Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ARGH!! Two weeks of no driving in the Mini-E !

It's almost enough to make me cancel our vacation :)

Poor little car all alone for two weeks.

Cheers everyone!


1175 miles
no probems
only fun
driving on sunshine :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Car Show, Thursday June 18th 5:30 pm

Greetings Mini-E Owners.

This Thursday evening is the first of four Classic Car shows in Encinitas.

We have the sponsoring property owner that has a prime location and has agreed to allow Mini-E owners to park in a supervised location.
So far we have four Mini-Es that will be there.
If your free on Thursday evening and within range, feel free to join us.


Monday, June 15, 2009

The High Cost of Cheap Oil

Loving the Mini-E, every mile of it.

Driving with electrons prompted me to write a little about our energy rate structure and the comparison between gas and electric.

Our rate program with SDG&E is ev-tou2. This rate structure is around 16 cents kwh between midnight and 7am and then during the peak periods of the day it's 32 cents kwh.

What that means for us is that for every kilowatt of energy I generate during the day I get to use two in the early morning hours for the same price to fuel the Mini-E

If the car needs 10kwh to charge at night, I need to generate just 5kwh during the day to be cost neutral.

My experience to date (515 miles in #183) is about 3.25 miles per kwh. 8kwh gives me a range of 26 miles, about the same that a regular mini would get real world out of a gallon of gas.

A 1.1kwh solar p.v. system generates 1850 peak KWH . This generation would equal the cost for the 3700kw off peak usage of the Mini-E on an annual 12,000 mile basis.

If I am conservative and expect just 25 years of life for the solar P.V., the math looks like this:

Gas Mini,

12,000 miles 26mpg at $3,50 a gallon of gas= $1650 per year
25 years of driving, $41,250 (assumes zero price change)
with 8% annual escalator $120,613

Yearly average $4824 for gas


Electric powered Mini-E.

12,000 miles, 3.25 kwh per mile is 3700 kwhs @.16cents = $592
25 years of driving, $14,800 (assumes zero price change)
with 8% annual escalator $ $43,256

Yearly average $1730 for electricity


Solar electric powered Mini-E

12,000 miles, 3.25kw per mile you need to generate 1850 kwhs annually at peak hours to pay for 3700kwhs used at off peak. This is a 1.1 kwh solar pv system at a cost of $5500.
25 years of driving, $5,500 (guarentees no price change)
no escalation as the sun does not raise it's prices

Yearly average $220 for Solar P.V electricity



Cost of fuel over 25 years:

Gas is 300% as expensive as utility purchased electricity

Homeowner generated solar is less than 5% of the cost of Gas.

Most of us will be driving for at least 25 years.

A 1.1. kw Solar P.V. system purchase cost is the equivilent to purchasing gas for$3.50 per gallon for 3.25 years


Saturday, June 13, 2009

EV + PV = :)

Some of the 21 Sunpower 215 watt panels

The rock wall has a parapet roof and the 4.4 kwh solar is on top of that roof as well as integrated into other areas of the roof.

Today was 80 miles round trip in the morning down to the folks house in S.D. Mostly freeway at 70mph (15 miles left) and then a short trip to the beach with the gem car. The gem car has room for four, a large cooler, two beach cairs, and a soccer ball :)

We do have a gas car and that is a Ford Escape. Can't wait until that model grows a plug.

Getting ready for a nice dinner in Del Mar this evening with the Mini-E.



Friday, June 12, 2009

Dear Mini-E gods that watch over me,

Dear Mini-E gods that watch over me, I promise to drive slower one day :)

Driving on Sunshine Mini #183
Week one.

The tires struggle to maintain their thin connection to asphalt as you mash the pedal to the floor, racing down the freeway onramp from 20mph to 80mph in a knats breath of time. BMW/Mini has detuned the drive train so as not to let their drivers do something really stupid, or break the test mule that is the Mini Cooper. The car is on the perpetual edge of control, tires sounding off, steering wheel twitching as there is so much power and torque in that speed range.

The car is ultra responsive letting you get a little out of line but not to far as BMW has the Dynamic Stability Control permanently on (smart move on their part.) You are not driving a typical small car and the sooner you realize that you have a beast underneath you that requires your full attention as if on a race track, the better off you are.

Cruising the freeway at 60 you turn off the stereo so you can hear the quiet. You decide to pass a truck. Damn! That is the first thought that comes to mind as in ‘torque now” and loads of it as the car aggressively assumes the spot in front of the truck.

Before I go any farther, I should clarify that it is very easy to drive the Mini-E like a regular car, really no different than a gas car, (except no gas, brake pads, rotors, oil changes, transmission work ….) and you don’t need what it can give you in spades to simple cruise from point A to point B. Why would you drive like that? OK now that the “car is normal” disclaimer is over, back to the fun world!

Driving as an enthusiast the car gets about 90 miles per charge with 10 miles in reserve. Driving freeway speeds 65 to 75, the car gets 110 miles per charge and in the city about 130 to 140. Charging at home is an hour to a couple of hours typical as I plug the car in a 50% or lower state of charge. A quick 30 minute top off gives me an additional 25 miles.

I have range anxiety!

In my G35 I drove about 18 mile a day, In My Mini-E I drive about 80 miles a day, I am anxious that I may never be able to drive the short range of 18 miles again. It’s a trip to Space Mountain only ten times better every morning as I simply must sneak in a 20 minute drive around the lagoon on twisty roads while the wife is in the bath preparing for her work day. Driving around the lagoon which is located on the Pacific Flyway migratory bird route, you literally hear the birds! It is an unreal experience to drive on a fun twisty road with windows down and hear the birds! OK it sounds corny but when you drive full electric new experiences come to your senses and you notice them immediately.

I’m driving on sunshine, sunshine that powers my home and provides the sun fuel for my Mini-E. Try that in a gas car!

I am liberated, dependent no longer on the mandatory drug of oil from foreign land. I invite you to join me. For more info on the car and home, www.heronshouse.com


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Driving on Sunshine #183 Delivery June 10th 2009

Let me simply say that living in a solar powered home and driving a car powered by sunshine is a dream come true for Julie and I. We have enjoyed the limited funtionality of the 2007 Gem car but #187 is a quantum leap from that car.

I have seen the future and the sky is bright blue :)

A driving blog post is in the near future, for now suffice to say I am having a blast, discovering a new world, and participating in the most significant change in motive power since we shifted from steam to internal combustion.

80 miles yesterday, 120 miles today, mostly enthusiastic driving.

Thank you Mini E team. Hue, Thanks a million!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Good to go!

Wall box, installed,
Cable, installed
City Inspection, passed

Great day at Herons' House.
The gents from Sunpower were awesome and quick. The little box is an appliance timer which I will set to take advantage of my SDG&E EVTOU2 super off peak rate that allows me to charge between midnight and 7 am for less than 1/2 the cost during the day.

Really enjoy and want to thank the other Mini-E bloggers that are posting data about their drives and experiances.

Thanks to the city of Carlsbad for expediting the inspection.

Next post is the car in the driveway!