Tuesday, February 9, 2010
It's Snow Problem For The MINI-E
One concern I have had from the beginning is how will the car behave on slick and icy roads when you use full regenerative braking. If the regen was too strong I was worried that the car would start to skid without the driver even touching the brakes and would really have no way to control the car other than to steer out of the skid. Full regen really holds the car back, enough to produce a skid on snow covered roads if there were no secondary safety controls in place. Luckily there are with the traction control system in the car. If the car senses the front tire slipping, the regenerative braking will be momentarily disengaged to allow the front tires to gain traction.
I live in a rural area with lots of roads that have steep inclines so I was able to do extensive testing the other day. I drove up and down a very steep street going as fast as 40 mph and engaging full regenerative braking to observe the results. Overall the car handled pretty well. I slid around a lot and even ended up in a snow bank once, but that was to be expected with how I was driving. The roads had 5 inches of snow on them and I was driving like a teenager the first time he drove in the snow, doing doughnuts in a mall parking lot! When I was driving normally, I had no problem keeping the car under control and preventing it from skidding or sliding. With any car, even four wheel drive vehicles, you need to drive slowly and with extra caution when the streets are covered with snow.
Final thoughts: The car behaved about the same as any small, front wheel car does and I put to rest my concerns that the regenerative braking would be hazardous on icy and snow covered roads.