Wednesday, February 3, 2010

20,000 Zero Emission Miles in 7 Months

Electric cars get lots of criticism about why they just won't work for the masses. If you look around the internet where there are discussions about EV's you'll hear things like "Electric cars are a joke", "They are only for the rich that want to act like they care about the environment" "Battery technology isn't ready for prime time" and "EV's are only good for low mileage, local city driving". Well, I'm doing what I can to disprove the last one. I've had my MINI-E for a little over seven months now and I've racked up over 20,000 miles on it. That's with losing a combined month for two service visits (battery module replacements) so I've really only driven it for six months. I'm on pace for about 35,000 miles in the one year I have the car. 35,000 miles is more than 95% of the population drives in a year and I'm doing it in a 100% electric vehicle.

I have a unique situation because I own the building I work in so I was able to install a charge station at my place of business. This allows me to plug in during the day and charge up if I need to drive further than the available range will allow. I understand many others do not have this luxury, so they would be limited to the range a single charge can provide until they get home at night to charge back up. In the case of the MINI-E, that would be anywhere from 70 to 115 miles depending on the ambient temperature and the driving conditions (freeway vs city). Still, many others in the MINI-E trial lease program with only their home charging station are on course for well over 20,000 miles in the year. This is also more than what the average driver does in a year.

During my 20,000 mile joy ride the past seven months I have had a lot of fun with the car. I have met too many interesting EV advocates to list as well as many, many local folks that stop to ask me about the car.(Mostly wanting to know where they can buy one)I have also decided that EV driving is what I plan on doing from now on, even after this trial lease is up. I'm even installing a solar array on the roof of my home so I'll be driving on pure sunshine in about a month, plus generating enough electric to cover 3/4 of the overall electric bill for my home.

I haven't had to deal with the "problems that all EV drivers have to live with", whatever they are. I really haven't had to alter my life at all to accommodate the fact that the car has a finite range. I do everything the same as I did before other than taking about 30 seconds to plug the car in at night and again in the afternoon when I arrive at work. If you read the comments on blogs on the internet you would think it's such a hassle to drive an EV. That you have to deal with all kinds of obstacles and inconveniences and nobody will buy one because they won't want to put up with it. Funny thing is, the people that write comments like this have never owned or driven an EV. They've read somewhere how bad and unreliable EV's are so they've adopted the bad information as fact. They then write these negative comments that others read and the misinformation is perpetuated. So few people have actually had the pleasure of owning or driving an EV that there aren't enough of us to let everyone know how great they can be. I'm not saying that EV's are for everyone, but I do believe that they would work for a good percentage of the population. It's going to be interesting because very soon consumers will have a choice. EV's are coming to a dealer near you, and sooner than you think.

Some 20,000 mile facts:

Right now, there is over 1,100 gallons of gas that I didn't have to buy sitting in an underground storage tank of a gas station in Morristown NJ.

I didn't need to stop at that gas station about 75 times, which would have wasted about twelve hours of my life just sitting there while my tank was filled.

I didn't have to pay for five oil changes, and there isn't 30 quarts of dirty motor oil that needs to be recycled.

I've had a lot of fun driving the car and meeting a lot of interesting people along the way.


  1. Wow Tom, 13 degrees F outside and you stopped to get the photo exactly at 20,000 miles.

    They say my Mini E might be out of the shop tomorrow, I'm still shy of 18,000 miles. If I could get a 240 volt charger at work instead of the 120 volt, I could take the freeway which would add 50% to my miles but only save me 5 minutes. Probably still wouldn't catch up to your mileage though. And I have gotten to love the back roads. The gas car is harder to drive on back roads but the Mini E is a dream to drive thorough the winding hills.

    How many Kw of photovoltaics are you installing at home?

  2. Hi Jim! I was going to install a 9.9kwh system, but after they did the roof survey it was determined that my chimney cast a shadow that would make 4 of the panels underperform and thus not qualify for the NJ rebate so I had to downsize to an 8.8kwh system. I'm all approved now, just waiting for the permits from my town and we'll do the installation weather permitting. BTW, I'm almost at 21K now so catch me if you can!

  3. WOW! 20k in a little over half a year? Is this mostly highway or city driving?

  4. I really do a combination of both, but more highway for sure. It's probably about 60% highway and 40% rural & secondary city roads.

  5. That's a lot of driving Tom. I do about 30k a year myself, mostly highway. Do you keep the car plugged in all the time you're not driving or do you only charge it when it get's under a certain percent?

  6. I always plug in at night so I'm leaving at 100% the next day. During the day I pretty much plug in whenever the charge is below 50%. I like to leave work qt 100% also whenever possible but I really only need about 40% to get home. It's better to keep the charge % as high as possible for the longivity of the batteries. Deep discharge will shorted their life.

  7. I had the pleasure of riding in toms MCE250 today (2-07-10) very smooth ultra quiet and very strong acceleration. I would rather have an EV than A hybrid unless it was a vehicle where a small gas engine was used as a backup to charge batteries on long trips when conventional charging methods were unavailable. To my way of thinking the current hybrids which switch back and forth between gas and electric are overly complex and will more than likely be very expensive to repair for the average person. There are less things to go wrong with an EV. (toms cousin ,kevin)

  8. It was nice to see you Kevin. Im glad we had some time to talk and to take a spin in the car! Hope to see you guys again soon.