Hello, #217


It was cold and rainy all day here in the Northeast, and yet a beautiful day by my experience. My wife and I swung by MINI of Westchester to pick up MINI E #217 from the very helpful Steve Stein.

"oh, so this is how the door works in an electric car!"

"oh, so this is how the door works in an electric car!"

The delivery experience was great – and they topped off my charge so I could start the day feeling full. My original plan was to drive to work, but considering that the dealership added 17 miles onto my already longish 90 mile commute – and heeding Steve’s advice to “be a little conservative until you know how the miles affect your charge” – I kept my first day with #217 limited to the drive home from the dealership, and then some “family acquaintance” spins around the block in the evening.

First impressions are generally great — the car has torque, like no other vehicle i’ve driven. With just two gears (forward & reverse), you literally hit the backseat and don’t come off of it until you let up on the pedal. Keep in mind, my other car is an Infiniti G35, with 270hp.

Because MINI took out anything that wasn’t essential in order to limit the drain on the batteries, there aren’t some of the conveniences I’ve come to appreciate: no nav system, no integrated bluetooth & no reverse camera. But i’ve got an iphone that will satisfy my GPS needs, and everything else is just a convenience that I can easily live without.

It's a hit!

It's a hit!

My kids love it. “Everything about this car is just…really, really cool” was the verdict of my daughter, while during a spin around a parking lot my son could only make the same excited laugh that he uses at theme parks. It’s just flat out a fun car to drive. And at 6’2″, I’ve got headroom to spare.

The only less-than-ideal experience so far has been the charging. Until the high-voltage cable that is designed to plug into my already-installed wall charging station becomes available (and I can go from 0 to Full in a couple of hours) I will need to use the “convenience cable” that plugs into any standard 120v outlet. The trouble is that word “convenience”, because it isn’t.

Even after I unplugged every other item connected to the standard GFI outlet in my garage, the GFI would pop out after about 10 minutes of charging. It was weird that it was so regular – about ~10 of perfectly fine charging, and then off for no obvious reason.

The short term solution is that I back into my garage and plug into a non-GFI wall outlet just inside the house. It’s working for now, but since it only recharges around 4%/hour – and I’ll just about deplete the battery on a 90-mile round trip workday (not to mention my wife’s patience with an electrical cord running across our hallway) I’m going to need another solution soon.

All-in-all, a beautiful day. I can’t wait to take #217 to Morristown, NJ tomorrow…and hopefully all the way home, too.

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