|This street by my house was still closed five days after the storm.|
It's been five days since Hurricane Irene barreled through New Jersey, leaving in it's wake destruction, flooding, widespread power outages and unfortunately, a few deaths. There are still many people without power, houses underwater and many streets closed. The power to my neighborhood was just restored last night, but we still don't have telephone, cable TV or internet service.
Luckily I installed a home generator a few years ago so I had power the whole time. It's a 16kW natural gas generator and it powers most of my home. It doesn't however power my 220v EVSE that charges my MINI-E, as the electric draw is about 7kW which would use almost 50% of the power it makes for my entire house. I can still use the 110v occasional charger which only draws about 1.6kW, however it does take a long time to charge the car this way, actually about 36 hours to fully charge a completely depleted battery. The good news is that the battery isn't usually fully depleted and you don't have to charge it to 100% unless you need to drive 100 miles. I almost never use the 110v charger, but while I was running my home on the generator, I didn't have a choice the first day.
|110V charging at home|
When I arrived home I had been gone 4 hours and had driven 58 miles. The estimated remaining range was 42 miles to give me an even 100 mile range for the day. The reason this is significant is to point out the advantage EV's have over internal combustion cars. All the time I was sitting in traffic I was barely using any energy, while the gas cars were burning gas the whole time. This is something that people that don't understand EV's are quick to ask "What happens if I'm stuck in traffic and run out of charge?" You won't!!! Your EV is especially efficient crawling around at low speed, the opposite of the the internal combustion engine cars which are terribly inefficient while stuck in traffic.
The next day I left for work at 5am. I figured even if the roads were still closed, I could find a route to take as long as I didn't have thousands of cars clogging up the streets with me. The strategy worked and I was able to negotiate my way the 31 miles from Chester to Montclair in about 2 1/2 hours. It was difficult, but I was able to drive the whole way on back streets. Then, as I drove around the past three days I realized that many of the gas stations in Morris County are closed because they have no power. That didn't present any problem for me and MINI-E #250 though. My 62 mile round trip to work could be accomplished without a problem by fully charging at work so I didn't even need to slow charge at home, but I did anyway just to make sure it worked if I needed it in the future.
New Jersey is still in emergency mode but the rivers are starting to recede, the utilities are slowly restoring power and the public works departments are cutting up the downed trees and clearing the roads. It has been a really difficult time for a lot of people and will continue to be for some time to come. However MINI-E #250 was barley fazed by the widespread power outages and continues to provide reliable transportation and a great driving experience regardless of what is going on around it. If nothing else the MINI-E program has definitively proven to me that EV's are ready for primetime, regardless what some others that have no real life EV experience will try to tell you.