What’s the difference between being the wife of a Mini E “Pioneer” and now being the “Electronaut” of the ActiveE?
My husband Peder Norby, was Mini E Pioneer #183 for two and a half years, and I was his copilot throughout the journey. I shared in all of his excitement and enjoyed the ride, so to speak. I thought I “got it” as he talked about the benefits of driving electric. I was looking forward to being the primary driver of the Active E, but I had NO idea how much I would enjoy it! You can live with an electric car driver and you can share in the excitement, but none of that really prepares you for the feeling that you have when you are actually the driver!
I have just returned from meeting my College Roommate in Orange County for a girls’ weekend. We started the weekend with lunch and some shopping at South Coast Plaza. Prior to leaving I used my PlugShare App to determine where the ChargePoint stations were located at the mall (there were 2 at the mall and 2 others in very close proximity.) I drove from our house in Carlsbad to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa (53 miles) and pulled into the parking structure at 11:00 AM to check out how the ChargePoint system would work. My PlugShare App indicated that the charger was available, so I wasn’t worried about having to wait for the charger. I parked, waved my ChargePoint key card over the charging station, left my business card on the windshield indicating the time I plugged in and how long I needed to charge (in case I didn’t get back to the car by the time it was finished charging), plugged in and walked away-knowing that while I was dining and shopping my “tank” was being filled-compliments of South Coast Plaza! Imagine if every person at the mall yesterday could do what I was doing…Re-fill their tank for free while they shopped? With gas over $4.00 a gallon, I would bet that any person there would jump at that offer! But I digress…
I received an email around 3:00 PM from ChargePoint indicating that my car was fully charged and was turning off. I then received a text from a Leaf driver indicating that she had unplugged the ChargePoint from the ActiveE and thanked me for leaving my cell phone number. (oh yeah, she also mentioned that I had a cool car!) I returned to my fully charged car around 4:00 PM and drove to the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach, checked in, and was the topic of conversation amongst the valet guys. Later that evening, my friend and I drove the ActiveE to Mastro’s for an amazing dinner. The ActiveE was in good company as it was parked along side a McLaren, a Rolls Royce and too many Ferrari’s to count. Again, the ActiveE was the topic of conversation.
I returned to San Diego today with plenty of range to spare (9 miles-btw, there was a time when I would have been anxious about only having 9 miles left.) I plugged in, recharged and 2 hours later, Peder and I were ready to head out to look at new furniture. We returned home around 5:00 PM with plenty (?) of range…YIKES! 1 mile! (But that’s another post)
So, here is the interesting part of my adventure…2 years ago, I would NEVER have attempted this trip. I would have had tremendous range anxiety and would have preferred to take my gas-guzzling car! What I have discovered, now that I am the driver of an electric car, is that range anxiety only exists in the minds of non-electric car drivers. Once, you begin driving electric, you learn how far your car can go, you are cognizant of how far from home (or a charger) you are and you have a good feel for how much range you have left. To be honest, I had more anxiety thinking about planning when I was going to find time to go to the gas station in my busy life. Now I know that every morning I will wake up with a full charge-it’s very liberating!
A lot has changed since the first Pioneers began driving the MiniE’s. They certainly paved the way for those of us that were more skeptical and not as adventurous. BMW has developed a car that is as luxurious as it is cutting edge technology; AeroVironment has developed a charger that looks and feels like a hair driver-much more user friendly and less intimidating than the MiniE chargers; and CharePoint Apps/charging stations are extending the range of electric mobility. I absolutely LOVE my ActiveE!! I love the ride, the amenities, plugging in and being a part of supporting BMW’s launch of electric mobility. If you were to have asked me 2 ½ years ago if I would ever be driving electric, I would have said, “No way! It’s Ok for Peder, but I’ll stick with my traditional car.” The whole thing was a little too much for me…But after a month of being an Electronaut and 2000 miles on the ActiveE odometer, I can’t imaging ever going back to a gas-guzzler! It’s just like Peder has been saying, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?” Now I get it! I feel like I have this amazing secret and I want to share it with the world. Why wouldn’t everyone drive electric?
Sorry Peder, I know that I should share my ActiveE with you, but I’m just having too much fun. Maybe Rich Steinberg will take pity on you and let you get a second ActiveE for our garage. I’m afraid that’s the only way you are going to get to drive electric…or until the I3 comes out…