Thursday, September 15, 2011

MINI-E #250 Stars at the Engadget Readers Meetup in NYC

There's #250 parked right in front of the entrance of Gustavino's about an hour before the event

I'm a big fan of the tech website Engadget, so when they asked me if I would bring MINI-E #250 to their readers meetup in New York City to display it and talk to the guests about electric cars, I didn't have to think twice.

Engadget covers all kinds of the latest electronics, from cell phones to cameras to robotic devices, and recently they have been covering electric car news. A few months back, they even ran a story on me when I challenged Washington Post writer, Charles Lane to come and drive MINI-E 250 for a day to prove to him that it's not unsafe to drive in the winter, as he proclaimed that all electric cars are.

It was held on August 25th and the event was a huge hit. It was held at Gustavino's on 59th Street and they had about 1,400 visitors. I stood outside by the car in a roped off section and talked to people that had questions about it and electric cars in general. I was really surprised how many people really recognized the car and even knew about the upcoming BMW 2013 i3. I had to answer a lot of questions about it, unfortunately a lot of the questions were about price and availibility, and since BMW hasn't revealed that information the best I could do was to direct them to the BMW i3 website and tell them to check it out every now and then for updates. However there was plenty of people that wanted to talk about the MINI-E, the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt.

After it was over, I started thinking about how many of the attendees were really interested in electric cars and then it hit me that these are all tech-minded people, a perfect market for electric cars. Electric cars are more about technology than traditional car stuff like how many liters the engine has and what the transmission gear ratio is. I definitely think BMW and the other OEM's making EV's should pay extra attention marketing technology websites, they have a market there that may be more willing to be an early adopter than the rest of the general public.

I really love going to events like this and talking to people that are interested in electric cars. I really like explaining away the common myths that many people are worried about  "What do you do when you run out of charge?" & "What happens when you get stuck in traffic and the battery dies?"  are just two questions I get all the time. Many people are genuinely interested in EV's and once they get past the misinformation they may have heard or the baseless presumption that the cars are vastly inferior and have someone with real live EV experience explain to them how great these cars can be, you see them open up to the possibility of buying one. It's kind of like a light goes off and they say to themselves "Yeah, I could do that" when I explain the whole charging process and how I deal with basically a 100 mile single-charge range. I think I must have convinced a few dozen people that night that an EV would work perfectly fine for them, and that alone made the event a success for me. :)


  1. You are a great ambassador for BMW and electric cars everywhere Tom! Keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Great article Tom,

    That is a special moment when folks realize "yeah, I could do that"


  3. Thanks Martin, very kind of you to say.

    Peder: I bet you have heard that a few times also!

  4. On a totally selfish view, don't convince to many people about how an EV would work for them until after BMW has selected those Active-E leasees. I want some assembalance of a chance to be one of those leasees. :)