The New Glossary of My Daily Commute


As part of the MINI E program, we get weekly emails containing driving suggestions and bits of insight from MINI on life in the prototype electric car lane. This week’s edition contained this handy little glossary and a tip on efficiently using the heater that I found interesting (who, for example, knew that a gallon of gas = 36.5 kWh!):

V: Volt; from the 17th century Italian physicist, Alessandro Volta.

In simplified terms, voltage is like electrical pressure. If an electrical wire were a water hose, the pressure or force of the water exiting the hose would be akin to the voltage level in a wire.

A: Ampere (Amp); from the 17th century French physicist, Andre-Marie Ampere.
Using the same water hose analogy, the Ampere is a measure of current flow. The volume of water which can flow through a hose is related to how wide the hose is – narrow hose, low volume, wide hose, high volume. Larger wires are able to carry a greater amount of current than smaller ones, and this current is measured in Amps.

kW•h or kWh: kilowatt hour
Those of you who are in tune with your electric utility bill are probably familiar with the kW•h because it is the unit measure by which you are charged for your energy consumption. A Watt-hour is the total energy used over time. Some of you have calculated your energy costs to drive the MINI E by using your kW•h rate to determine cost per mile. Your kW•h costs can vary based on such factors as where you live, when you charge and what your total monthly consumption is. A single gallon of gasoline contains approximately 36.5 kW•h of energy.

HV: High Voltage
There are two electrical systems we interact with on the MINI E. The low voltage system covers the 12V (Volt) components which are common to other MINI models. The power windows, windshield wipers, and map lights are examples of low voltage items. High voltage items are what sets the MINI E apart and typically runs in the range of 390V. The HV system is what propels the car, and provides heat and air conditioning.

SOC: State Of Charge
The amount of energy stored in the MINI E HV batteries, displayed as a percentage.

PEU: Power Electronics Unit
The magic gold box under the bonnet of the MINI E. It is the “brain” of the HV system and coordinates a variety of parameters such as power delivery and charging.

Module: High Voltage Battery Module
The HV battery in the MINI E is comprised of modules, each of which contain 106 cells. There are 48 modules in total which are individually monitored. Using a modular battery configuration enables more efficient packaging. If necessary, servicing the HV battery can be accomplished by replacing only modules which need to be, instead of the entire battery pack.

OUC: Occasional Use Cable
The 110V, or 12A cable which many of you keep with your MINI E, is commonly referred to as an OUC.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Heater Efficiency
This one works a lot like Goldilocks. Getting the warmest air from the cabin heater is achieved by setting the fan speed to the second setting. The lowest setting won’t take full advantage of the output of the heating element. The highest setting will blow so much air past the heater that it won’t have time to pick up all the heat. The middle setting is just right.

Hmmmmm – the closer we get to winter, the more I get nervous about this heater and it’s impact on my ability to get home….

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