Saturday, June 12, 2010

MINI-E #250 One Year Wrap-Up

Wow. I really can't believe I've had my MINI-E for a year now, but it's true. When I picked up #250 from Morristown MINI on June 12th of last year I honestly had no idea what to expect. Questions crossed my mind like: Would the car break down all the time? Would I be left stranded on the roadside waiting for tow trucks to save me? Would the car lose power the longer I had it? Would the range be adequate for my needs? But most of all: Would I regret doing this?

I got involved with this trial lease program by accident really. I was dong some online research about the recently announced Chevrolet Volt concept car. An electric car with an on-board generator to allow continuous driving albeit not emission free. At the time Chevrolet just announced they were going to move forward with the car and bring it to market in the end of 2010. This being years away I did some searches to see what other auto manufacturers were developing electric cars. I was really an EV newbie and knew little about the industry and the politics that have repressed electric cars to date. That would change.

As I was searching, I  happened upon an online application to lease an all electric MINI Cooper. I really just filled it out for the fun of it, and never thought I would be one of the people selected to participate in the trial. After all, they were only going to deploy 100 of them in New Jersey and I was sure there would be lots of applicants. Low and behold about 4 months later I received a call from a MINI rep that said I was one of the selected few and if I would like to continue they would need to inspect the electric service at my home and make sure I qualified financially for the lease. All of that went fine and on June 12th, 2009 I was driving this amazing car home.

I'm not going to go into specifics about my experiences in this post, there are plenty of them if anyone wants to look back at my prior posts from thorough the year. I will say that every expectation that I had about the car had been exceeded and that I am extraordinarily happy that I was chosen to be in the program and drive this great car for the past year. I am now completely convinced the future of the automobile will be electric. The technology is there, the driving experience is fantastic and now that significant investment is being made, advancements are coming at a fast pace. One of the great unexpected bonuses I have had is that I have met so many great people, both industry experts that have been EV advocates for years now, as well as everyday people that see my car and ask me questions about it. I even have let many of them test drive it, so they can experience what it is to drive an electric car. I must have let over 50 people drive the car and given rides to many, many more. I'm sure I've made more than a few believers.

I have also received a lot of attention along the way, which has been quite interesting. I have been interviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Toronto Financial Times. Been written about on AutoGreenBlog, and All Cars Electric. There have been full length articles written about me in the Montclair Times and the Observer Tribune, both local papers where I live and work. I have been featured in a New Your Times Video and was filmed for three days by a production company from Germany that is making a documentary on the transition the auto makers are making to electrics. It will be a 90 minute documentary that will be complete in a few years but there was a short video made from some of the footage for BMW that you can see here. I was also interviewed by Thomas Geiger of Der Spiegel in Germany which is an enormously popular magazine in Europe. When the article was written, Thomas mentioned this blog and I received about 5,000 new visitors in the next week, mostly all from European Countries.

I wasn't sure about starting a blog at first, but I'm very happy I did. I have receives so many emails and comments from visitors that had questions and also wanted to offer support. Many even thanked me for being an early adopter and doing this to help electric cars advance quickly.

Well, as many of you know, I have accepted BMW's offer to keep the car for another year so the one year experiment has now turned into two. However I do not view it as an experiment any more. I view it as an opportunity to be part of the future, an hopefully be someone that is helping to shape it.

Thank you all for reading this blog and I hope to have lots of great stories to write about in the next twelve months. Stay tuned!



  1. Bravo! I'm looking forward to reading about your continued travels with the car.

  2. I'm happy you are going to continue with the blog for another year. I have really enjoyed reading your opinions and thoughts on electric mobility

  3. Congratulations on your one year anniversary! Keep up the good e-car information

  4. Congratulations Tom on your first EV year (and your partially EV-PV year, which will become a full year too!)

    It's great that you're getting so much media attention -- very impressive!

    --Christof D-H

    P.S. -- We are half-way to solar-charged driving, had a 5.59 kW solar system installed 10 days ago. Now, we gotta wait what looks to be at least 1 1/2 years here in Colorado to get an EV, and possibly a bit longer...

  5. And we look forward to you checking in with the Edmunds Inside Line long-term test blog throughout the year.

    Our Mini E goes back Friday 6/18. :(


  6. I've been following this blog for a while but have never commented. I just wanted to tell you I have really enjoyed your posts and thoughts on the mini e and other electric cars and look forward to reading about your adventures in the upcoming year. Keep up the great work!