Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'm Back

Apologies for the long break. I have a new job and things are a little crazy. It’s been way too long and there is much to talk about. Let’s get right to it.

Several updates:

First, MINI #111 is doing very well and problem free. As I approach the end of my first year (May 22), I still thoroughly enjoy driving this amazing car. It provides all the driving excitement I enjoyed on day 1 along with a level of reliability and ease of use that I don’t seem to get with my other cars. It never ceases to amaze me how quiet this car is. And I still get stopped almost daily with questions about it.

Second, MINI offered a lease extension for one year at $600 per month (plus taxes and fees, of course). While this isn’t as low as I’d like it to be, I love this car and will suck it up for another year. By renewing for one year, we are automatically on the list for the new BMW Active E car due out in Summer 2011. This one has back seats!

Third, I’m turning green. I’m not hugging trees yet, but I did install a complete solar panel system on my roof last November. The system came with 28 panels that put out an amazing 6.5 kilowatts. More on that along with all the techie numbers and photos in a future blog. I would, however, like to thank my new friends at Verengo Solar for their help in getting this system installed quickly and professionally.

Fourth, have you been following the press on EV’s? Virtually every auto manufacturer around the world is developing an electric car. There are a few exceptions. I understand, for example, that VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn is focused on “clean” diesel as a platform for efficient cars. He doesn't see EV's being viable any time soon. Nevertheless, I believe auto manufacturers have a large task ahead of them as they educate the masses on the benefits and logistics of driving and owning an EV.

Lastly, I promised to talk about the Chevy Volt and GM’s claim for 230 MPG in my last blog. While the Volt may turn out to be an impressive car, the math on 230 MPG is highly misleading and I believe GM is doing a huge disservice by advertising it as such. There are many websites that do an excellent job at explaining the bad math and I encourage you to do a quick search. The bottom line is that when you have a car that can be plugged in and runs on just electricity for the first 40 miles, the notion of MPG is no longer relevant. With the proliferation of alternative fuel vehicles, I believe we need to begin using cost per mile as our new standard of measure with cost being a blend of all inputs (e.g. gas, bio-diesel fuel, natural gas, electricity, etc.). GM: stop misleading consumers, they’ll figure it out and someone will make another documentary about it.

STATS:

Mileage: 4,948 (Not a big number, but I drive it daily. It’s only 6 miles to work)

Average Range: 97 miles

Tickets: 0 (but a few close calls)

Rides for Friends: Lost count but >100

Door Dings: Surprisingly 0

Impressed Valets: Many

Be well and drive safely.

Peter

10 comments:

  1. Good to read your post again Peter and love the solar!

    Nice to have such a short commute :)

    Cheers
    peder

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  2. Glad to hear that your year with the EV has gone well! I think a second year is a good reward for all the work you've done.

    Where I live (in Toronto, ON) we have variable pricing for electricity, based on the time of day, so I was careful to get a washer and dryer with delay timers. Given the amount of power a car uses, it's silly not to use the late-night capacity. Up here, at least, our power plants are crying out for something to do from 2am until 6am or so. Are they enabling a "charge up after midnight" setting in the charge controllers yet?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Im a technician at a large Mini dealer and I have never seen one of these let alone got any info on them... ever. It is so interesting to me that there are people driving around in these and I have not even gotten a chance to drive or work on one. Driving low amount of KMs on an electric vehicle is perfect for daily driving too. This blog sparks my interest even more...
    http://www.theultimateautomotiveblog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice to hear that your already completed 1yr lease without facing any problems, MINI look like an promising vehicle for inter city transport having the average range of 97miles(as you describe above) is a good factor for any electric vehicle. just i would like to know how much time it would take to recharge?
    as you said it's really a better option to make use of solar power to recharge, which make us to drive zero emission vehicle.

    Drivers Ed Georgia

    ReplyDelete
  5. First of all I would like to congratulate you on the one-year extension of the lease of your Mini. In spite the size of this car, it is very lovable. I think you already hugged some trees just by installing a solar panel on your roof. :-) So how are you and the Mini doing now?

    Leisa Dreps

    ReplyDelete
  6. You must love the MINI #111 to lease it again for another year. Minis are an excellent choice - they are pretty solid and dependable. By the way, congratulations on your new job! Also, welcome to the green bandwagon.


    Stelle Courney

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