My Year with an All-Electric MINI


Towed! After only 87.8 miles… Sheesh!

Posted in Uncategorized by Timothy Gill on October 16, 2009

So, today I again noticed the % charge going down more quickly, and when I got to work it was at 33% and not 39%, though today’s trip to work was 1.8 miles longer (after a few blocks, I realized I had forgotten my cell phone and had to go back home and get it, in case I ran out of juice today).  And on the way home, the 0% / 0 mls point was reached with about 22 miles left (more helpfully, I had gone 65.1 miles since leaving this morning with a 100% charge).   This seemed crazy, and consistent with yesterday.

So, I get into the right lane of the Garden State Parkway and reduce my speed to 60 and figure it will be closer tonight.  Indeed, at about 83 miles, when I was about 4 miles from home, a new warning light came  on and the car wouldn’t go more than about 30 mph.  When I was about 2 miles from home it started getting slower still, and it wouldn’t move when I was about 1 mile from my house.  So I pulled onto a side street and called the 800 number.

It took 20 minutes for the 800 agent to find a contract tower who knew how to handle the MINI E, and then about an hour for the tow truck to arrive.  He loaded it up on his flat bed, and I warned him about the narrowness and curviness of my street and he joked that he would carry the car into the garage for me.  Well, he was able to deposit it about 20 feet from the garage door, but he and I and a neighbor could not push the car over the 3-inch hump into the garage.  He said What the heck is that thing made out of? It was amazing to me as well that we couldn’t push it easily.  Luckily the cable was long so I charged it for 10 minutes sitting out in the driveway and then just as the rain picked up, backed it up into the garage spot.

I have not kept up with reading others’ blogs the last few months (same reason I had not updated mine) , so I don’t know if other participants have been towed for running out of gas juice.   I wanted to have it happen, and am glad I experienced it, but what’s going on with the car?  If I can’t  do a round-trip to work, it’s useless.

I do have my 3,000 maintenance scheduled for next Friday now, so maybe I will learn something.

Busy for 3 months, with little use of MINI E

Posted in Uncategorized by Timothy Gill on October 15, 2009

So, I have been busy with other things and not able to drive the MINI E much, so I have not posted since June 29.  Will make this a short post tonight.

Basically, I didn’t get a working charger (240v and cable) for 2  months.  Then it worked fine for 3-4 weeks, but started having problems with the circuit breaking on the 240v and could not get a charge—the circuit would break after 5-10 minutes.  So the car was idle for 3 weeks.  And with a vacation thrown in and the 3-week cycle to get service on the Clipper Creek box (it was replaced late last week), I have not really driven it that much.  It is up around 2,000 miles now since I have that 87-mile commute.   I have made it home consistently, but with only 0% – 6% on the battery; and am only getting 87-95 miles or so per charge (I have not purposely run it empty yet).  Even the mpg-equivalent figure is turning out dismally low, closer to 45 mpg I think (I will calculate it accurately soon, using the $0.18/kwh I pay and the current $2.50/gal for gas).  This is a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT.

But yesterday, the first work day since the new Clipper Creek was installed, yet a new problem occurred: the % drain was much faster than ever before: the meter read %39 when I got to work (44 miles ).  I prepared (my wife, my cell phone) to have to call the 800 number on my way home as I was sure I was going to run out of charge and need to be towed.  But the meter got to 0% and 0 mls  when I had about 12 miles left to drive… and the car kept going, in the right lane.  I made it home, and it still read 0%.  Huh?

So instead of the battery draining more quickly than before, it looks like it might be a problem of the meter not reading all the batteries properly for their charge.  My wife took it today on her 18 mile (total) commute and it went to 66%, so the problem seem to still be there.  I will use it tomorrow and see how it goes.