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--

Monday, July 13, 2009


After standing in line at the Costa Mesa DMV I was told to take 030 to the Verification Lane behind the building. I did not need to stand in that line at all! After 20 minutes of waiting the inspector showed up, asked for my registration, checked the car (VIN, license plates, engine, etc.), signed the form 343 / 31 and sent me on my way in about 15 minutes! After photo copying the form, the letter I received (marked to note it is electric and not "compressed Natural Gas) and my registration form (marked to note that the "G" should have been an "E"), stuffed it all in with their supplied envelope with the original form and check and mailed it at the Post Office. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for a response---

A parcel showed up on my doorstep today from the MINI-E team. It was fun to open it to find a cap, log book, etc. My favorite is the keychain with 030 on it. I have stuck the dice on the antenna already. No, I have not left the keychain on the antenna!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I found out from Josh that if my registration card does not show an "E" under "MP", then I am not registered as a ZEV. Sure enough, mine shows "G" (Gas?), which is why my application for an HOV sticker was kicked back. Crevier will be checking up on this on Monday to see how it happened. Fortunately I have not had any occasion yet when I needed the sticker.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I applied for a Clean Air Sticker as soon as I took delivery of 030 on June 1st. Today I received back a response with my $8 check that said:

"A review of our records indicates that the "motive of power" (MOP) is gas and not "Compressed Natural Gas". In order to issue the "Clean Air Sticker" for your vehicle, it will be necessary for you to go into your local DMV and get a vehicle verification completed. Once we have received the vehicle verification indicating the MOP as "Compressed Natural Gas", we will issue you the sticker."

On the application I had checked the box ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle). Of course today is the new mandatory furlough day for CA State employees, so I have to wait until Monday to prove that I have a true ZEV!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


In January I checked on getting an environmental plate. At AAA they told me it would take 12 to 16 weeks, so I passed on doing it. I was anticipating getting the MINI-E in February for 1 year, so it did not seem logical to have the plate for only a few months. I then decided to check out the DMV website and decided to order GO MINI-E anyway. In less than a month I was notified the plates were in at the local Costa Mesa DMV office! I went there and asked if I could put them on the car when it was delivered. Oh no, I had to wait for it to "get into the DMV system" (4 to 6 weeks) and bring in the plates they sent me and exchange them. Also, the printed instructions said I had to have a notarized authorization from the lessor of the car. Three weeks after the June 1 delivery AAA told me that the plates had been assigned. I returned from a short trip on July 2nd and the plates and BMW letter were in my mailbox.So, finally on July 3rd I picked them up without any mention of the need for the BMW letter. As you can see I put a red dash between the I & the E. It is fun to have the plates on now! One more small step for mankind---


Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Today marks one month since I took delivery of 030. I have clocked about 30 miles a day average even while not driving it at all 12 of those days. So I actually averaged 50 miles every day I drove it.

What I have liked most is the performance and the quietness. Also, what most other Mini owners have mentioned is the ease of parking it is a definite plus. And of course it is fun to be one of a small group of "Pioneers". I am enjoying tracking the KVA's used per mile, etc. The "fuel" cost of about 10 cents per mile is phenomenal. Unfortunately, the lease, sales tax and registration costs adds about $1 more per mile! So much for the price of having fun----

On the negative side of course is the limited range. This is not a factor most days, but it sure would be nice if I could travel wherever I wanted to go and not be concerned with running out of "juice". The limited cargo space has been a potential problem at Costco too. The car has an abundance of options as to how it is programmed, but I have had problems learning how to set those up and how to know how to operate the sound system. I am known as a person that does well with technical complications so I wonder how a person that does not have that inclination will deal with those issues. Perhaps they will just drive like it is delivered and not concern themselves with such questions.

I like the idea that I am reducing pollution and I look forward to seeing the solutions to the limited range problems resolved soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

240 volt / 110 volt

I have just learned that my 110 volt cable is available for me. I am looking forward to comparing the KVA used while charging with the 110 volt cable to the 220 volt charger. Once I get a good comparison I will report the results. I have a 110 volt plug that is connected to the same meter.

The one thing that I know I must remember is to set up 030 to be charged by the proper voltage supply. I must make a reminder notice to hang on the steering wheel and the 32 amp charger that is a reminder that the input voltage has been changed. It sure has saved me from driving off my RV with an antenna raised. That can be embarrassing! Plus expensive---

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I have wanted to change the turn signal so it would give 3 blinks instead of just 1 like it came on delivery. It is simular to changing the automatic door lock. Just find the right sub-menu on the turn signal end. When you come to show "1" highlighted, change it to the "3" and then move out of the menu. I have not yet driven it that way, but I am confident it will work like I want it to do so. I am going to see if only the one "Key" was programed, but I suspect that is what happened. I find the programming a little complex, but with patience & the manual I am getting the hang of it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My first day I pulled into the garage, lowered the windows and got out of 030. I was really surprised when I went to open the door later and found it locked. Fortunately I did not have to call AAA to let me inside where I had left both keys.

Finally, today I determined to turn off the automatic door locking. I found the instructions under "Automatic Locking" on pages 22 & 23. I had to go through it several times to figure it out, but I believe I have it correct now as the padlock shows it open. Note the second sentence that says "The setting is stored for the remote control in use." So, you need to set up both remotes---

Friday, June 19, 2009


I have been looking into the idea of adding an IPod as a music source.  With only 1 CD slot and no good place to store the extra CD's I am told that an IPod is a very  good option,  I am still in the research mode, knowing that the only possible input is the small jack below the radio.  Keep tuned -- I will comment later on what I learn.

Monday, June 15, 2009


We invited a friend to lunch at The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove State Park.  And our friend wanted to check out the ME too.  They estimated the wait after signing up to be about 45 minutes, so I buzzed down the the 4 miles with Katie and dropped her off to get on the wait list.  I then drove to CDM (5 miles) and picked up the friend.  Lunch was great, the view fabulous, and the conversation was very good.  Then the discussion turned to how we would get everyone home.  The photo shows our quick solution  --  make 030 a 3 passenger car!

I have been trying to figure out the best way to install my Garmin 265WT.  An ad for Best Buy included a holder that just sits on the dash at about 1/3 of list price, valid through today.  I trotted over there and was told that it works very well.  I like it because it just sits there without any hook tape or other undesirable method of installation.  You can see in the photo that it is a great location.  While there I asked about the traffic report feature of the GPS and he explained that the roads are color coded according to the current conditions.  I was wondering why it was not talking to me to warn of traffic ahead!  Also I tested out the bluetooth connection and found it satisfactory as a hands free device.  Just do not use it with the phone open  --  it squeals!  You can even dial on the GPS.

Today I only traveled 43 miles and had a 48% charge left.  I wonder if the higher usage was due to playing the radio most of the time and having the GPS plugged in about 1/2 of the time.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

San Juan Capistrano

A great Sunday afternoon ride took us south along the coast.  First we checked out a mobile home park in Laguna Beach we looked at several years ago.  They have a lot of empty lots, but with rents over $2,600 a month plus the cost of the mobile, it is too rich for our blood as a vacation home.  We had one on the water at El Morro for 26 years and the space rent was $850 when we had to give it up to the CA State Parks for redevelopment a  few years ago.  Oh well, I guess we will have to stick with our RV.  I wonder if I towed the ME if it would charge the battery?  (Just a   joke!) 
After touring another MH Park with 90 mobile homes on the beach at San Clemente (just for more fun) we drove through town and then headed to Cedar Creek Inn across from Mission San Juan Capistrano for a delicious lunch.

On the technical side we traveled 59 miles and the battery indicated 39% remaining   That is in line with my previous observation that on the average the battery loses about 1% for each mile.  Interestingly the % went up to 43% after sitting 1 hour.  My odometer reads 726 in 13 days.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


On TV I saw a short report on the grand opening yesterday of the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes.  It was a perfect 43 miles up there traveling on surface streets.  Our first surprise was to have Gerhard's new MINI-E #080 toot as he passed us on PCH.  It was our first sighting of a fellow pioneer while driving!  The resort is spectacular and was 12 years in development.  The property is at the location of the former Marine Land.  A link to read all about the resort is:
The total trip was 90 miles.  The last few miles showed us dropping below 10% battery available, so it changed to miles left "in the tank".  But after sitting for awhile at home with the cooling fan running, it went back up to 19%.  The charger used 28.3 KVA's for an average of .31 KVA's per mile.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Today I needed to get extra keys for my 2002 T-Bird, so #030 had to stay home.  But we then went to see the movie Earth.  Spectacular seeing unbelievable footage of wild animals, birds and fish around the world!  We thought it was great for the young families there with us and worth ignoring the kids disruptions.

After stopping at Marie Callender's for pie I headed east just to cruise around.  We ended up near friends, so we stopped by for a visit.  Of course they both wanted to drive too and they were very impressed with my new wheels.  They were #14 & 15 to sign my "Guest Book".  The stats for the trip were 40 miles total with the battery ending up at 64% charge remaining.

If you have a MINI-E related blog or website of your own & show the link in a "Comment", I will try to get it listed here (I am not sure of how I do that, but I am sure I can work it out). 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

To Azusa

The trip to Azusa went well today.  R/T was 97 miles with a 9% indicated charge left in the battery.  I drove conservatively, but did clock 65 mph part of the time.  I would say 60 mph was my average.  We had very little traffic delays.

On the way home we stopped by Crevier Mini and soon after Keith Goldsmith (he picked up #010 immediately after I drove away with #030)  arrived to show off his new MINI-E shirt he made last night.  Pretty slick!  Kirk took a photo of us by our ME's that I included.

After 540 miles in 10 days the average KVA/% = .34

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

030's odometer shows 425 miles.  Deduct the original 24 miles and the net is 401 miles in 8 days.  Not a bad average of 50 per day, considering that I am not commuting somewhere.  The average KVA continues at .33 per mile.  As I watch the battery % go down I note that it usually drops about 1% per mile that I drive.  I am planning a trip to Azusa that is a run of about 5o miles one way.  You can be sure that I will be driving conservatively to ensure that I can get all of the way home!

I am keeping a "Guest Book" of those that have checked it out.  A total of 12 persons have signed it in the first week.  "Cute" is a frequent comment (all women, of course).  My granddaughter wrote "Can I have it, please?"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

ME #2

I have started tracking my KWH usage and here are my latest results:

DATE 6/5/09
KWH 84.7
KWH/Miles .347

What this shows me is that I am using about one KWH every 3 miles. I have not yet verified that this is my total extra cost per KWH, but Socal Edison told me that I am presently paying 24 cents per KWH and that rate will go to 28 cents when I reach my next tier. All of this is to say that my electricity is costing about 8 cents per mile. Not a bad cost for fuel!

Friday, June 5, 2009

ME #1

Since taking delivery of MINI-E 030 on 6/1/09 I have been tracking the KWH of electricity each time I recharge, noting the % of discharge of the car battery before that charge. I am finding it uses about .34 KWH average per mile of driving.