|The guilty party|
About a week after a got my ActiveE I heard an unusual noise coming from the front of the car while I was driving. Since the car is usually so quiet a noise doesn't have to be loud to be noticeable, but this was a really loud noise that sounded like a fan on really high speed. I was concerned for a bit, but as the car continued without a problem and the noise went away, I figured it was just a normal occurrence.
The MINI-E had a fan that cooled the electric motor and another fan that cooled the battery. When the battery temperature got higher than 90 degrees or so, the fan went on high speed and was quite loud itself, but not as loud as what I heard. Then, as other people started getting their ActiveE's they too were startled when they first heard the fan. When one person heard it for the first time, they had just gotten in the car to go for a drive. They were so concerned by the noise they turned the car off, got out and used their other car! They then emailed me(knowing I've had the car for a while by then) to ask me if that was a normal noise they heard. A couple days later Todd Crook, one of the ActiveE drivers out in California emailed me about it. He had just heard it for the first time and was surprised how loud it was. He was inside his house and the car was charging in the garage when the fan suddenly went on. Todd said he thought a helicopter had landed in this driveway! Yeah- it's that loud!
Since I had only heard it once and for only a short time, I really didn't think much about it. It's cold here on the East Coast so the fan wouldn't need to come on much to cool the batteries like it may for the West Coast Electronauts. However, now that I've had a couple people call me and ask me if it was normal for the fan to be so loud, I reached out to the ActiveE technical maintenance team and was reassured that it was normal and that the fan goes on when the car detects the batteries need to be cooled.
Now that ActiveE deliveries are happening every day and more and more Electronauts are "blasting off" I'm sure many of them will be a bit surprised the first time they hear the fan. I know a lot of them check out this blog so hopefully many will read this first and be ready when the helicopter lands by them for the first time.