Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Has Officially Arrived

#250 charging in the first snowfall of the season. By the next day we had 26" of snow, that's almost as high as the charge port!

The East Coast got clobbered with one of the biggest snowfalls in a long time. We had 26" on snow in Montclair where my restaurant is (the car is charging near the back door). I drove home that night when there were only about 6 inches on the ground. The MINI-E with it's new snow tires did a fine job getting me home, even though I passed about ten cars stuck on the side of the highway on the way. The roads weren't that bad yet, I just think many people drive like idiots sometime and refuse to drive a little slower and more cautiously when there is snow on the ground.

So the next three days I drove my four wheel drive pickup truck to work. The restaurant was closed (along with the entire State of New Jersey) the first day after the storm, but I still had to go there to plow the parking lot and get it ready to open the next day. I put a plow on my truck in the winter so I can keep my parking lot clear without having to wait for a plow contractor to get to me. I also use it for my driveway at my home which happens to be 350 feet long and all uphill. My wife drove the MINI-E to work for a couple days while I used the truck to clean things up. It was so much snow I had to plow the lot about ten times and then use a snow blower to create giant mounds of snow about twelve feet high! One day I followed my wife for a awhile as our paths to work are the same for the first ten miles. I think it was the first time I followed anybody driving #250 so I had to take a picture of the car from the cabin of my truck following it.
EF-OPEC piloted by my lovely wife, and driving through "The Green" in Morristown, NJ.

So winter is back and along with it comes reduced range and a cold cabin, not exactly my favorite time with the MINI-E. However it still beats burning gasoline, spewing all kinds of pollutants as I drive and sending my money to OPEC. More on the cabin temperature in my next post!


  1. What's a snow plow? Is it electric?

    San Diego, Ca


    Stay warm and safe Tom, The Active-E with better thermal management and cabin preconditioning will be a welcome upcrade for those in cold or hot climates.

  2. What are your wife's thoughts on the MINI-E? Would be interesting to read them sometime -- not to pull her into blogging against her will, of course ;-)

    After all, many EV advocates who really want an EV might have a spouse who isn't so enamored of EVs as he or she is. And could be interesting to read about an EV convert, or how to convert a spouse to EVs ;-)

  3. How do the regenerative brakes work in the snow? Do they cause you to lose traction?

  4. Peder: A snow plow is a giant metal or plastic blade used to push snow out of the way of cars and yes, it is electric! ;)

    Christof: My wife is kind of indifferent. She likes the idea of electric cars replacing oil burners, but isn't ready to sacrifice much convenience just to be part of the "cause". I suspect there are a lot of people like that out there so we really need to get electric cars to push out a bit more range before they really take off and become mainstream. Minimum of 200 miles I suspect.

    Anon: The regen works perfect in the snow. Kind of like anti-lock brakes. If the car senses slippage, it reduces the regen effect. Like with any other vehicle, when you are driving on snow or ice, you need to drive slower and be ready for anything.

  5. Peder: To top it off, my solar panels have been buried under the snow for a week now. They just started to melt off a bit and we are supposed to get another foot of snow tomorrow into Wednesday.

    I would consider raking them clear but it would not be a safe venture. They are 24 feet up and the ground in front of the house where the panels are is sloped, making a ladder difficult even in good conditions. I'm not killing myself over a few kWh!