It all started about a two months ago when I sent an email to Richard Steinberg, manager of electric vehicle operations and strategy for BMW North America. I asked him if BMW would replace the battery pack in MINI-E #250 because the original pack now has 53,000 miles and is beginning to degrade so my range is suffering. Richard gave me the usual company line about how the lithium ion batteries are expensive and if they did it for me then they'll have to do it for everybody and it will blow their whole bloody budget out the window.
|First we disconnected the high voltage battery|
|I ordered 7 boxes, each with 5kWh|
|We begin to take out the PEU|
I quickly realized that it's not difficult to procure batteries for an EV as there are lot's of home conversion websites you can order anything you need from. It was a cinch to get the same exact cells used by BMW in the MINI-E. So last Saturday it was time to do the dirty work. Luckily, I have become friends with one of the area's leading EV mechanics and he offered his shop and services to do the swap. He really likes the MINI-E, so he looked forward to the opportunity to take one apart. It didn't take us long to realize that much of the cars electronics had to be removed to replace the battery pack so we figured it would be better if we just did a complete dismantle. EV's are really simple and taking one apart and putting it back together is much easier than an internal combustion engine car, where only a experienced mechanic should even think about doing so.
|Opening the PEU isn't allowed: oops!|
|Lot's of wires to reconnect!|
|EVERYTHING was removed!|
|PEU & motor assembly is all one piece|
|The suspension was in great shape|
UPDATE #2: 4/2/11: Just in case you didn't figure this out yet, it was an April Fools post and never actually happened. The car still has great range, although it may be starting to have slightly less now that it has been charged over 1,000 times and driven 53,000 miles. I plan on doing a range comparison post soon that will compare the cars range in different temperatures in the first year and second year I've had it.
If I had done what I said I did, BMW would probably be at my door today with a bus load of lawyers and repossess the car from me. Before getting the car, the trial lease participants all had to sign documents that we wouldn't alter the car in any way, we aren't even allowed to change a tire or put on window tint. Besides that, the battery pack is located behind the seats in the car so if we did change the pack, we wouldn't even have to open the hood, let alone dismantle the entire car! I did take a photo of us removing a muffler, but figured if I posted that one, nobody would have been tricked! I hope you had fun with this!