There's a lot of talk about thermal conditioning in electric cars, and for good reason. Maintaining proper battery temperature will not only help the vehicle to offer a more stable, predictable driving range, but will most likely be a big factor in determining how long the battery will acceptably perform before a replacement is needed.
The MINI-E is a wonderful vehicle. Those that have followed this blog know how I feel about it. I think the electric propulsion system pairs so well with the small, fun to drive MINI Cooper, that it's an outright shame BMW isn't going to offer it for sale in the near future, yes it's THAT good. All that said, the MINI-E is a prototype test vehicle and it does have it's faults. The most glaring shortcoming, is a lack of a proper thermal management system. The passive, cabin-air based system is insufficient to warm the pack in the winter or cool it off in the summer months. If the ambient temperature is below 95 degrees or above 50 degrees, everything is just fine and you can almost always squeeze out 100 miles of range if you drive conservatively, even 120-130 if you stay off the highways. However once the temperature extremes occur, the car lets you know it's not a happy camper. I'm going to focus here on the cold weather effects, since I did a post last summer about my hot weather experiences and difficulties.
|That's -2 degrees!|
|MINI-E winter driving apparel !|
|My Garage Heater|
It's going to be really interesting to see how much better the BMW ActiveE manages the weather extremes. I trust the engineers over in Munich know what they are doing. I'm sure I'll be writing a lot on this issue once I've had the time to drive the ActiveE in the extreme weather and analyze my range data. It will be nice to use the MINI-E as a comparison vehicle as I write about the ActiveE. Hopefully I'll be using the word "improvement" a lot, but you never know...