1,000 Mile Review

Last week saw a major milestone, as I guided #217 past the first 1,000th mile (ironically, it was a pretty dull mile on I-287, just north of The Quarry). In honor of this occasion, I thought I’d chronicle the biggest differences i’ve noted so far about what it is like to drive an electric car. Here goes:

1. One-pedal Driving — thanks to the magic of regenerative-braking, the accelerator now also acts as a decelerator, and that yields a kinda different, but kinda fun, way of driving.

2. Range Anxiety — I need to drive a minimum of 90 miles each day, and fit that in the official “about 100 miles” range of the MINI E. In practice, I know I can drive at least 108 miles, and probably get closer to 120 miles if i had to. But the practical effect of this is what the MINI E newsletter termed (cue the echo sound-effect) “rAnGe AnXieTy”. Ya get a wee bit concerned watching that charge meter charge towards 0. I think most of this can be relieved with a larger-capacity battery, and software that can be better calibrated to give a more accurate estimate – both items I know are on the drawing board at BMW/MINI. I’m pretty comfortable that I can make my 90 miles, but I also haven’t yet pushed it as much as I’d like to.

3. No Pumping Required — just before I took delivery of #217, I timed a visit to my gas station. From the moment I exited the highway, to the moment I got back on (and this is a station that is about 400 yards off of I-287), it was about 12 minutes. For me, that was 12 minutes every 4 days, which compares to the:15 seconds it takes me to plug/unplug a day. That means I’m saving 1 hour a month. It’s nice.

4. The Four Hour Fill Up — so, as much as I love skipping the lines at the gas station, I have to admit that gas stations are terribly useful things when you’re on empty and 12 minutes gets you another 400 miles. Especially when compared to the 4 hours it takes me to fill up #217’s electrical tank. For most of the time though that four hours happens when I’m home for the evening, usually sleeping. 5 days out of 7, that’s just fine for me.

5. The Sounds — I knew of course that an electric car would be quieter than a gas car, but i really didn’t expect this. On the highway I notice it because I can keep the radio at a lower volume. In town, I notice sounds I never knew were there – kids in some nearby backyard, the idle chatter coming out of a restaurant, etc. It’s weird. Nice, but weird.

Those are the big and obvious things. I’m sure the next 1,000 miles will turn up some more subtle differences.


3 responses to “1,000 Mile Review

  1. Though I’d heard about the Range Anxiety (not the term itself—will psychiatrists be diagnosing this in 10 years?), the quiet ride is definitely something to be given great weight…especially when many of us are often in a bubble of sound and data as it is. (Being in our cars is usually just a magnified example of this, more segregated than we are with ear buds in and screen in the face.) Enjoy the weird. The nice, but weird.

  2. Pingback: 5,000 Miles « The Electric Ride: MINI E #217 Road Test

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