Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dufass and the Mini-E. D’OH!

A disclaimer, it’s my fault, not the car, and my family will be “lashing” me for years.

Mini-E #183 and I have had a wonderful relationship the past 33,000 miles and 2.5 years. It’s been a relatively event free time, which is amazing considering the Mini-E is out in the wild in the hands of drivers like me D’OH! with no or little infrastructure to rely on.

I’ve had three driver error events, two in the past. and one this past weekend.

First about two years ago, was the combination of my hard working schedule and a string of appearances at events the same evening. I arrived home at midnight and forgot to plug in the car. The next morning I had a Planning Commission meeting with a roundtrip of 80 miles and only 40 miles of range on the car. I groveled to my brother and borrowed his gas car for the day. He was merciless in his mockery of “Mr. Electricity Was Better.” The Solution to this problem is a simple web interface and smart phone application so that you can check, be alerted by text message, to insure you are plugged in for the night, this is standard on all new electrics. The Mini-E has no such communication so my brother made a plaque as a gift to me. D’OH!

Second, about 1 year ago, My race car cousin was visiting from Denmark (to see an Indy car race and a NASCAR race in the USA) I was down at my parents, an 80 mile roundtrip, and he asked to take the car around the block. About 20 minutes later he brought the car back with a huge grin on his face. I could smell the burnt rubber, he had some serious fun and depleted my battery to 30%. Nonetheless, I thought I could make it home D’OH! I came up about a mile short, (BMW you don’t want to know how I got the car home ) The solution to this problem is not to let your race crazy Danish cousin drive your car!

This past Saturday I made my third mistake D’oh! It was the compound accumulation of three error’s in judgment.

Saturday evening I was to attend my friend Chris’s birthday party, about a 75 mile roundtrip in the Mini-E to a rural area of San Diego County. Earlier that morning I had made a run to Home Depot and another garden store and used about 10% of my battery, no problems, no need to plug in as the 75 miles is a piece of cake with 90% battery. Error #1 D’OH Always recharge when you have the chance!

I rely heavily on the GPS map in my smart phone. I program in the destination and keep the blue dot on the purple line. I arrived at the party about 15 miles east of Hwy 15 and had a great time. As I left the party, I realized I had no cell connection but hey no problem, I’ll just follow the blue dot backwards. I drove about 15 miles expecting to come up on the Hwy 15 and I still had no cell reception thus the blue dot did not move! I pulled over and tried a compass app on the cell phone, It does not work without a connection! I kept driving and 5 miles later I found myself in Ramona, 35 miles east of Hwy 15! I had gone the wrong way over 20 miles! Now I had range anxiety, I was 45 miles from home and only 32 miles of range left. How I missed that 10% of range that I used in the morning. If I had recharged in the morning, I would have had enough range to get home. Error # 2, Don’t rely solely on technology! D’OH! (BMW please tell me there is a compass in the ActiveE and the I-3

So who you gonna call? Mom and Dad. I could make it to their home about 20 miles away. I could charge for a few hours and then drive home. But…..D’OH! I did not carry my 110 cable with me, it was at home. Error # 3 always carry the 110 emergency charging cable with you, you know, just in case you have an emergency. D’OH!

I had to borrow my sisters giant GMC and drive home to get the cable. The next morning I came back with the cord, recharged the car during the Sunday Football games, and suffered endless merciless barbs at the hands of my several siblings. It was awful! At 4pm I drove home, me and my Mini-E, all was good.

The worst part of the whole story, I had to put $80 in gas in the GMC monster SUV. 20 gallons of gas to get from ¼ tank to full. Ouch!

Mini-E # 183  33,000 sunshine powered miles, driven by a Dufass.

Post Script,
Lest you think this post has in any way exposed a weakness in the electric car, be assured that my driving errors in gas cars were equal to the electric car and in some cases were much greater…..like the 350 mile 5 hour driving error by the two smartest guys in the world. That story shall wait :)


  1. Rich Steinberg, BMW USASeptember 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Peder: You are an embarrassment to the EV community. I'm sorry, but I must flag your ActiveE application for this. We need serious people committed to e-mobility in order for this whole thing to work.


  2. Rich,the good news is that the ActiveE is going to be "my" car! Peder has had his turn as the Pioneer and now the "smarter sex" gets to take over and be the Electronaut! I'm sure that I won't fall victim to a "Homer Simpson" move like this! Warning though...Peder is SERIOUSLY talking about wanting to have not one ActiveE in the garage, but TWO!!! The thought of driving a gas car again is almost too much for him to fathom!
    Julie-Peder's wife