Saturday, January 21, 2012

The End

 Me and my wife Meredith speaking to BMW NA President, Ludwig Willisch at the BMW ActiveE First Delivery Event
Well not really, but it is the end of MINI-E #250. On Friday, January 13th, at the BMW ActiveE First Delivery Event in Woodcliff Lake NJ, I handed in my keys to #250.  I was then presented with the keys to the very first BMW ActiveE by BMW North American President, Ludwig Willisch.

Who would have thought? Back in 2009 when I first started this blog I never could have imagined I'd be standing there with the BMW NA President accepting the keys to the very first BMW electric car leased to a customer in the company's history. However there I was with my wife, accepting the keys and making a short speech about my MINI-E experience and thanking BMW for the honor of choosing me to be the very first ActiveE customer delivery.

As fantastic as the day was, and as much as I love the new ActiveE, lost a bit in the shuffle was the fact that I no longer have my MINI-E. For the past 31 months MINI-E #250 been my primary vehicle and I put over 72,500 miles on it in that time. It proved to me electric cars are ready for prime time. They are fun to drive, easy to recharge and really offer a great overall driving/ownership experience. I became so convinced that I'd be driving electric from now on that I installed a solar array on my roof so I can produce my own energy, and my electric cars would all be truly zero emission using renewable energy.

Yes, I transferred EF-OPEC to the ActiveE
The MINI-E saved me from needing to make about 250 trips to the gas station, kept me from buying about 4,000 gallons of gasoline and provided me with too many great experiences to recount and too many fond memories to list. I wasn't constantly worried about my range like everyone who has never driven an EV says will happen, and the car never left me stranded because it ran out of power. It was just like any other car, I got in it and drove.

So now a new journey begins. I have enjoyed this blog so much. All of the comments and emails that I have received from people all around the world have been so encouraging and really were the reason I continued to blog about my time with the MINI-E. A while back I started an ActiveE blog because I knew the day would come when I turned in the MINI-E for an ActiveE. From now on I'll be posting there and I hope everyone who stops by here will transition over to that blog and will continue to follow.

All that's left from #250 is wall charger and my side scuttle numbers.  Well that and a lot of great memories.
When the ActiveE First Delivery was over and we were getting ready to leave, I asked if I could take the side scuttle number off my MINI-E as a memento and I was granted permission. I hear some of the other MINI-E pioneers scuttle numbers have been mysteriously falling off right before they return their cars to pick up their ActiveEs. Hmmm, very strange.

All of us in the MINI-E program knew the program was ending, and BMW needed to move on with a more advanced, more refined electric vehicle to test before they sell the i3 in 2013. However knowing that didn't take the sting out of giving our beloved MINI-Es back to BMW. Besides our side scuttle numbers we all have the memories of the great experience of driving our first electric cars. Some day, when electric cars are everywhere we can look back and say, "I was there in the beginning. I was a Pioneer."

My BMW ActiveE blog can be found at: http://activeemobility.blogspot.com 

I already found a home for my old side scuttle numbers! Life goes on...


Friday, January 13, 2012

MINI-E #250:The Final Hours

Charging at home for the last time. It's the 1,383rd time I've charged up in the 31 months I've had MINI-E #250

"This is the end, my only friend, the end." In a couple of hours I'll get into MINI-E #250 for the last time. :(

I'll be driving with my wife to BMW's North American headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ and handing the keys to Richard Steinberg, BMW's Manager of Electric Vehicle Sales and Strategy and my time with the MINI-E will be over. My final odometer reading will stand at about 72,500 all electric miles, not bad for only 31 months of driving.

It's been a wonderful 2 1/2 year journey that has amongst other things, proven to me unequivocally that electric cars, even one with only a 100 mile range, is perfectly suited to be the primary car used in a household. I specifically want to point out the word primary, because it wasn't the secondary car in our household, it was always the car my wife and I went to first.

I'm not going to go in to all the reasons why we loved this car so much, there are over 200 posts here for anyone who hasn't followed. I will say the sting of having to return it has been soothed a bit by the fact that when we leave BMW HQ today, we'll be driving a BMW ActiveE electric car. The ActiveE is BMW's last step before they make a series production electric car, the 2013 BMW i3. The ActiveE is another test car like the MINI-E, however this car is completely engineered by BMW and has all of the actual components that the i3 will have in it, so we are basically field testing all the new electronics, motors and battery cells before they are offered for sale to the public in the i3 in about 20 months form now.

I'm heading to BMW HQ because BMW asked me to be the first customer to accept delivery of an ActiveE and they are having a press ceremony today where BMW North American President, Ludwig Willisch, will present me with the keys to the car. I've been a very vocal proponent of the MINI-E program and a supporter of BMW's efforts to develop electric cars so they thought it appropriate that I accept the first ActiveE and I am certainly honored they chose me for this event.

Now that I won't have the MINI-E anymore, I'll be transitioning this blog to my ActiveE blog, which will eventually give way to my BMW i3 blog. However I'll do one more post here in a couple of days to review the ActiveE handover event and offer my final thoughts on the MINI-E program. Thank you all for following the past few years and for offering your comments and questions.  I would have certainly stopped doing this a long time ago if I thought nobody was reading or cared what I had to say about this experience.