Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hear that??

Wow is the ActiveE quiet...I mean really quiet. When you have the windows up and nothing else turned on it is like a cocoon. You hear everything, mostly new sounds that you never heard before because there was an engine drowning it out. For example, turning on the high beams....listen for it. The wiper motor, the loudness of the climate control and objects hitting the windshield...yes that.

So I was driving home along my normal route and it was pretty buggy out...normal spring evening...nothing out of the ordinary. I hear this noise that sounds like rain on the is not raining...soon I realized it was bugs hitting the windshield, EVERY bug hitting the windshield. Ummm yeah...kinda icky but kinda interesting at the same time since I could now hear each and every bug going to bug heaven by my doing....that is a quiet car.

Want to freak yourself out...turn the ActiveE off (windows and doors closed) and everything else off and sit and wait. Things start to either open or close deep inside the car...yeah, its very much alive.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Now this is a good idea

Years ago I was working with V2G (Vehicle to Grid) technology....where an EV can send power back to the grid or can actually power a house or if you had enough cars in the lot plugged in...a building.

I just caught this and find it to be an awesome idea...I can only hope other EV manufactures offer up something like this for their cars.

Mitsubishi has announced their Power BOX for their i-MiEV and it will power a few things for around a pinch, like a black out this could be very useful.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Range be damned...

As my previous post noted I had to drive my diesel SUV since I was down on juice this morning...well I felt kinda bad about that and missed being in the ActiveE so when I did get back to where I left it - I actually parked it on a side street to make the swap into the diesel, couldn't be seen you know - anyway I turned off EcoPro and said to myself - range be damned!

As I was flogging my ActiveE around the side roads of Chatham, ever so stealthily until I came upon a hapless pedestrian along the sidewalk, I'd then floor it so the motor whine alerted them to something menacingly EVlicious - yes, made them pause and look...this was fun but I needed larger game...then I came upon a LOTUS.

As I got closer to my target I noticed it was an early model LOTUS Elise....a real beauty and one with very little emission control. But this wasn't about beauty was was about dusting a dino juice drinking car with an electric car and with this one I had a chance...I wanted to shock this guy so to speak.

I pulled up silently behind him....light turned green and he took off, he took the bait. Once I got above 15 I was catching up and he was losing momentum on the shifts....I had him!! He pulled to the side and we slowed quickly as we came to the next light, my regen screaming loudly with the taste of conquest. He asked if my car was electric...I confirmed it was...and he said he figured since there was no exhaust - a car guy he was!

I could tell he wanted another go. I glanced at my dash, EcoPro is off, check, nothing is on to take away from the power I was going to lay down on the asphalt, check...light turns green, he was looking down, I rolled off quickly, he never heard me go...ha! I looked back in the mirror and could see him struggling, he miss shifted. Lucky for me because Lotus's are fast and if he was a skilled driver I probably would not be posting this...but the ActiveE makes all of us doesn't it.

He stayed back and followed me a few more miles, then turned off and waved. ActiveE you rock!!

Charge Anxiety is back

I'm sure you have all heard of 'Range Anxiety' - that's when you think you will run out of range before you get to your destination. Then what is 'Charge Anxiety'?? That is when you you are not getting enough charge back into the battery so you can take another trip in your EV.

When I had the MiniE it was a constant issue...I was on the 110 (120v) for 4 months and the MiniE had issues with the current in my town so the breaker would often pop, effectively stopping the recharging town is notorious for surges or fluctuation in the current. This often happened in the middle of the night and I found myself waking up during the night just to be sure the MiniE was still charging so I had enough to get to work and back.

I've been on the 110 with the ActiveE for almost 3 weeks and never had an issue...until last night. Sometime around 4am, best guess, the breaker tripped and shut down the ActiveE charging as well as part of my house. It was a simple resetting of the breaker but I lost a nights charge. With the amount of driving I need to do today and tomorrow I do not have enough time in the day to charge enough I need to use my diesel SUV for the trip. There are no public charging stations near enough to me.

Well bummer! I'll be off the 110 soon but this bites. Oh well, having an EV is indeed a lifestyle and takes some adjusting, an adjustment I find worth it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

ActiveE activity

Michael and Pamela's ActiveE upfront - mine in back

I've seen another ActiveE driving opposite of our route a couple of times on Saturdays in recent weeks and discovered it was Michael and Pamela (
blog here) that I knew from my MiniE days. So we decided to meet up and give those of Meyersville an EV thrill.

As Michael and Pamela began to head out I listened to basically nothing as they drove off, it still impresses me today how amazingly quiet and calming an EV is in motion. After growing up around cars of all types, mostly loud ones, it is a pleasant change.

After I got my family into the car and we were getting ready to roll away I overheard some bicyclists at the coffee shop talking about the 1 series - mine. I said this one was all electric, and to my surprise one of them said just like the MiniE - good to talk to knowledgeable EVer. Even more impressive was the ActiveE was on and we could talk to each other 50 feet apart without yelling...very civilized.

The posts cover up old gasoline pumps - the US Mail was looking at EVs a few years ago, a perfect solution for them

There was more EVlicious activity in Meyersville in that one coffee drinking hour than they have ever had in their history.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A gem of an EV

The weather is improving and I'm getting used to this EV. I'm still on the 110 which is forcing me to perfect my distance skills. Today I reset the mls/kWh tracking to zero to see what I could get, the temperature was a comfortable mid 60s. The higher the number the further you can drive....well after about 20 mins I hot the upper 3s and then I settled into 4 finishing up at 4.2 and the computer told me I could get 118 if I kept going at that pace. Wow, that is awesome.

My drive consists of a few full stops and some steep uphills and downhills with an average speed of 40mph. Temperature really plays a roll and later in the day as it cooled my range and mls/kWh dropped a bit but still with some meaty range left.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

EcoPro is the new Nitro

I have to say I'm liking the EcoPro feature...not because it gives me better range but because power is so instant when you turn it off. If I feel like I don't have enough to get across the intersection I just turn it off and I'm instantly moving faster. Same with wanting to pass is like flipping the nitro switch.

I love the fact that there is really no that button to turn the little green light off and it's on baby.

110ing it...meh!

I've been on the 110 (120v) for 2 weeks now. I've covered over 700 miles in great EV comfort but I know if I had the 240 I'd be covering a lot more and driving a lot harder.

Why am I still on the 110? Where is the free wall EVSE (240 Charger) I am to get from Coulomb? Well my friends I'm still waiting but I'll touch on that in a later post as this one is about sipping from the 110.

Probably one of your first thoughts is can one survive on a 110? I'd say not if you want to be part of society....the 110 just does NOT charge the ActiveE fast enough, any EV for that matter. Sure you could swing it with the VOLT because it has a gas backup and smaller battery or 'like' plugin but if you are all electric you are playing Russian roulette. You see on the ActiveE it takes about 12hrs to get a 50% charge...think about that...12 hrs...half of your day and only 50% or 50 miles if weather is nice. If you plan on doing any kind of distance often there will be a point where you won't catch up and you may need to cut one or two trips short.

The other challenge is there is no such thing as a quick charge on the 110. In my MiniE days I would stop at my house for 30 min or less for an EV pick me got me some welcomed miles added, I would be doing the same with the ActiveE. I'd go check the mail, grab a coffee and voila...I just got another 10 to 15 miles. On the 110 I'm lucky if I get 4 miles added in 1 hr...not convenient.

What else? Well ActiveE pre-conditioning does not work on the 110...nope...nada. Oh sure you can tell the ActiveE to pre-condition and it accepts it but nothing happens. You need a decent amount of juice coming from the just is not there. Added, sipping from the 110 can add some 'charge anxiety' to your life, this is wondering of you will get enough charge in a time. A lot can affect the rate of charge too such as temp of outside, temp of batteries and how much the outlet you are plugged into shares with other devices...the ActiveE has a nice feature that tells you how how long to a full charge...mostly it is conservative but sometimes when it says 16 hrs it is being optimistic....ouch

One other item for those in cold states like me...the 110 is not able to heat up the battery so it is very cold in the day while charging the battery it never got above 35 degrees and that is a total range eater.

Oh...I've checked the public charging stations and there are none in my area which is a serious bummer. Until my EVSE saga is resolved I'll be 110ing it a bit longer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lord of the flies...

Those little black dots on the roof of the ActiveE are seems the locals are big fans of the pin about noon the ActiveE's stripes were covered in them...eerie...most definitely.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I was at JMK BMW having the car looked at when I came across two other ActiveEs waiting for their new drivers. Perfect timing, I just had to take a pic...mine is on the right.

So why was I having the car looked at? Well I was having some problems with it and not at all related to the EV part. The rear suspension was creaking and groaning something fierce so I had the technician take a closer look. They suspect bushings and have ordered parts. These cars were sitting since December, maybe longer and something could have dried out, who knows. Bottom line, I did not have to leave my ActiveE I just wait for the call to say the parts are in.

I continue to glide...though with a bit of a squeak

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Enjoy the 'Glide'

After having the ActiveE a few days I gotta say I'm very impressed with the ride quality. I've had many cars over the years, mostly German luxury cars and some sports cars, but this ActiveE has got to be one of the best riding cars I've ever driven overall...even passengers are impressed.

This car does not just ride well, it glides. I think being an EV adds to this, after all there is no vibration or growl and whine from an engine and what you have is a silent buttery smooth power train surrounded by a rock solid chassis that is bolted to a well tuned suspension with a cocoon like cabin sitting on top of now have a vehicle that glides over the roads. Impressive to say the least.

Now when I refer to the motion of my ActiveE I say it 'glides'

Family outing

One of the huge benefits of the ActiveE is I can take my family along for the ride. It has 4 seats which means a child seat can fit in the back. In fact, the ActiveE has a surprisingly wide bottom seat in the back giving plenty of room for a child seat. My little girl was quite happy back there and she loves to ride in the ActiveE.

I thought at first it would be a bit of a challenge getting her to ride in a new car, she loves her diesel SUV, we still have that for long trips. When I explained to her the ActiveE runs on batteries she was really excited...not bad for a 3 1/2 year old - kids get it.

Today while we were out grabbing some breakfast a group of people gathered around our parked ActiveE and my daughter ran to the cafe window laughing and saying "They are looking at our ActiveE, look look". Great car.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Now I know...

Now I know why the regen is slightly less aggressive than the MiniE was, maybe for comfort, but I think it is because the ActiveE is rear wheel drive. If the rear wheels lock up it could cause a slide and guess happened.

The wheels did not lock up but I was coming around a curve on a fairly bumpy road and I had to slow down pretty quickly for a truck pulling out of their drive. I did full regen just as the rear of the car was hitting a bump compressing the rear suspension and then pushing back up lightening the rear tires just enough to lose traction (in regen on the ActiveE only the rears tires slow the car down) . A very slight slide occurred, all the safety anti-slip features kicked in immediately to straiten me out but it did happen. Roads were dry, so I wonder what would happen to an unsuspecting driver in the snow. We know how some drivers can't even handle driving in a strait line much less remaining calm in a slide maybe an EV school is in order.

Free charger update...Kudos to Coulomb

As some of you have read before I was awarded a free charger from Coulomb Technologies, I had the onsite inspection and was then awarded a fat estimate to install it - or more accurately'swap' the new charger for what I have now which is a Clipper Creek unit from my MiniE days. This was a 3rd party installer contracted by Coulomb which has now just begun to hear about these high install estimates - I'm not the only one.

All is not lost, I got an email and then later a call from Coulomb saying they were aware of my concerns and are looking into another option. How did they find out, they responded to post I left on the Facebook kudos to Coulomb for being proactive and reaching out to me.

Even if they are unable to make the install more attractive, I sure do hope they can, to me they did the right thing by contacting me and letting me know they were aware of the situation. Worst case I stick with my Clipper Creek.