Friday, September 24, 2010

Another Day, Another Interested Motorist

I've frequently written about how often people stop me and ask questions about the MINI-E. Is it a hybrid? Is it really all electric? How do you charge it? The final question is often: Can I buy one?

I had another "electric car moment" this morning on my way to work. As I pulled up to a traffic light in Morristown I noticed the person behind me holding up their cell phone to take a picture of the back of my car. This happens all the time since I got my EF-OPEC vanity plates. Usually once they get a picture, it ends there but today was a bit different. Once the traffic light turned green and I started moving I noticed that he moved into the lane next to me and sped up to get even with me. He then lowered his window and motioned to me to lower my window. We were pulling up to another traffic light so I really didn't mind.

Once I lowered my window he quickly asked "I hate to inconvenience you, but do you have a minute, I would really love to talk to you about your car" I really wasn't in a rush to get to work anyway so I agreed and told him to pull into the Dunkin Donuts parking lot that was right up the street. It turned out that he read the article on me in the Star Ledger a few weeks ago and knew all about the MINI-E from reading about it but he had never saw one in person. He had lots of questions about range, charging, temperature management and even wanted to know if I had noticed any battery degradation yet so he knew the right questions to ask. He said he has a deposit on a Nissan LEAF and is waiting for it to be available in New Jersey.

After about a ten minute conversation he thanked me, I gave him this blog address and we parted ways. Encounters like this have been one of the most interesting part of being in the MINI-E program. I have met so many people that are interested in electric cars, much more than I ever expected. With cars like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF coming to showrooms in a couple months we will finally have a choice.


  1. Tom: Would you say that most people that ask you questions recognize what the mini e is, or is it just that they notice it is different and are curious about it?

  2. Is New Jersey one of the mid-level LEAF states (Texas, etc.) in terms of anticipated LEAF arrival, or back there with the rest of the pack like we are in Colorado? What I'm hearing from people who are calling Nissan dealers in Colorado, is we're still 1 1/2 years away from seeing any LEAFs here (and Nissan itself isn't saying anything earlier than at least a year from now). Somehow, the fact that the majority of the U.S. and Americans won't have any realistic shot of buying an EV for at least year, probably longer, seems to be getting lost in the buzz about the people in the early roll-out states (West Coast, etc.) getting a shot at them fairly soon.

  3. Christof, I'm not sure where NJ fits in with LEAF deployment. Once it wasn't available as an original market I haven't followed it as closely. Plus, not that I've renewed my MINI-E lease and will be getting a BMW ActiveE next summer, I will not need to buy an EV for at least two to three years.
    Yes, that has been lost in the "buzz" I wonder how many of the people that have reservations will wait until their state get them.

  4. Stefan: No most people that stop me don't know what the MINI-E is, they just see the "electric" emblems and my license plate and ask me about it.

  5. I saw your article on today, well done! Did Lyle ask you to write it or did you ask him if you could?

  6. Thank you Nelson. Lyle and I had been trading emails over a different subject and he threw out the idea of me doing a post for He even threw out the idea of me continuing to do occasional posts.
    Lyle does such a great job with that site, he has really helped the Volt's progression, no doubt about it. I am amazed how he can come up with a post just about every day, believe me that is not easy. If I can help him out with the occasional post and give him a day off every now and them, I'm all for it.