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Showing posts with label charge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charge. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Two Days & Two ActiveE Visits!

Gerald Belton stopped by Nauna's for a bite to eat and some electrons!

During the MINI-E trial lease period I installed an EVSE at my restaurant in Montclair. Having the ability to charge quickly on 240v electric really allowed me to drive basically as much as I needed, and allowed me to drive the most miles of any of the MINI-E lessees. However I wasn't the only person to use it. I announced that any of the MINI-E drivers could stop by and charge for free if they needed the extra juice. I was surprised at how many people took me up on the offer!  Over the course of the two years since I had it installed, I'd say at least 30 or 40 MINI-E pioneers stopped by to charge.

ActiveEs, Teslas, a Volt & Plug in Prius
Recently, I posted on the ActiveE Facebook page that any ActiveE driver in need of a charge is welcome to stop by and plug in. It didn't take long for me to have my first guest. Last night Gerald Belton took me up on the offer and came by for a meal and some electrons. I wasn't there when he came by because at the time, I was at the Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, NJ. The Temple was hosting a free screening of Chris Paine's Revenge of The Electric Car and I, along with about ten other electric car drivers, brought our cars and parked them in the front of the Temple before the screening. We talked to the people coming to view the screening and then a couple of us answered questions from the crowd after the movie was over.

Richard Oscar's ActiveE paid a visit
Then tonight I noticed an ActiveE pulling into my parking lot around dinner time. I figured it was either Michael Thwaite or Chris Neff, two ActiveE lessees that live close by and stop by Nauna's from time to time. I was surprised to see it was neither of them, and just a nice couple coming for dinner. They just got their ActiveE last week and are not members of the ActiveE Facebook group. I talked to Richard Oscar and his wife for a while about the car and the program and invited them to the ActiveE Meet-Up I have planned for April 15th (more on that soon) and they said they will be attending.

The EVSE at Nauna's
So Gerald Belton gets the distinction to be the first of what I'm sure will be many ActiveEs stopping by Nauna's for some electrons when he came by last night.  Then tonight I met two more members of the ActiveE's exclusive '700 club'.  Plus last night I had the car on display and spoke with many potential electric car owners. Not bad for a couple of weeknights in March. From the MINI-E program to the ActiveE, one thing that's been so much fun is getting to meet so many people that are interested in many of the same things I am; reducing my carbon footprint, using less foreign oil and promoting the advancement of alternative energy. This EV thing just keeps getting more and more interesting!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Are The 99%

BMW called the MINI-E lessees "Pioneers". I didn't really like it at first, kind of found it to be a bit hokey, but after living with the car for a while, dealing with its issues, re-learning everything I knew about how to live with, refuel and drive an automobile, I warmed up to the Pioneer name and eventually embraced it. Just as I got used to the Pioneer thing, the MINI-E program ended.  Now that I'm driving the ActiveE, the next step in BMW e-mobility, BMW has decided to call the drivers "Electronauts". Again, I'm finding it a bit hard to embrace and maybe in time I will, just as I did before. Some people in the program have referred to the ActiveE lessees as the "700 Club". Not because we are affiliated with any particular religious group that uses that name, but because there will be 700 ActiveEs leased here in the US. I figured with all these names being thrown around, I'll throw one out there too, the "99%ers".

Now before anyone thinks I'm connecting the ActiveE to the Tea Party or the people that have been occupying areas all over the country, I'm not. I'm calling us the 99%ers because it seems the car won't charge past 99%! Every day when I start my journey, the car begins not at 100%, but at 99% and sometimes even at 98%. I have talked to others driving the ActiveE and they have said they are experiencing the same thing. At first I thought it had something to do with preconditioning the car but that's not the case. Now that it's warmed up a little, I haven't been using the preconditioning and I still get the same thing. Occasionally when it finishes charging, I will see it momentarily hit 100%, but before I can even roll one foot forward it drops to 99%. I'm sure this is some kind of software program that prevents the car from over charging and it just needs to be tweaked a bit to allow just a bit more charging before it shuts off the charger.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but it's really not. On days that I need to push the limits of the car I like to start out the day driving as conservatively as possible, saving every ounce of energy and preserving the state of charge from needlessly dropping faster than it has to. With the MINI-E, I used to see how far I could drive from my house before the SOC dropped to 99%, Some days I could make it nearly two miles if I really feathered the accelerator. It was a little game I played and I enjoyed it. With the ActiveE, I'm not out of the garage and it's 99% and sometimes I don't get out of my 350' long driveway before it's at 98%. It's not that the car isn't efficient, because I'm getting at least as good a range as I did with the MINI-E, and maybe better. It's that the car just doesn't allow itself to be completely 100% charged.

I know I'm nitpicking here. But seriously, the ActiveE is such a great EV I need to nitpick to come up with things that BMW needs to work on and refine for the i3 and this is one of them. The purpose of this program is to fully vet the components and software so the i3 is rock solid. So here's one for the BMW engineers/code writers to get to work on. I want the car to charge fully to 100% every time!

Until then, we are the 99%!