Saturday, March 19, 2011

Can you imagine, 205 horsepower in a Carbon Fiber Mini-E Rocketman?

Commuter cars have an earned rep of being small boring and lack luster in performance due to the fuel sipping nature of their composition.
It's high ime to write a new chapter in the history of the auto.
The race car/commute car!
Track days with slicks on Saturday, The not so boring ho-hum commute Monday-Friday.
A few months ago I wrote this:

"Give me the same 205 horsepower electric motor as in the Mini-E, the new 2nd gen batteries like in the Active-E spaced in the front and back for optimum weight. Carbon fiber, lots of it, I want to be able to select the DSC off or on, and I want the suspension to be able to handle the horsepower and torque so no need to detune the controller/motor at take-off. I’m fine with the top speed governed at 95. Lastly an integrated aero kit and a j1772 connector.

That’s my dream car, A Mini-E “Peder Spyder Special”
2250 pounds.
A 0-60 time in the low to mid 5 second range,
Range of around 90-100 miles with less batts (thanks to the lightness and aero of the car"

Please Please BMW/Mini make this Rocketman car a Mini-E. It will be the car of the century!

Can you imagine, 205 horsepower in a Carbon Fiber Mini-E Rocketman?
I'm going car crazy just thinking about it. It would launch a revolution in cars!
You are my Mini-E,
My Rocketman Mini-E.
You make me happy
When roads are clear.
You'll never know Mini,
That I ‘d love to have.
A Rocketman with electricity.

You Are My Rocketman
You run on sunshine.
You make me happy
When roads are clear
You'll never know gas
That I don’t miss you
Please make my Rocketman today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Electric fuel is $100k cheaper than gas.

And they say electric cars are expensive!

First a few disclaimers, This is not advise, this does not come from a University, a think tank, a car manufacturer, a utility or an oil company. Now on to what it is!

This is my actual experience driving a super fun Mini-E, 26,000 miles the past 20 months and my actual cost to provide “Electric Fuel” for the car. Your results may vary (I love saying that!)

The upcoming BMW Active E gets even better miles per Kwh than the Mini-E, and following that, the BMW i3 will be an even more restrained kilowatt sipper.

On to the charts.
25 years of Gas driving, $114,536
25 years of Electric driving, $8,800

Click on charts to enlarge

*Electric driving on solar PV cost about the same as buying three years of gasoline.

Ok, so a few points to clarify, This chart does not take into account the cost of batteries and the service cost of an EV over the next 25 years , nor the cost of a gasoline drive-train and the service cost of a gas car for the next 25 years. You could make a fair argument that either will be cheaper over the long haul, after all the electric car motor/battery warrantee is as long or longer than its competitor the gas car. but I won’t get into that.

This also does not estimate how long you will keep your car, some trade up every two years and some keep cars for over a decade. This does not take into account peak oil, or new oil supplies, or 2 billion new potential consumers of that oil, or continued unrest in the Middle East. It simple begins with today and adds a 5% cost increase each year for gasoline. Again you can argue less or more, but 5% is my best conservative guess.

What this does assume is that you will be driving for the next 25 years (I’ve been driving for 32) and that you will be buying fuel for your car. For the first time in history we now have a real choice of how to power our cars. In fact we now have multiple choices including gasoline, utility supplied electricity, natural gas and “homegrown, roof top solar” to name a few.

I have chosen the homegrown roof top solar option combined with an electric car. The combo of solar PV and an EV provides the most economic savings. ( It’s amazing to say ) and it's amazing that this has gone from the domain of environmental-futurist crazy dreams, to my radio, TV and internet being bombarded with adds for Solar PV and for the new crop of electric cars. Today, one phone call to a car dealer and one phone call to a Solar PV installer and your on your way to energy independence. It truly is amazing light-speed progress and as simple as that. Well ok not quite that simple as the cars are slow to roll out.

The cost of the Solar PV in the chart is determined by 15,000 miles multiplied by .25kwhs per mile for a total of 3750 khw per year to power the car. A 1.7 kw solar pv system in sunny states like California will produce 2635kwh a year. As part of our larger sytem to power the home and car the per kw system price was $4,000 for a total cost of our gas station of $6,800.

In our case this production is at peak time when we are at work and we are paid $0.29 per kwh produced. We plug in and power our car at super off peak times between midnight and 7am for $0.14 per kwh hour. The net result is that the 2635 kwh produced at peak time is the same cost as 3750kwh used at off peak. This is called time of use metering. In year 15 we project a new inverter will be needed for $2,000.

Again your results may vary.
You can live and drive on sunshine.

If you would like to see our "Electric Fuel" system in action with live real time monitoring, just click on the following link. Total system size is 7.5 KW.

Norby House Solar Production

Peder Mini-E #183
26,000 sunshine powered miles.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

“Our greatest roadblock is the inertia of the status quo”

BMW Mini-e, BMW ActiveE, BMW i3, A methodical approach to the ultimate car.

Over the past 20 months, Mini-E #183 has collected 26,000 miles of pure sunshine powered enthusiast driving pleasure. It simply is the best car I have driven in 32 years on the road.

I know, I know, it’s a myth. A super fun car powered by rooftop solar is some crazy futurist pipe dream. I get it.

As a "conservative" person, what was I thinking?

Don't let the turmoil in the Middle East or the cost and pollution from the extraction, transportation, refining and delivery of gasoline, as well as the tailpipe emissions of 270 million gasoline cars persuade your thinking, after all this is a just a dream.

Forget about our national dependency on oil and how if the Middle East burps, our fuel prices skyrocket.

I’m sure our founding fathers who set us on a course as an independent nation won't mind the huge detour away from independence as we justify our supersized SUV's as freedom.

You have to admit all that wealth in the Arab Emirates and other oil producing nations is pretty sexy stuff. Their wealth coming at the expense of our independence, but's just a dream. No need to worry.

And let us not confuse the liberation, self reliance and energy independence of an individual who makes their own power for their home and car with our gross dependency and reliance on oil from others, That problem is to big to solve and who will pay the bills for big oil and the utility companies if you go renegade and make your own? Remember it’s just a dream.

Don’t bother to pinch me, really don’t, I like this crazy dream world I’m living in.

I love the fact that my “solar gas station” allows me to drive at a price not seen for 50 years at the pump, at $0.35 cents a gallon of solar fuel compared to $4.00 a gallon gas. I love the fact that in just 1.5 more years my “solar gas station” that I own, not Exxon, is paid for and for the next 30 years plus, I will drive for essentially free while others buy gas at $4.00 a gallon and increasing at Exxon for the next 30 years.

Dammit please don’t wake me up!

The “gyroscopic inertia of the status quo” prevents most others from enjoying this “crazy pipe dream” of the future of mobility.

Who is really sleeping?

As much as I enjoy my Mini-e, I look forward to the future. With the new electric cars and hybrid cars now on the road and others soon to be out, the Mini-e, after only a couple of years is looking pretty rudimentary though still damn fun and practical to drive. The progress of the past 24 months has been incredible.

The success of the Mini-e validation “phase one” has led BMW to the strategic decision of pressing the go button on a billion dollar investment in new factories and tooling to get ready for the i3 and i8. A key component of the path to these cars is a “phase two” pilot series test, verifying the BMW in house engineering of the car in a BMW 1 series car chassis. The basic components and drive architecture of the Mini-e and the ActiveE differ greatly. Rear wheel drive versus front wheel drive is just one example, battery size , type, number and assembly another.

The ActiveE will weigh 600lbs more that the Mini-e, For this you get 4 seats and a trunk, liquid thermal cooling, connectivity and the ActiveE is larger in all dimensions and more refined than the Mini-E. The ActiveE will have 20% less batteries, and yet will drive more miles per KWh that the Mini-e. All this and it will still sport 0-60 time of 8.5 seconds and a slightly improved 100+ mile real world range, both these nearly identical to the Mini-E. The Active E is done in house completely by BMW, as compared to the third party prepared AC Propulsion validation Mini-E. Now that is progress and some very good performance, but its only a hint at the future. Don’t make the mistake of comparing the performance stats of the ActiveE to the BMWs of today.

The Active E and its drive train is a “pilot series” for the upcoming i3 and as an enthusiast driver, that makes me really excited. Like drooling at the mouth excited. Why?

Let’s begin with the fact that the i3 will be made on an aluminum “drive” chassis. Fastened to this chassis will be the Carbon fiber “Life” module. These two technologies and a core principle on weight reduction throughout every component of the car will result in a car that is at least 1000 lbs lighter than the 3950 lbs ActiveE. If I were to craft a guess, I would say the carbon fiber i3 will weigh in at between 2250lbs and 2750 lbs. Now insert the same drive train piloted on the ActiveE and your talking a 0-60 time of 5 to 6 second range and a total range of 150 miles plus.

BMW could offer the i3 in three flavors, a 100 mile EV with 20kw of battery, a 150 mile EV with 30kw of battery and a PHEV with a 100 mile 20kw EV range and a range extender for another 150 miles or so.

All three, BMW i3 (catchy huh?) models would sport 0-60 times in the 5-6 second range, have rear wheel drive, connectivity between the driver their phone, their home and charging stations and essentially be the leanest meanest green machines on the road. All but the fastest supercars and a few of the BMW M series cars would be able to keep up the the BMW i3.
That’s the future, that’s where we’re headed. Excited yet?

I’d like to order the 100 mile (more than enough for me) BMW i3 in flat graphite black . I want to order the $1400 i option of weight reduction (which gives the i3 a 5.5 second 0-60 time). Strip every last thing from the car. no radio, (I will take an integrated I-Phone charging dock,) No power windows or door locks, the most basic and lightest materials used inside the car including the carbon fiber seat molds and a lightweight poly rear window and rear passenger windows. I am so ready…It’s a great dream that I live in.


Peder, Mini-e # 183