Sunday, October 25, 2009


I see that it has been more than 5 weeks since my last post. I guess my waning interest in continuing to be a Mini-e Pioneer is showing. I contacted Mini Financial Services to see if I could cancel my lease. The response came back that "Yes, if you pay off the balance of the lease payments." So, that is not a reasonable option. I have spoken twice to my salesman representative to see if he knows of anyone anxious to try out the Mini-e that would qualify to assume my lease, but no response on that front yet. As I told the UC Davis team this week, it is not fun anymore and I would like to get back to driving my 11 year old Lexus.

We had a good visit on Friday with the UC Davis research team for 2 hours. I was especially interested to get their input on the environmental issues. As we know, the media presents their viewpoints and what sounds like reasonable conclusions do not always reflect the actual situation. I do not know if I contributed much to the UCD research project, but they were pleased to see that I had completed all of the assignments, including the Google map job. I was impressed with their knowledge and commitment to improving the environment.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I volunteered to take a friend on Tuesday to LAX to catch a flight to Europe. I had three concerns. 1. Leaving in the dark and needing to use my headlights. 2. Having enough range to pick her up at UCI and having enough range to make the round trip of close to 100 miles, mainly on freeways. 3. The amount of space needed to take all of her baggage.
It all worked out fine. The total milage was 94 miles and the gage showed 14% of juice left in the batteries. The bags filled most of the available space. On my solo return I ducked into the car pool lane twice, just to be able to say I have used my silver "Access OK" stickers. When the traffic backed up I was in the right hand lane and decided it was not worth the trouble to work my way across several lanes of stop and go vehicles.

The odometer shows 3,155 miles now. We were away for 9 days in our RV in San Diego, so 030 sat still for that time. I have not had any new surprise since it came back from the shop. With our hot weather I have used the tip several times that Joel gave me -- both windows will go down when the doors are closed and you push and hold the unlock button on the key fob. The over-heated interior is much easier to get into when the windows have been opened first.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


On August 13th I discovered that 030 would not charge. I tried everything I could think of like checking that the charge voltage was set correctly, hooking up the 110 volt charge cable (with the voltage set correctly), etc. and nothing worked. The fan would go on but there was no blinking light and the electric meter did not show any juice being used. I got ahold of Kirk (my salesman) and he advised me to bring it into Crevier service the next day, since I had enough charge left to do that. They checked it out and sent it to the shop in Oxnard. It came back yesterday and the diagnosis was that a cable had gotten hot on both ends and was not passing the juice through to charge the batteries. The comment was that this is the purpose of the field trial to shake down any problems. I was told that this is the first time they had encountered this problem. It is interesting that my neighbor, Joel, also had a "no charge" issue a month or so ago. They did not explain to him the cause. The upside of the experience was that they gave me a new bright red 300 hp BMW as a loaner. My wife thought it was pretty! But it cost about 19 cents per mile to fill it back up-----

Saturday, August 1, 2009


As of today 030 has 1,959 miles on the odometer, which averages out to almost 1,000 miles per month.

And 695 KWH's were consumed in the 2 months.

The total % that was recharged was 2,014 in 56 charges, for an average charge of 27.2% each time.

The average number of KWA's consumed per each % was 0.356

The average number of KWH's consumed per each mile was 0.385

I reviewed my SCE bill and the summer rates started the day I took delivery. From June 1 to June 22nd I measured 259.5 KWH's used for 030. Looking at the chart, 207 were charged @ the average cost of $0.28 per KWH, for a cost of $57.96. The balance of 52.5 KWH were charged @ $0.24, giving an additional charge of $12.60. The total billed for the 259.5 KWH therefore was $70.56 or $0.096 per mile for the 734 miles traveled.

Round that up to $0.10 per mile as the cost of electricity!

That is my analysis---

Friday, July 31, 2009


My sister in Santa Barbara was celebrating her 80th birthday on July 30th so we decided to push the limits on 030. The first stop was Bob Smith Mini in Calabasas, a 79 mile drive. We thought that by leaving home at 9:15 AM would avoid the heavy traffic. Wrong! After crawling along a good part of the way, we arrived at 11:25. The Mini dealership is on the left side of the building and I missed the first driveway ending up on the BMW side. I was sent to the left side and waited my turn. It took 20 minutes to get to the charger located at the exit to the shop. Three hours later they took it for a 15 minute wash job, which was also appreciated. I learned where the coffee machine is located (on the BMW side) and that there is no restaurant within walking distance (take a snack with you!).

We were on the road again for the 67 mile drive to The Inn at East Beach, 1029 Orilla Del Mar, close to the beach and Hotel Mar Monte. Linda said they have hosted electric cars before and that her co-manager and husband Frank could get me hooked up to 110 volts. Unfortunately Frank was out until 8 PM and I was out until 10:00. The problem was that the ideal plug-in was a GFI and it was triggered by the charger. Oh yes, I then remembered that problem! Frank allowed me to plug into a non-GFI receptacle that was 25 feet away. Fortunately I had brought a 12 gage extension cord that did the trick. Also I learned what happens when you do not reset the charge voltage to 110 volt! The charger flashes "Charging Fault" and then does not work when the correct voltage is set. That was solved by disconnecting the 110 volt supply plug before it will worked. So, 16:45 later it had climbed from 43% to 78% charge. Traveling to the 80th birthday took it back to 58%. In 11 hours was back up to 87%. When I called back to Frank he reminded me I had not really said "Thank you for the charge". Oops! I did it then and promised myself that next time I get a charge somewhere I would properly express my heartfelt appreciation.

Back at Calabasas again on the 31st it took 3 hours to charge from 25% to 98% plus another wash job. The staff at Bob Smith Mini were very friendly and helpful during both stops. Leaving for home at 2:30 we were hopeful the traffic would be better. Wrong again! It took 3 hours and the charge was 32% upon our arrival at home 74 miles later. Climbing the 2 1/2 mile hill south of Camarillo had taken the charge down 3% per mile instead of the normal 1%. But that leg averaged less than 1% per mile. Interesting---

The trip could not have been accomplished with less than 2 nights in Santa Barbara because of the slow charge on 110 volts, the delay in starting the initial charge, our need to use the car while there and the hours the service is open at Bob Smith Mini. Except for the traffic problems it was a great trip and I was pleased to have the time available and the opportunity to make this extended trip.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Ed Kim, David Fliegler, Keith Goldsmith, Roy Parsons, Joel Sheiner

Crevier Clasic cars had an open house today. Five of us Mini-e drivers ended up there together and it was fun to visit together and swap tips. For instance, Joel said that when his 005 showed the electric plug on his display with a "/" across it he learned that it was telling him he could not charge it. Fortunately he had enough juice left to get him to the dealer on his own. He dropped it off and in 4 days they had it repaired. Someone else said that the book shows that and other displays. Guess I missed that page---

The building was filled with beautiful cars, motorcycles, etc. I will post a couple as Gadgets.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I have tried several methods to automatically monitor how long it takes to charge each time. It looked simple, so I purchased a 110 volt DPDT (Double Throw Double Throw) relay and connected the normally off poles to one out terminal of the big relay that is thrown when the cable is connected to the car. I put the relay in a box with a a 110 volt socket. I plugged a non digital clock to that plug-in-spot and set the hands to 12:00. I plugged the cable into 030 and WHAM. The clock stated keeping time! I thought I had my problem solved. NOT! I went a few hours later and to my surprise the clock was still running! Oh oh. The cable was still connected and the green light was on, so the relay was still on. I checked all of terminals in the charger, but nothing turned off when the charger was done with its job.

Next, I looked in vain for a light sensing switch that triggers "on" with light. Sorry, they only sense dark, so I bought one of those. I put the sensor on the flashing yellow light and plugged in the clock, figuring that the clock would stop when the light flashes. Oh oh again. The clock does not use enough power to trigger the switch. I connected a light in the circuit. Too bad! The light would go off but the switch passed through enough current to keep the clock running even when my light was off.

The only possible way I can figure how to accomplish my goal is a suggestion to use a video camera on the flashing yellow light with the clock showing. By setting the clock at 12:00 & finding what the recording says when the light goes out I could have an accurate record of the time required. I have not yet set that up. But it appears that it uses about 6.5 KVA per hour of charging, just by checking the readings on the hour--