Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A new car, a new driver. Our BMW ActiveE

Welcome to the first post on our ActiveE Blog.  Julie and I will both be posting here and we hope that you find our experience and insight helpful and interesting.

After 36,500 incredibly fun solar powered miles we turned in Mini-E #183.  I was the 95% driver in the Mini-E and I have described it as the best car of my life.  A few weeks ago we picked up the ActiveE and Julie is the 90% driver of the ActiveE.  I struggle to get any seat time in the ActiveE as Julie adores the car, however Julie has had a few trips away from home so I’ve had the chance to get to know the ActiveE.

Growing up with many  brothers and sisters, there was always a racetrack somewhere around  for bikes, Hot Wheels, minibikes, and our favorite, for slot cars.  Remember racing slot cars? Squeeze the  trigger to make the car go, ease up on the trigger around curves so you don’t spin out, back on the trigger down the straights. Cars with “Magnatraction” were the best as they were nearly glued to the road and cornered like crazy.

Magntraction and slot car like are the way I would described my feelings about driving the ActiveE.  It has Magnatraction and to make it go you press the go pedal and then you ease up on the go pedal around curves so you don’t spin out,  back on the go pedal down the straights.   It’s so fun and easy to drive I am brought back to those wonderful track-side moments of my youth.

The sounds of the car are very similar to a ride I took in a Gulfsream IV.   The ActiveE’s electric motor  sounds like a jet and the inside appointments, connectivity, leather interior of the car is reminiscent of the luxury of that plane ride.   The car like the jet, spools up as you takeoff,  as you are cruising down the freeway and want to pass a car  the engine ascends in rpm’s similar to the jet with linear acceleration and no cabin vibrations from a transmission and barely any  cabin noise.    Once ready for a landing the pilot cuts the power and you can hear the jet decelerate.  The ActiveE when decelerating has that same soft descending whine of a jet turbine.

For the near term, I am back driving a gasser, our 2008 Ford Escape.   Although I never experienced range anxiety in the Mini-E, I am experiencing very uncomfortable gas station anxiety in the gasser. I look at the gas gauge descend and descend until that awful yellow light comes on and then I am forced to plan a side trip to gas station, pump gas and pay $60 for the privilege of polluting.    It almost makes me ill do that after having gone 2.5 years without buying gas or worrying about my state of charge. I simply woke up every morning to a 100% full car ready to drive.   My goal is to end that craziness as soon as I can and get back to electric mobility.

It’s been a great first few weeks with the ActiveE,   Julie has settled in and loves the car.  The less jarring more finessed ride of the ActiveE is more suited to Julie, she did not enjoy driving the Mini-E as much as I did, more go kart like than slot car-jet.   The regen is about 75% of what is was in the Mini-E and that combined with a better coasting ability makes the ride very very smooth.   Our range on the freeway is better so far in the ActiveE than the Mini-E and similar around the city, so hats off to the engineers.   Julie uses the car as her office and can easily make a dozen or so phone calls on the way home with the connectivity of the car saving her time when she is at home.

We put about 15,000 miles a year on the Mini-E  and I think we will be clocking 18,000 -20,000 per year on the ActiveE. Julie's commute is roughly twice what mine was in the Mini-E.   The ActiveE is our primary car and when together in the evenings and weekends  we take it everywhere from the Mexican border to the deserts of east San Diego County,  to Temecula in Riverside County and the many cities in Orange county.  
Julie is an electronaut  and has made the switch to electric driving powered by sunshine.

Spouse of an ActiveE driver,

1 comment:

  1. I wish we could just transition our MINI-E blogs into the ActiveE blog instead of having to start a new one! We should have thought head of time and just titled them "Driving Electric" or something like that!
    Well, good luck with the new blog, I'm still rearranging the settings and pictures of mine to get it how I want it. I had my MINI-E blog just right! Another 2 years of fun here we come!