Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Burning Gasoline For a While

One of the unfortunate aspects of the MINI-E program is that I have to bring the car in for service every 5,000 miles. The BMW technicians trained to work on these cars (called the flying doctors) inspect every detail, check all the battery modules and download the data the car has captured since the last service visit.

I recently turned 42,000 and that meant I had gone 5k since my last service so I knew I had to make an appointment soon. Then yesterday I noticed the battery temperature was unusually high, as it was over 100 degrees and this time of year when it's typically 60 to 70 degrees outside I usually see battery temperatures in the 80's so something was off. I then looked (and listened) closely to the battery compartment and didn't hear the usual sound of the fans that pull air from the cabin of the car and blow it across the battery pack. I'm guessing they stopped functioning and the increase in battery temperature is the result. If it were in the middle of the summer, it would be a big problem and probably prevent me from being able to drive the car because the modules would get too hot and the car would shut down. However since it is now cooler outside, I could have probably driven it fora while with no real effects or problem.

I emailed Rob Healey at BMW and asked him if he wanted me to bring the car right in for service or wait until next week when I had originally planned to bring it in for the 5,000 mile service. As I expected, he said being it in as soon as possible, not wanting to take a chance. So this morning I brought it in to Morristown MINI and picked up my 2010 Dodge Charger loaner car.

I got a nice surprise while I was waiting for the loaner car at the dealership as Rob Healey and Hugo VanGeem from BMW just happened to be there. Rob is the Technical coordinator for the MINI-E and Hugo is the head of BMW's electric car sales. It was nice to see them in person and say hello as I usually only correspond with them via email.

It is worth noting that this is the first malfunction I have had since last December, nearly a full year now. I did have a problem in February, but that was caused by me hitting a big pothole and messing up some stuff in the front end, hardly the cars fault. So now I'll be joining everybody else for the next few days. I'll be burning gas, supporting terrorism, sending my US dollars to foreign regimes and polluting the air as I drive. Luckily, it won't be for long.


  1. Tom,

    Great post, enjoy the noise, gear mashing, constant shifting, and exhaust fumes!

    All kidding aside, the ICE is going be with us for a while longer and one of the great side bennies of the electric car and the other plug ins is that they will drive effiency upgrades and make the ICE less of a polluter.

    In the short term that will do the most good.

    After that....we get rid of the ICE!


  2. The reason you are getting your rig checked every 5,000 miles is to fix things like high battery temperature before they escalate, and to prevent future problems. It's not gonna look good if even one Mini-E goes like critical.