Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaf warms up to the ActiveE

I thought this scene was fitting, after all the Nissan LEAF arrived before the ActiveE and is a ground up production but in my opinion the ActiveE is a far better EV - regardless of brand and cost aside. I have not driven the LEAF but I am a 'driver' which means I love to drive and that is why I thought the MiniE was so awesome. The LEAF is an excellent car but more utilitarian.

The Mini is a fantastic driving car and being an EV is icing on the cake. Same goes for the BMW, they make fantastic cars and a brand that comes first to mind when looking for a 'drivers' car. Having one be an EV enhances the overall driving experience.

Just like old times

In a way it is...I'm on the 110 for a bit until my charger challenges are worked out. It was a similar 110 deal when I had the MiniE, that lasted a few months - however this wait will only be a few days. Why the wait...nothing serious, there is an opportunity to get a brand spanking new charger for free with low install cost and that is what I'm waiting for, otherwise I stick with my upgraded Clipper Creek box.

No matter, so glad to have the car and I'm happy to report that the ActiveE on the 110 had no issues unlike the MiniE which get popping a breaker. The ActiveE appears to be a huge improvement for basic 110 charging.

(I unwrapped this little beauty right away and
began to let the ActiveE sip on the 110)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Been waiting a long time for the right EV to come along and here it is. Looking forward to the glide...being one of the first ActiveE 'Friends and Family' on the East Coast to get their car feels great!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A little more on Bricking an EV

(Nissan LEAF battery pack shown above as an example)

Here is a little more on this topic and can be found . It really isn't all that bad...basically don't let your EV sit for months on end and if it is near zero charge don't let it sit for weeks on end. Regular cars run into the same issues when you think about it, let a car with oil in the engine sit for months and you could damage the engine on start-up as oil dripped down to the pan. Gas can go bad, bushings harden, etc.

Basically be smart about it - no big deal. Could Tesla have a potential issue, maybe, but that will be because of their design which is unique to them.

Still no clue

I had the ChargePoint free charger inspection today: let me make it clear that BMW is not related to this in any way, just that the ActiveE program is an approved program for the free charger - that's it. The inspection took about 15 mins...again I asked what additional costs, again they could not tell me and I'll be contacted by someone else, again - how difficult can this be? I already have an installed system, the CC that came with my MiniE, all I want is a swap. The inspector did hint at putting in all new wiring from my panel to the box...whaaaat?? The current wiring is only two years old and was installed by pros. This is where this is getting really messy.

I've emailed Coulomb a couple times but no response, I'm disappointed in the lack of information being sent my way. Whatever, this is my choice and I may just call the whole thing off and remain with what I have now. The inspector actually told me only their ESVE (Coulomb) and AV were approved for the ActiveE program - I corrected him immediately.....I just feel sad for future EVers who may get railroaded because this is NOT everyday stuff like having an electric dryer installed for the average person.

For those in CA it seems the State covers additional costs up to $1200 so they can say anything they want up to $1200 and the charger customer is fine. In NJ we have no such program, I'm betting they are trying to figure out what amount I'll be comfortable with and one they can still make a profit off of.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bricking an EV

Well if you have not seen or heard about the 'bricking' of Tesla roadsters I'm sure you will soon. Apparently 5 cars have had their batteries 'bricked' - as in dead, unable to charge again. This is because they were at zero and left at zero for a period of time. It seems to be affecting only Tesla and if you do your own research it may effect future Tesla's. Nissan says their LEAF will not suffer from this as they have better safeguards. But it does bring up the question as to what safeguards the ActiveE has, I never heard of a MiniE 'bricking' and I do not expect the ActiveE to either.

Tesla and Nissan have instructions on how long you can leave the battery at zero before a 'brick' there a page like this in the ActiveE manual?

I for one may park my car at the airport for an extended period of time and I would hate to have the image of a 'brick' floating around my head while I'm gone so I'll be eager to find out what BMW instructs me to do.

I do not find this a negative, just an adjustment as with any new technology. I went through similar experiences as being an early adopter of one of the new clean diesels...they could only use ULSD (ultra low sulfur diesel) and that was even more difficult to find than a free place to plug in your EV and you had the added worry of was it really ULSD or did the station owner just slap a sticker on the pump - I had my share of a 'bricked' diesel. Just need to be aware is all...I got another diesel just like I got another EV ;)

It's just a swap...right?

I've been waiting to see what being awarded a free charger from Coulomb Technologies really means...I think it means 'sit tight it's free and we are still working this out'.

After being awarded the charger emailed my contact at Coulomb a couple times asking questions about install and other details about their reply. I did get an email from a home inspector, not an installer as best I can tell, and I asked him what other costs are there if any, since all I was doing was swapping out my old Clipper Creek box from my MiniE days. He did not know....I'm still waiting for the initial inspection.

The problem is my ActiveE is about to arrive and I need a charger...fortunately I have the upgrade kit for my Clipper Creek box, cost $400, and if if this free charger from Coulomb costs less with install than the Clipper Creek upgrade kit, and the Coulomb has a warranty plus free software updates it is the better deal....right...maybe. My fear is once they finally tell me there is indeed an install cost (I've read $500 or more) it will be higher than the Clipper Creek kit and I will have missed some quality drive time with my ActiveE sipping from the 110.

I'm beginning to wonder.

I've been VIN'd

Got my VIN today from my dealer which means the car if very close to being delivered. Soon I will be driving like the dude above. I can't wait to zip among nature again....the beauty of an EV is that you can actually hear nature while driving.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Free charger...maybe

So I was just awarded a charger from ChargePoint America which is sponsored by Coulomb Technologies. Very cool but what that means I'm still unclear about. Is the charger free and installation extra or are both free...too soon to tell. I will be getting a call from an installer and I'm sure I'll find out then.

What I'm most interested in is free access to their expanding charge station understanding is that I may have free access until 2013 but again those details still need to be confirmed.

Either way, it is great to see an infrastructure starting to be built for EVs, free or not, it is a great time to be on the cutting edge.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Charger choices

Being that I had a MiniE about a year ago I had the Clipper Creek CS-40 installed and since I still have it I was not interested in purchasing an entirely new unit from AV. Bottom line I needed a J1772 connector as that is the new standard, the MiniE did not have this. Fortunately I was able to upgrade my CS-40 with Clipper Creeks J1772 upgrade kit for $400, includes shipping. The picture above shows the new connector.

The kit comes with a 25 foot upgraded cable and everything you need to hook it up - cool!

So now I just noticed that ChargePoint America has a program where I might be able to get a new charger for free and other goodies, interesting to say the least - so I applied. Let's see, maybe if not at my home then at my office...I'll keep you posted

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just a little bit longer...

I'm hoping to receive my ActiveE near the end of February. The MiniE drivers that were in the 2nd year lease will get theirs first and that should almost be done. Then the rest of us get ours, those that signed up via the Friends and Family program and those that registered through the public reservation portal announced recently.

I'm counting the days

Sunday, February 5, 2012

So how does it drive...

Amazingly actually. I was seriously impressed.

I was able to take a test drive at JMK BMW in Springfield NJ which happens to be the place I ordered my ActiveE from. Give them a call for a test drive of your own or choose them as your selected ActiveE dealer - ask for Manny

The car drove like it was cut from a single block of steel, it was solid with no flex or vibration. That is probably because the BMW engineers reinforced the front end with brackets between the shock towers which is just one of the many chassis enhancements. In addition the ActiveE, based on the BMW 1 series, has improved on its nearly 50/50 weight distribution. What you have is an improved 1 series with the bonus of being an EV...pinch me please.

It may not be as spunky as the MiniE was but it is not slow and you are in the 60s before you even know what happened. The car just glides...a real pleasure to drive and will be fantastic for longer trips where the MiniE became a bit tiresome, fun, but tiresome. The ActiveE is much more of a grand tourer (GT).

Range is supposed to be around 100 with the new EcoPro activated. Once I have the car I'll be able to see what I can get. I'm hopeful the range will be a bit more than my MiniE which gave me over 110 (when weather was good) as the ActiveE has better battery management and is more aerodynamic.

BTW - my old MiniE blog can be found here.

ActiveE brochure...eye candy

In anticipation of receiving an ActiveE I'm always on the lookout for more information and I came across this ActiveE brochure from BMWs corporate site.

It seems the brochure link has changed a few times so it may go down...I will do my best to keep pace with it...enjoy.  

Great eye candy and info...just be aware 17" rims will not be offered but everything else is pretty much there, this car is loaded with luxury goodies. I big step up from the MiniE

You could be one of the 700

The ActiveE is not just for test drivers or engineers, the public has a chance of driving one of these beauties. Only 700 will be offered.

Interested? Go to the official BMW ActiveE website and sign could be driving never know.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A new EV beginning...

On 12/9/2011 I received the email I had been waiting for from BMW

My original MiniE EV blog can be found here