26 June 2009

Notes of Day 1 with Mini-E-339

I was going to post some of the things I learned from Catherine Clark (CC), who walked me through the particulars of Mini and getting me acquainted with 339 (my 3-3-9!) while we sat in the dealership's garage.

But I figured I better put some thoughts and actual "logbook" type data down now that my very first day with my 339 has come to a close. (And before I forget!)

The numbers, in short

Odometer mileage, start: ~ 30 miles

State of Charge (SoCs), start: 96%

Odometer mileage, end: ~65 miles

State of Charge (SoCe), end: ~44 or 47%


Picked up from Mini of Manhattan (58th St. & 11th Ave.) @ approx. 16:00, after 15-min. of paperwork and 45-min. or so of "orientation" -- included several "laps" around the dealership and Manhattan's West Side.

Approx. first 9-10 miles traveled within NYC (inner-city, stop-and-go traffic) -- from dealer to sis' office (near Holland Tunnel) then back to dealer. (Sis has to drive my beloved '97 red Honda CR-V while I drive 339 home.)

339 took potholes well... Even some of the cobblestone streets of the Village, where I ended up thanks to a roundabout detour! How could I forget they closed off Time Square to vehicle traffic!! Even to COOL cars like my Mini-E!!! Grrrr!!!' And not that I don't know the City, but... it's been a while since I drove thru midtown and can't remember which streets go through and which just dead-end. Not having my Garmin didn't help... and note to Mini: You didn't give us GPS (not that we could use!)... Or Bluetooth! (Note to self: "Dialing and driving" is illegal in NYC and there are TOO many traffic cops and NYPDers watching!!)

Speaking of cell phones... Need to be TRIPLY cautious around NYC pedestrians and bikers. Street walkers too busy yapping away to even be aware of noisy internal combustion engine (ICE) cars... Bikers weavin' in and out... Neither will be expecting my 3-3-9, which makes practically NO discernible noise which could serve as awarning -- that is, if they were even paying attention to anything but their own little world...

BTW, I LOVE their startled looks when I accelerate from the stoplight and all "they" hear is the rising "WhhhirrrRRRRRRRL...." noise (see embedded Jay Leno video!) made by the 'lectric motors as they instantly pull me off the line!! (Eat that you jerk in the white Porsche 911 with Florida plates!)

Still, oddly enough, not one pedestrian or onlooker has asked me "What kinda Mini is that?" despite the distinctive (if minimalist) badging -- the stylized "e" plug on the hood ('scuze me, "on the bonnet" as Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear would say!), on the roof and "gas" cover.

Next 30-odd miles, stop-and-go rush hour traffic on BQE, LIE, GCP... Amazingly, car interior VERY quiet despite crawling alongside big diesel tractor trailers and "ricers" with their tricked out, rolling "boom boxes." (Sheeesh... I hope they go deaf when they hit their 30s!) Proof of good sound-insulation, shielding and solid body fit-to-frame in my 339, methinks.

Downside: I feel VERY small -- esp. since it seems like the truckers' tires alone seem "taller" than my Mini-E. Also, making it hard to adjust: I use to be in one of those "high-riders." (Yea, ok... CR-V is only "modestly" taller but seeing my sis behind me... She looked a lot "taller" in the CR-V. She confirmed later: "Weird seeing how your Mini's roof is below my eye-level when I was following you. And it looked like those bigger SUVs would crush you!")

Last 5 or so miles of the day was through local neighborhood, suburbia streets running errands. Again: AMAZINGLY shocked at how quiet the car is on local roads. No radio on, no cars or other traffic on the streets... and all you hear is 339's tires as we roll. A true stealth mobile!! (I'm sure my neighbors would love that for the times I come home late -- as in, "in the oh-dark-30 hours." Hehehehe...)

Noticed how low SoC became. "44 or 48%??? Huh?" Means I'd barely get 60 or 80 miles before 339'd need to limp home!! Oh yeah... Bright sunny day (after DAYS of rain) in NYC, sitting in rush-hour traffic -- With the A/C blasting full on the coldest temp. Yeah... Makes sense.

Plugged into 110-volt with special charger provided. Won't get full 12-hours of charging in. (Plugged in after 8PM... Need the car by 7AM tomorrow...) Let's see how well it goes.

Final thoughts for the day

  • Very quiet
  • Feels solid and soaks up bumps, potholes and usual NYC road conditions well
  • Good A/C
  • RDS radio (Love seeing what 'PLJ is playing at the moment)
  • Comfortable seat(s). (I haven't ridden in the passenger seat... yet! ;-))
  • "Idiosyncrasies" with the controls. (Why is the main radio volume control lower on the dash, while the knob just under the display is used to control switching between the radio's presets? Huh?)
  • Not "thrilled" with the gianormous "speedo" on the center of the dash. (I don't like to "advertise" how fast I'm going. Also, is the glass face of the gauge polarized? When I wear my polarized sunglasses, I see one nickel-sized black "dot" right in the middle of the LCD line that shows the radio info. :-( )
  • The horn. Sounded a bit wimpy for the car. Also, the steering wheel control for it takes some getting use to?
  • No Bluetooth? Oddly enough, there's a "phone handset" symbol on the dash... Pressing it does nothing... Except give your finger exercise. ;-)
The "Undecided yet" bits
  • Overall exterior/interior styling. Ok, I "get" it's suppose to look like any other Mini. But part of me goes, "But I want other people to see it and go, 'wow, that's different...'" I want acknowledgment that here stands before you something -- and someone! -- "special"... a "one-in-500" kind of special... (#339 of 500, in fact! ;-))

    See my Mini-E... Bow in adoration and acknowledgment of me and my 339's vast technological prowess, our commitment to a better Earth and our overall awesomeness... Love my Mini-E... Love me, dang it!

    That's all I want!! ;-)
LOL!! JUST kidding. (I really am NOT that vain... Really... :-D)

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