Friday, April 5, 2013

A Year Of Serenity

Quick Stats:
Delivered Feb 28, 2012
17,000 miles driven in a year
8 snow storms
1 Hurricane
$2,000 in fuel savings after paying for electricity when compared to gas

It has been just over a year with my BMW ActiveE that I've affectionately named 'Serenity', it just made sense, but my family still just calls her 'The ActiveE'.  I took delivery on February 28th 2012 and have enjoyed every mile, all 17,000 of them, in just a year.  This is the most I've driven any car in a year where I was not forced to.

I've got a lot of pictures throughout my blog so on this post I hope to post a few not seen before.  Here goes...

EVs are not for everyone but for the majority of us they make perfect sense.  They are perfect commuter cars and for weekend jaunts to do errands.  Most of us have a 2nd car which fills in the gaps for long trips.  They are inexpensive to operate – about $5 to go 100 miles, cost of entry is amazingly low these days if you shop around.  The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has been as low as $75/month on a 2 year lease....amazing.  I saw a savings almost immediately when commuting, I was paying around $70 per week in my previous gas commuter but in the ActiveE is just $20 for for the same commute weekly.

Did I say they are amazingly fun cars to drive, quick, instant power and smooth as silk.  Driver fatigue is way down due to no vibration or engine and exhaust noises.  It is amazing how that makes one tired in traffic, an EV has none of those characteristics.

Other than EVs being amazing to drive you are also part of a vibrant community and this has got to be the best part.  EV drivers are passionate about their rides and the technology, they go out of their way to help other EV drivers have the best experience.  There is nothing else quite like it.  Many offer up their chargers if you are in need, they are standing by to help many other car communities have members that offer up free gas (or energy)?  I've made many good friends with my EV.  I also get to join a lot of auto events and show off Serenity, I love cars so this works out great for me.  

Chilling with other EVers at Cars and Croissants - always fun

Juicing up at Nauna's.  One of the better places, I think only place, that offers chargers to EV customers. Montclair NJ

Always fun to come across another ActiveEr since their are just 700 of us around the US

A day out in Serenity is always a special event

Serenity looks good in green

One of our longer trips without a charging stop....all the way to Mitsuwa, nearly 100 miles and we made it with 9 to spare.

Many places will offer up some juice if you is a strong community

It is a family car.  I don’t mean it can haul a family, I mean it is part of the family.  Everyone feels good about it, it is fun and we feel we are doing our part to improve our environment.  My little girl tells everyone she meets all about the car, she loves it and she loves to plug it in.  By the way, being able to charge your car at home (refuel) is amazingly natural.

Having an EV is more than just a cool car….it is an entire experience.  It is a driving lifestyle but one we did not have to adapt to.  I plan on having an EV for as long as it is feasible for me, we have another car, a diesel SUV for the long trips, so we are covered.  

This past year has proven to me the technology is on and you will see why.  
I must have driven through 8 substantial snow storms with the ActiveE, a record year for me in just a year.  Only in one of them did I have to pull over and give up the fight, but in any rear drive car this would be a smart move, being an EV had nothing to do with it.  In fact, I've found traction to be that much better in my ActiveE because the throttle response in an EV is so accurate that I could prevent wheel spin much more easily.

I also had a 76 mile round trip commute on some of the worst roads in NJ all under construction.  Route 78 to Pulaski Skyway anyone?  Serenity never flinched.

This is what we found after returning from holding up in NYC during Sandy.  Serenity had a few dings and later our house was one was hurt.  I like to say my house threw itself in front of Serenity to save her.  Tree-hugging to the extreme

I survived Sandy with an electric car….how ironic is that?  10 days with no power and I was still able to get to work, over 30 miles away, how is that possible?  I was able to plug in on the 110 at the homes of friends - which by the way I met some of them through having an EV.  One had power, one did not.  The one without power had a generator…and Serenity had no issues getting power that way.  There were also a couple of Commercial Level 2s available to me when I needed them.  It was surreal to be driving by long gas lines in an electric car during a power outage.   We had to drive our diesel SUV to Pennsylvania to get fuel which we parked as a backup emergency car….yes you read that correctly, I continued to use my EV as our main car during the black out because I felt more confident in finding a place to plug in than finding diesel.  I knew where I could get power and I knew there would be no car lines, it worked out just fine.

Through all of this the car has been very reliable.  My ActiveE sits outside in the elements and charging has never been an issue even with ice all over the car.  Yes, I've had my share of software glitches but this is a non-production car which has been way more reliable than my other production cars, I'm impressed.    Range anxiety comes back every now and then but still does not stop me from driving over 80 miles in one shot, I know I can make it as I've become much more confident in the abilities of EVs.

When Serenity goes back I will be looking for another EV, the i3 is on my list.  They are just that much fun to drive and make that much sense for me and my family.  Without one I'd feel a little weird.