt is so important!

    Of course the first generation of a new technology is going to be expensive and to a certain extent less capable than it’s successors. You can pick any sort of commodity, being an early adopter rarely makes financial sense. (How about $20000 flat screen TV’s?)

    It has to start somewhere.

    There are many companies claiming to have the next ‘great’ battery technology. If even just a few of these see the light of day the later generation Volt/Converj/Electra’s will be ready to take advantage of them.

    For Gen 1 they picked an existing known engine for the genset, again I think this is the right move. One less thing to worry about.

    Here is the reality, I know people who are not ‘green’ enthusiasts who ended up with a Prius as a rental car. One returned it to the rental agency and asked for a real car. Another simply said it wasn’t nice to drive.

    In either case without the driver coming in with the ‘smug’ factor the car simply didn’t stand up to the drivers expectations.

    I think the Volt can pull off this very tricky balancing act. I guess we will see in time whether I’m right or not.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:10 pm)

    EVO Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Last, sure, if you really insist on forcing your vehicle to run out of gas far from where you can refill, you can do that (easier to do with few gas stations than with an electric (many nearby outlets)). But why would you do that?

    Nice little reality check for y’all.
    ——————————————————-
    What kind of reality is that? Or maybe I live in a different country? Last time I drove my car I saw ZERO electric outlets along the road. It is not even highway. Residential roads. What kind of “many nearby outlets” are you talking about? Do you mean knocking on the nearby house door with extension cord and ask permission:

    “Excuse me m’m, would you mind if I stick my plug into your outlet for the next 10 hours?” (it is not what you think, I really need to charge my car)

    Or do you mean to carefully hookup to high voltage wires and poles along the road with some smartly designed hooks throwing them like a pirate?

    When my gas yellow light comes in I know I still could drive 30 to 50 miles, but I am getting anxious on the unknown highway. What if it is less than 30? You know, it is not known until you experience empty tank a few times, and that kind of experience is what we all want to avoid.

    OK, let the worst happen, you stuck with empty tank in the middle of nowhere. There is still an easy procedure to wait and fill up few gallons and go. What do you do with your EV? Waiting for a recharging truck? Or tow truck? I think so.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:14 pm)

    #127 Carcus1
    You are right, but lets be realistic about the costs. It simply will cost more to build a car out of composites than out of steel.

    Steel behaves very predictably in a crash, composites not so much, they tend to splinter.

    However after these very real considerations are addressed clean sheet designs will likely be common. Here comes our electric flying car boat!


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    CS Guy

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:24 pm)

    131 Muddy, “Here comes our electric flying car boat.”

    Man, am I jealous! I want one of them thar electric flying car boats too!

    You know what they say about Texas weather “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.”


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:25 pm)

    #130 RVD

    GO VOLT!

    I have way too much time on my hands today… sigh…

    Have a great quiet drive home today Lyle!


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:30 pm)

    #132 CS Guy

    Sounds like southern Alberta! it was 25c and sunny less an hour ago and right now I’m wondering if Noah will be along shortly!


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:34 pm)

    @ RVD # 126

    But it is progress. Not all progress happens overnight, nor does it happen linearly. It happens in fits and starts, with some lulls along the way. Consider that it essentially took a century to get from the PbA to NiMH batteries. That’s 50% reduction in 100 years. Li-Ion hits the scene only 10 years later, and voila, another 18% reduction. That IS progress. Imagine what another 10 years will bring, now that research and development is really ramping up. The next crops of storage technologies are looking very promising.

    @ KentT #128

    I have to disagree. Not everyone could use a BEV with the current technology. Many could, and I’m glad to see BEVs hitting the scene, but many people also require the ability to refuel often enough that, until BEVs can recharge on the fly in fewer than 5 mins, there will have to be both BEVs and E-REVs in the mix.

    Personally, I do 400+ mile in one day type trips often enough that refueling is mandatory, and renting a gasser for all those trips is not practical. Even if a BEV had a 500 mile range, there would have to be at least a 240V 40A charging station at the other end, in order to make the return trip in time, which is not guaranteed. However, I also would like to be able to do my daily commute on electrons alone, which the Volt would, for the most part, allow me to do. To me, and many others, the E-REV solution is the best compromise available with current technology.

    Personally, I would ideally like an E-REV with about an 80-120 mile range, but I realize that adding that extra battery cost that isn’t practical in a mass market sense. The Volt is a compromise, to offer the most EV range to the most people, without reducing the potential market due to insufficient recharging capability and prohibitively high cost.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:36 pm)

    MuddyRoverRob Says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    GO VOLT!
    —————————
    Hold on your horses! Volt has its own BOC.
    GM choose “double everything” approach with Volt:
    1. Double engine/motor
    2. double battery capacity
    3. double fuel – battery and fuel tank
    4. double maintenance
    5. double price

    From design and reliability standpoint this is inferior approach to PEV.
    What is the right way of doing things future will tell. As of now I have reasonable doubts in both approaches.


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    EVO

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:39 pm)

    kgurnsey 125

    No worries. I was just trying to point out that real world daily experience really helps everyone understand how electric drive really works for users. Now this site has some (real world daily experience) available to it, with the mini e on board.

    My electric enduro motorcycle uses about 20 watt hours per mile (i.e. gets about 50 miles per kilowatt hour) if that helps you. The biggest factor in changing range is how much like a hoon I ride it, which is well limited by local traffic, turns, stop signs, red lights and speed limits. Accessories and time of year are real non-issues for range on a motorcycle.

    The reality is that all electric vehicles are not quite as good yet as their wildest proponents would insist (nothing is perfect) and are much better than their worst detractors claim. Mine has exceeded all of my expectations (which I think were fairly realistic and pragmatic) and given the choice again, I would buy it again as my consumer benefits have far outweighed the costs.

    I’ve seen this site evolve into a somewhat overall comprehensive and deep understanding of how EVs work in general, and EREVs in specific, which for sight unseen and undriven for most of the posters is kudos indeed.

    Go to existing car blogs and you’ll see the future of this blog in which many of the exotic and theoretic concerns expressed here will mostly devolve to the much more mundane “the door locks are a little sticky, rarely the car won’t start and the key has to be removed and replaced” type that you can find on any car model blog (oh, that’s what the article above said, go figure). BTW, my electric vehicle uses the same power cells as the mini e and it’s never had that behavior, so the key problem is obviously not caused by the power cells.

    I hope we get to hear when the mini e gets really dirty as that’s the true sign of electric vehicle success, or so the mud in my off road tires say.


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:47 pm)

    Lyle:

    What are you going to do for the 5 months between the time you have to return the Mini and take delivery of a VOLT ?


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    CS Guy

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:52 pm)

    Has anyone else seen this: a Ford Escape Hybrid PHEV with 30 mile AER and stated 120 MPG.

    “Ford will provide 21 vehicles to nine different utilities across North America for the real-world trials. The test drives will be used to collect data on vehicle systems, battery technology, customer use and grid infrastructure.”
    http://gas2.org/2009/06/10/going-the-distance-ford-delivers-first-phev-to-canadas-largest-electricity-producer/

    I applaud all efforts to seriously dent our foreign oil consumption, and 30 miles AER aint bad as a first effort, just as a testbed type of thing.

    This broad based approach to electrifying the automobile will achieve the best outcomes. An auto maker cannot do it on its own. A group of utilities could not do it on their own. But working together the common goal will be reached that much easier.


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (3:54 pm)

    One more thing:

    Order a license plate that says: WHIRRRR or HUMMMMM


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    EVO

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:07 pm)

    RVD 130

    You answered your own question.

    Sure, residential house or any commercial building. Last I knew the US has a few hundred million of both of those all over the place, all of them already with electrical outlets. You only need enough to reach your destination or the closest formal fast recharging station.

    “OK, let the worst happen, you stuck with empty …[pack] in the middle of nowhere. There is still an easy procedure to wait and fill up few … [watts] and go.” AAA or any other auto service company / service station help vehicle already has it covered as service vehicles already have power outlets for a small charge to get you to a less mobile power supply if that’s what you prefer. Yep, it’s that easy. Really. And that, as you so readily admitted, is the worst case, which you already try to avoid. Instead of looking at your fuel gauge once in a while and planning your driving / refilling and schedule as you automatically do now (to the point that you don’t even realize that you do it), you’ll do the exact same thing, with slightly different range / refill times. It really is no big deal. I do it every day and take less time with it all than I did with my gasser. In my case I can also swap out my power pack for a fresh one in seconds, but that’s a different discussion for a different day.

    You could at least try to raise some objections that are real.

    “Do you mean knocking on the nearby house door with extension cord and ask permission”

    You wouldn’t need to do that in my neighborhood. My roadside outdoor house outlet already has a little sign above it that says “All Electric Vehicles Welcome”, in case anybody wants to top off while I’m not there. Try that with a gasser.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:08 pm)

    @EVO #137

    Thanks for speaking up! Your experiences are very encouraging. I am one of those who expect that EVs will perform better than most think, but not as well as some may wish or expect. I have had experience with the Ford Electric Ranger (one of the very, very few in Canada who can say that, I expect), back in the late 90’s, so I’ve been a full blown EV fan (BEV and E-REV) for a while. Unfortunately, the EV pickings are even more slim up here than south of the border.

    I am looking long and hard at a Vectrix for my commute in the summer months. It’s currently a rather long highway commute, but it is set to get a lot shorter in the next few weeks, and accessible via back roads, so it’s a very tempting prospect.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    #119 carcus1 says “Almost every major auto manufacturer in the world has some type of BEV in the works at this time.”

    Seems like everyone and their brother has an EV in the works. However, how many major manufacturers have announced a production schedule for their EV? Mitsubishi but with geographic limits. Nissan but we haven’t seen the actual vehicle. And then GM with the Volt. I think this is about it. Have I missed some?

    There are of course some smaller players, say Coda, which have announced vehicles that look doable. But those aren’t major companies.


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    Eliezer

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:18 pm)

    #118 RVD:

    With full knowledge and understanding of the RISK OF SEVERE INJURY AND DEATH involved in MINI E driving, I FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY ACCEPT AND FULLY ASSUME THE RISK THAT I MAY SUFFER TEMPORARY, PERMANENT OR EVEN FATAL INJURIES.
    ————————————————————————————

    I’m pretty sure you could say the same for every car on the road today. The Mini-E has gone through crash tests and safety evaluations just like any ICE car, so I don’t really see your point… though I do like how you use ALL CAPS for the potentially scary parts of the disclosure. As if I didn’t know that driving was dangerous already…


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:20 pm)

    #136 RVD
    Ok, I give you some of that for gen1.
    I DID say there was a cost to be early, I meant it.
    —————————————————————-
    GM choose “double everything” approach with Volt:
    1. Double engine/motor
    This is WHY I like the volt, I would have range nervousness otherwise. This design is the reason I’ll buy one.
    2. double battery capacity
    This is a Gen 1 Thing I believe, a cost of being an early adopter.
    3. double fuel – battery and fuel tank
    It will be a small airtight gas tank.
    4. double maintenance
    EV’s are proven low maintenance and since the genset will not run all the time maintenance requirements are yet to be known but MAY be slightly different than a conventional car.
    Likely less maintenance will be required.
    5. double price
    That one isn’t quite true even at the estimated ‘full’ price of the Volt. But since the retail price hasn’t even been announced it’s too soon to answer that one. But in any case even if this is close to true the early adopter clause steps in.

    You have TWO power sources how can this be inferior or less reliable?
    —————————————————————-
    It’s clear you will not be an early adopter this time and that is fine. Maybe you bought one of the expensive ($20000) early flat TV’s, if so thank you for supporting the new technology. I got mine for $1200 just before Christmas.

    For the record;
    I am NOT a hater of conventional vehicles, I own a LandRover a Subaru and a Chevy Malibu, in the past I have owned Datsun’s/Nissan’s (both), a Mercedes a Ford Capri and others. I currently have my eyes on an older Porsche 911 as a toy.

    However with the Volt see what I think is the first electric car design that addresses the huge range anxiety issue directly with the extender. I see this as the major hurdle for the average consumer for every electric car design. Even if I could afford Mr Musk’s Tesla I wouldn’t buy one because of the charging issues when on the road.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:26 pm)

    #108 statik says “I assume you where being rhetorical and not really directing that to me, but I had to mention it anyway. ”

    Oh. That was definitely not a reference to “Statik’s” 40 miles. Definitely the royal “your”, as in “one might get one’s 40 miles …”. In fact I thought I was supporting your skepticism about the announced 40 mile range. I don’t BTW have any problem with the “up to 40 mile range” that Frank Weber uses. This seems like an optimistic but OK way to present it. Like I said, for the Volt the range is not critical.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:29 pm)

    #58 RVD:

    We all pollute for free. Anyone who contributes car tailpipe emissions is polluting the air for free. Electric generating plants, coal in particular, manufacturing plants of all kinds, trucks, railroad locomotives, ships, the list goes on forever. All of that stuff causes more deaths in the US every year than traffic accidents, and multiple billions of dollars of health care costs, all borne by the victims and the taxpayers, not by the polluters Economists have a name for it, “externalized costs”.

    Not to mention the multiple billions of dollars the taxpayers contribute to defend the oil supply lines. GM-Volt.com blogger “jbfalaska”, an Air force veteran, has said many times that, if the defense costs alone are figured in, the bottom line cost of gasoline is about $10/gallon. Factor in the health costs, and I beleive that he is being conservative.

    Not to mention C02, as I don’t want to get into it with the deniers here. But just wait and see what that costs.

    A lot of people need to get in touch with reality. Progress to me is when we have healthy air to breathe, and people who create costs have to pay for them, and not shift them on to me.

    #60 RVD:

    It’s the bottom line total on the bill divided by the kwh. It’s actually about $0.127, but I rounded up.

    #103 ccombs:

    I dunno what Mythbusters said, but I have a mileage readout in my 3500 pickup. How dumb is that, BTW, but oh well? When I tow my big trailer, my mileage goes up by at least 10% if I follow a semi at ~60 mph. The problem is that I have read a lot about the health impacts of diesel exhaust. Behind a semi, your cancer risk goes up by something like 17 times. So, after a few miles, I always chicken out and pass, LOL.

    #131 MuddyRoverBob:

    Composites may splinter, but they soak up a lot of energy in the process. I have had a couple of NASTY crashes in my ’58 Corvette vintage race car, and I have been able to walk away.

    Did you happen to see Tony Kanaan hit the wall at Indianapolis this year? I read that the data acquisition package recorded 175 gs. I am not making this up. This in a car with a completely composite chassis and body. He was a little woozy, but he walked out of the infield care center about 20 minutes later.

    I’ll take my chances in a properly designed composite car any day.


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    coffeetime

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:29 pm)

    RVD writes:

    “And how exactly your electric bill is better representing then mine? Seattle area is well known for very low utility prices. Its electricity cost is half of national average. Are you suggesting the entire Eastern coast to move in your State?”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it was you who took your local electric and gas costs, did the math, and asked: “What’s the point?”

    The point is that fuel costs (electric and gas) and vehicle needs (four wheel drive trucks in Idaho, tiny city cars in San Francisco) are all over the map in the U S. Perhaps folks in Seattle, and other places where electric rates are low, will become electric car pioneers, buying them in disproportionate numbers and providing this fledging new way of driving the necessary sales ($$$) to develop second, third, fourth and so on generations that will be more powerful and less expensive for everyone.

    Even if you can’t justify buying a Volt or other PHEV when they debut, I would hope you’d be thankful and would be rooting for all of the early adapters who will be instrumental in pushing this technology forward, eventually making it more affordable for the masses wherever they live.


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    Eliezer

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:30 pm)

    As nice as it is to see another EV on the road, this car doesn’t stand a chance against the Model S or Volt. Sorry BMW/Mini, you’re going to have to do better than that if you’re going to get serious about electric propulsion.


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    MuddyRoverRob

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (4:38 pm)

    #147 Noel Park

    F1 and Indy cars are made of carbon fibre and cost considerably more than my house. Once crashed they are scrapped you cannot repair that sort of damage.

    The ’58 ‘Vette is an awesome car! My jealous twitch has activated!
    It does however have a steel chassis that supplies most of it’s structural strength.

    The origional point was that production cars need to move away from steel to composites. I do not disagree but there are compromises to be made in both cost and safety.


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    EVO

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (5:05 pm)

    kgurney 142

    Sure, but for the next year the reports of the mini e experiences from its leasees will be more pertinent to the Volt than my electric enduro motorcycle experiences are, except for the old school power cells the mini e uses, as I have a couple more years user experience with them.

    The slick fit and finish Vectrix Maxi-Scooters line up are just some of the many, many ever increasing choices and price points in decent performance light electrics, although I have not tried one personally (I have seen one ridden in person and my local motorcycle dealer has them in stock). If they don’t offer enough range for you, there are other choices that do. I think around 60 miles is a typical around town range for lithium based highway capable electric street legal supermotos and maxi-scooters in production today, a good 50% more than my enduro’s perfectly adequate 40 mile range. If you charge while at work, then, you can easily handle a 100 mile round trip back road commute with one of those new all street models.

    I certainly think that the back roads are the best roads for electrics, especially when you hear all the birds and see the scenery. It kinda makes you want to savor the trip and you get optimal range as an accidental benefit. Popular local electric touring is going to be a huge boon to local economies, assuming that you like a growing domestic economy.


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (5:22 pm)

    @ kgurney

    “I am one of those who expect that I am one of those who expect that EVs will perform better than most think, but not as well as some may wish or expect.”

    kgurney highlights an excellent point here.

    Ok, folks, let’s get our heads out of the future and accept the reality of the present. EVs ALREADY DO perform better (and cost less) than most think, but not as well as some may wish or expect and they are doing it better and better every second, thanks to those who do work to make the future happen today. Welcome to the recent past. It’s here, now, right this second, and has been. Jump on or get run over by it.


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    coffeetime

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (5:25 pm)

    David K (CT) writes:

    “July ‘01 – 943 kWhr. for $99.03 = $0.105/kWhr.
    May ‘09 – 556 (ooh…good! Kids turned off the lights when not in use) for $115.79 = $0.208/kWHr.
    Price per kWHr. doubled in 8 years!”

    Like you, I also keep my receipts going back years. I just grabbed my power bill from ten years ago:

    Up to 600 KWH per month: $.059965
    Over 600 KWH: $.068493

    The bill I just paid looks like this:

    Up to 600 KWH per month: $0.084772
    Over 600 KWH: $0.102581

    Since a plug-in car would be paying in the over 600 KWH range, that’s a little less than a 50% increase in the past ten years. Now, this is from Puget Sound Energy, which services areas surrounding the core Seattle area. For folks living within Seattle proper, their power comes from Seattle City Light, and it is even cheaper:

    First 10 KWH (Apr-Sep) or 16 KWH (Oct-Mar) per day: $0.0376
    Additional: $0.0793

    Combined with our mild climate (and thus, fewer demands on A/C), I would hope that buyers in our neck of the woods can lead the way with electric cars of all kinds.


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    carcus1

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (5:25 pm)

    DonC @ 143,

    “However, how many major manufacturers have announced a production schedule for their EV?”
    ___________________

    I think Ford is completely serious about 2, the focus and transit van.

    I put a fair amount of importance on Honda and Yamaha’s electric motorcycle plans (by 2011, I think). Though this market will probably be mostly in asia and europe, it’s a huge market, and will do a lot to promote battery technology. (electric bicycles are already a big hit in china)

    I don’t know what actually qualifies as “production schedule” but 14 of the top 15 auto manufacturers had BEV plans (all but GM) last time I checked. Many, many others further down the list. It seems to me entirely reasonable to think that a majority of these will hit the show rooms by the end of 2012. 2012 has seemingly been the proclaimed “magical year” of EV production for some time now.

    http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/06/ford-truck-plant-to-build-electric-cars/


  155. 155
    Mark Z

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (5:59 pm)

    Lyle, Way to go! We look forward to reading about your adventures in the EV MINI. Think of it as a mini Tesla Roadster!


  156. 156
    DaveP

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:32 pm)

    #119 carcus1:

    “Or, I can save you the google fatigue. Almost every major auto manufacturer in the world has some type of BEV in the works at this time.”

    Oh, I’m not talking about “in the works.” Every car company always has one of everything “in the works.” I’m talking about those companies that actually stuck their neck out and got a model out there into the public hands (and not just a “fleet lease” to get EPA brownie points, either), at least in some form of limited lease/crush agreement or something like that.

    I guess there’s another piece of information that is related. Mitsubishi had their EV “in the works” during the first round of lease/crush ~10 years ago, but they didn’t actually release it in time before the party ended. If you follow their years long trail of tech blurbs you get the impression they were just waiting to release it the next time it proved to be, er, opportune to do so.
    So, it’s maybe not coincidence that the first companies off the EV block this time around are the ones that didn’t make it to the showrooms the last time around.

    Don’t get me wrong, I hope this time around more of those “in the works” projects actually make it to the public and have some real staying power. It’ll be a few years before we find out what will happen with those.

    But as of right now, it’s still pretty much nothing. Those Mini’s are lease/crush and the Mitsus and Subus are a couple thousand units tops and in Japan only.


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    Red HHR

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (6:41 pm)

    Lyle, Dude, you are so COOOL,,,

    Just a FYI, we got a plate on the Prius, “BADGAS”
    Thought you would like that.

    /pull my finger


  158. 158
    JEC

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:06 pm)

    DonC
    “#88 JEC says “I see the new S class Tesla in your future. It seems to meet all your requirements?”
    ———————————————————————————–

    “Last week I was nuts to say that the Volt would use 250 wh/mile and now you want to use 286 wh/mile?”
    ================================================
    I never said anything about your estimated 250wh/mile being nuts. This is a number you derived at after attempting to apply all the logical parts of the equation to calculating battery range, remember? For the iMiev or any BEV you included things like cd, tire rolling resistance, air, etc. Then you backed off and said, just use 250 watt/mile. Your best answer.

    Yes, pessimism is running a bit high! As for the Tesla, you need to evaluate the stated specs. The battery pack and related controls are the most expensive part of the vehicle, and the costs increase in a linear fashion with the size of the pack. At production levels, the Volt, using GM’s expertise and supply chain, will cost $48K to build with a 16 kWh battery pack. The i-Miev using Mitsubishi’s expertise and supply chain will cost $48K to build with a 16 kWh battery pack. Given these numbers, how likely is it that, hand built, the Tesla, with that very nice interior — no doubt genuine Corinthian leather — and a 42 kWh battery pack, will cost less than $58K to build?”
    ———————————————————————————-
    If you would have carefully read the posts, I was referring to Statiks requirements, and the part about “(probably sub 50K…unless it is ‘wicked awesome’),”, indicates he would pay over $50k. I have no doubt the Tesla will likely run $75k +.

    The facts maam, only the facts!


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    Anthony BC

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:14 pm)

    Hey Lyle, how are you going to ride this MINI & the VOLT at the same time? since surely GM would want you driving a VOLT long before next June 2010 when your lease is up?!?!? 😉

    You’re a lucky guy! Go drive some gas-FREE miles for me and all who look forward to ALL ELECTRIC DRIVE ONE DAY!!

    GO EV!


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    JEC

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:30 pm)

    Lyle,

    If at possible could you create a “datasheet” that includes all your scientific findings on the Mini-EV?

    This real world data could help a lot of us finally grasp what the capabilities of electric cars are (both good and bad).

    Things I would like to see data on:
    1) Charge time over the year. Does the battery take longer to charge, or does it actually charge quicker but capacity decreases. If I had this bad boy, I would rig up a power meter to monitor the power output of the mains. This would give a good picture of how much degradation could be expected over the life of the battery.

    2) 0-60 times under various conditions such as: – Freshly charged, – near end of charge -Hot temperature – A/C cranked -downhill -uphill

    3) How often you experience true range anxiety.

    4) Temperature of cabin if you do not attempt to cool it with a/c. Those batteries sitting behind you have to get HOT, even if they have some type of cowling setup to vent them.

    I am sure people could easily come up with at least a hundred parameters to monitor.


  161. 161
    Studley Doright

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:37 pm)

    That is a totally awesome EV. And more than twice the range of a Volt !
    Want 🙂


  162. 162
    DonC

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:44 pm)

    #158 JEC asks “This is a number you derived at after attempting to apply all the logical parts of the equation to calculating battery range, remember?”

    I’m fine with what you’re saying but I didn’t compute the watts per mile by summing up the losses. I just looked at how many watts per mile people had gotten driving other EVs, like the EV1 or the RAV4-E, and then guesstimated based on how close the match was. The 250 wh/mile just sort of falls out as a pretty good SWAG.

    But that’s for a reasonably nice day. On a cold blustery winter day I’d go more for 325 wh/mile. For drivers under 21 every day would be a very cold very blustery very winter day! LOL


  163. 163
    Johnny Appleseed

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:45 pm)

    We all know about the Jesus Phone and could this possibly be his car ?


  164. 164
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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:55 pm)

    162 DonC

    Hmmmmm….ok.

    /smiling like a cat


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    RB

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (7:55 pm)

    Lyle

    Super Congratulations on reaching 1000 posts.
    It is a remarkable achievement, hard to imagine at the beginning.

    I’ll look forward to learning what you think of the Mini as you gain experience with it.


  166. 166
    Beemer

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:18 pm)

    I am sure BMW de-tuned the Mini E so you won’t hurt yourself. Before they are done BMW may make the finest EV on the planet. If I was GM i would be afraid…very afraid.


  167. 167
    Herm

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:20 pm)

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/06/nearterm-liion-20090616.html#more

    this will probably be tomorrow’s featured article so start reading up..


  168. 168
    Jim

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:47 pm)

    I got my Mini E last Wednesday. No trouble with my 120 mile commute. They let me plug in at work, it adds about 30% to the charge in 8 hours. In case no one straightened out the Air Conditioning question, yes it has very good AC. No sure what it takes from the range, it has been cool in NJ this week but the one day I had it on I guess 10%.

    What it does not have is cruise. But the way it drives, I don’t miss it yet.

    My estimate range comes in about 115 miles. I take back roads and average below 40 mph. But I also drive a very hilly route into PA. I can see someone in Illinois getting 150 mile range. But you can’t have one there. Is there any place in CA that is as flat as a billiard table like Illinois?

    There were reports on some of the Mini E blogs about trouble tripping GFIs. I had that once, bu three other GFIs were fine. I wonder if it was a new combo GFI/AFCI taht caused a problem?


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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:48 pm)

    Lyle,

    Did you sign any sort of non-disclosure agreement, in order to get one of the test Mini’s?

    Are you going to be able to give us the “real-deal” or will we only get the value menu?

    Seems very important for everyone to know what you can or cannot say about the mini experience.


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    BarryW

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:50 pm)

    I’m jealous. I would buy a BEV MINI any day before I would buy a Volt. Talk about cool factor. A mini versus what people think is just another Dodge Stratus. I hope this limited lease goes to production — sign me up!!


  171. 171
    JEC

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (8:56 pm)

    168 Jim

    That’s one data point: 115miles/charge => 243 Whr/mile (not to bad, right in DonC’s ballpark!).

    So, who else is driving one of these E-Mini’s? Lets hear about your experiences and any data you have gathered.


  172. 172
    EV Conversion

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (9:08 pm)

    Personally, I think the Mini Electric Car is one of the coolest EV around. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    Thanks for the post.

    ‘Will


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    James E

     

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    Jun 16th, 2009 (10:37 pm)

    Congrats Lyle – many thanks for all the info and yes I’m jealous! Enjoy the EV mini…NPNS


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    N Riley

     

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    Jun 17th, 2009 (9:54 am)

    Good luck with the Mini, Lyle. I know you will keep us informed about your experiences with it.


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    Bob G

     

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    Jun 17th, 2009 (1:52 pm)

    I sure wish GM would consider a similar program to let some of us evaluate Volt mules. We would understand that they are test vehicles, and thus have realistic expectations. This would provide valuable feedback for them to ensure that the Volt is right the first time, and it would certainly make us happy.


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    Lev

     

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    Jun 17th, 2009 (4:43 pm)

    Where in NY/NJ are you guys driving these cars? Maybe we can get a demo if we’re close by?


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    Robert

     

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    Jun 18th, 2009 (2:58 pm)

    JEC #160

    know you addressed this to Lyle, but I can answer some of these questions
    1. have to ask again in one year, but like the Volt the MINI E has a lot of extra battery capacity that it never uses, usable capacity is 26 kwh real capacity is 37 kwh. so it has extra capacity it could fall back on over time, not sure what BMW’s plans are on how to use this.

    2. its rated at 0-60 of 8.5 seconds, but I think it feels like its faster, havent timed it. havent noticed a difference based on charge but have only gotten it down to 25%, from 0% to -10% its suppose to reduce your make speed, not sure on acceleration, at -10% its suppose to crawl for 3 miles then stop. Havent been able to test it in extreme temperatures, but up hills it FLIES.

    3. had a bit of range anxiety the first time I went on a long trip, but its getting less and less as I know I have the range now. do have Charging anxiety as Im still using a 110v charger which is very slow, I worry how long will it take to charge back up after a long drive, I think this will go away once I have the 40A charger.

    4 havent noticed a problem with the cabin getting hot, I think it must vent the batteries cooling outside the cabin as I dont feel anything coming from there, not sure how its vented, the intakes are behind the seats


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    Darius

     

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    Jun 19th, 2009 (2:28 am)

    RVD

    I don’t think that now is appropriate time for Volt. Is it 4% of US GDP Defense budget appropriate figure? I think yes. In case no Volt and EV developments oil price will go back to $250 for sure and we will be not able to something about that. $140 was not major problem for US economy but $250 will be for sure. Electricity prices are not a major problem for US economy since power generation is based on local fossil, nuclear, hydro, gas and sometimes wind power and US national power industry and always will be. Air pollution and healf issue is also upmost importance. Therefore I completely and without any reservations support Volt and EV developments.


  179. 179
    Jim

     

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    Jun 20th, 2009 (11:24 am)

    Regarding range: I drove my Mini E home yesterday for the usual 60 miles, staying below the speed limit and accelerating lightly since my charge was low. Started at 55% and got home at 15%. I take hilly back roads and average under 40 mph. Sounds like the 150 mile range is reasonable if you drive reasonably.

    Or drive like a lead foot and get a range fit for a lead foot. Take your pick.

    Regarding heat: The battery ventilation system seems to draw inside air and exhaust outside. Even sitting in the sun with the windows up, it stays cooler while on “shore power” charging the batteries and running the fan than any piston car.

    Regarding slow response from stop: I’m sure the slight pause starting from a dead stop helps with the range. Sorry if you lead foots don’t like it but it doesn’t bother me and it makes engineering sense.

    As to the cost per kilowatt hour, the wall box supports smart meters that give lower prices at night. I don’t know if the Mini E supports the V2G feature of the AC Propulsion drive train. I suspect that studying the grid aspects are a lot of what this trial program is about.

    Regarding the time between the end of the Mini E trial and availability of the Volt: Mini says they will consider extending leases.

    I am told the “charging box” with the special plug (SAE J1772? or some preliminary version?) cannot be offered in a 240 volt version that plugs into a 20 amp Air Conditioner plug, or 30 amp clothes dryer plug, or 50 amp stove plug, because the National Electrical Code prohibits 240 volt “portable chargers”? Hard to believe. The box on the cord for the Mini E is not the charger anyway, it seems to be a safety interface.

    The roadside assistance number on the car will bail out a Mini E that runs out of charge. Everyone I have talked to about my Mini E has said that I came plug it in when I come to visit. Friends who live along my way to work say I can stop by and plug in if I get low.

    Someone should start a web site where EV fans can offer to let EV drivers stop by and charge up. Lots and lots of people have an electric dryer in the laundry room next to the garage. Might not help us Mini E types yet, but I have heard of Tesla guys doing that. I saw an eBox conversion plug into an outlet for an arc welder.


  180. 180
    Peder

     

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    Jun 20th, 2009 (12:19 pm)

    We generate 100% of our energy for our home and our transportation. Our system is a 7.4kw system which generates 12,100 kwh of electricity a year.

    Annually, we will use 3700kwh for the Mini-E, (see below) 400kwh for our 2007 Gem E4, and 7900kwh for the annual energy use of our home for a total of 12,000kwh. With the TOU rates we will donate about $500 a year to our utility since they do not pay us for anything we do beyond erasing our bill.

    A 1.1kwh solar p.v. system generates 1850 peak rate kwh . This generation during the peak period (32cents kwh) would equal the cost for the 3700kw off peak charging (16cents kwh) usage of the Mini-E on an annual 12,000 mile basis.

    Below is real world, not a theoretical computation. I have lived with P.V. for the past few years and know its cost and generation, I know both the Gem E4 and the Mini-E’s actually miles per KHW, and I certainly know the high cost of cheap gas.

    The math looks like this:

    Gasoline Mini,
    12,000 miles 26mpg at $3,50 a gallon of gas= $1615 per year
    25 years of driving, $40,375 (assumes zero price change)
    with 8% annual escalator $120,613
    Yearly average $4824 for gas

    Electric powered Mini-E.
    12,000 miles, 3.25 miles per kwh is 3700 kwhs @.16cents = $592 (Assumes off peak)
    25 years of driving, $14,800 (assumes zero price change)
    with 8% annual escalator $ $43,256
    Yearly average $1730 for electricity

    Solar electric powered Mini-E
    12,000 miles, 3.25 miles per kwh. Generate 1850 kwhs annually at peak hours to pay for 3700kwhs used at off peak. A 1.1 kwh solar pv system, at a cost of $5500.
    25 years of driving, $5,500
    no annual escalator as the sun does not raise it’s prices
    Yearly average $220 for Solar P.V electricity

    Purchased electricity is 1/3rd the cost of purchased gas.
    Homeowner generated solar is less than 1/20th the cost of gas.
    A 1.1. kw Solar P.V. system purchase cost is the equivalent to purchasing gas for $3.50 per gallon for 3.25 years

    A common denominator for most Americans is a dwelling and a car. It is not only possible, but inexpensive and wealth generating to power both with renewable electrons.


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    RVD

     

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    Jun 24th, 2009 (11:38 am)

    Peder Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 12:19 pm
    ——————————-
    It’s all nice, but how about Massachusetts?

    In winter we have a truckload of snow on the roof, and in summer ….
    Well , this summer June was officially renamed to Junuary here, because temperature never climbed above 80 and we had 3 rain weeks straight.
    Now, somebody please tell me, how are you going to generate your electricity from solar in these conditions?

    I suggest you divide you solar panel utilization factor by at least 10 for Massachusetts (also, for AK, CT, IL, MI, MN, NH, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA, etc). Your approach will actually never work for majority of population of this country, with the exception of a few southern states.


  182. 182
    RVD

     

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    Jun 24th, 2009 (11:44 am)

    Lyle,
    looks like you had mini E for over a week now. Any chance sharing your experiences with us? What I would really like so see is a table:
    ————————————————————————————————
    Date | miles driven | kWh used | cost $ | charging time
    ————————————————————————————————
    6/13
    6/14
    6/15

    ————————————————————————————————
    Thanks.


  183. 183
    Tom

     

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    Tom
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    Jul 10th, 2009 (12:21 pm)

    Hi Lyle,
    I’m also one of the Mini E participants. I got my car the same day as you, 6/12. I have also been following your website for a while now as I plan to purchase a Volt when they become available. I’ve logged 105, 106 &107 miles on single charges (although I was pushing it) and that was with about 50% of it highway mileage which does use more energy. I suspect 115 -120 is possible is you drive 30 -40mph the whole time, but where do you do that? Are you going to the Mini-E dinner in NYC next week?