20 August 2009

My Mini-E, my soul mate?

Things have been too busy for me to blog lately. (Hey, I said from the git-go that I "have a life" outside of the blog-o-sphere!)

Still, I'll admit it would be a bit of a "cop-out" if all I did for this short entry is write, "Still drivin' the Mini-E #339. Still lovin' it." (Even though both statements are 100% true!)

So, let me impart one piece of insight that has struck me over the last few days:

If Mini-E #339 truly was a flesh-and-bones "she" (and not the personified "she" that I've taken to using here) I believe she would be my "soul mate."


Yeah, that's right. I said it and I'll say it again...

"My soul mate."

"My match."

"My equal."

"'The one' that 'understands me,' 'gets me,' and just 'completes me' on 'so many levels' -- just like I do for her (I hope)."

Now, before you go running to call for the padded wagon and the nice people who'll fit me for that very special jacket that makes me hug myself and ties in the back, lemme 'splain...

As those of you who live in the great city of New York (and surrounding 'burbs) know, the last few days have been scorchers.

Hazy, hot and humid days where temperatures have soared into the high-80s, low-90s -- but feel more like high-90s, low-100s.

Days in which spot thunder-showers (intense storms that turn the skies dark and send a flood of rain for like 5 or 10 minutes) seem to do nothing but just add more steam into the air... (Honestly, what else could happen but steam when "cool" water smacks into black, sticky asphalt that has been baked for hours under a bright, merciless sun??)

I hate days like that.

And so does my baby, #339.

And here's the proof!

Note the battery temperature -- that triple-digit(!) number just above the odometer reading of "002360mls" in that small display on the bottom. (I've logged more milage -- approximately 2,830 miles total -- since I took that pic, BTW.)

113 degrees Fahrenheit...

One. Hundred. Thirteen.

That's after driving only 40+ miles at highway speed (averaging about 50-MPH) for about 40 minutes... with the "ambient" (atmospheric) temperature was a "modest" 85-degrees Fahrenheit...

...AND, without using 339's air conditioning unit!!!

(Hey, if I'm going at a good clip on the highway, I love rollin' with the windows down and feelin' the wind in my hair and lettin' the tunes blare out and hearin' the electrical whine of 339's motor spool up and down!)


When 339's battery hits that level of temperature (113 degrees Fahrenheit...) "pioneer" driver like me get that funny warning symbol -- that gear thingy with the thermometer icon in the center -- just under the battery charge level's needle.

And what does that little symbol mean? According to page 101 of 339's owner's manual:

"Energy recovery limited due to hot high voltage battery. Be ready to brake at all times as the vehicle is not decelerated as is usual during energy recovery."

In other words, 339 looses its "regen" capability which turns the forward momentum (during "coasting") back into electrical energy -- and the ability to slow down without using the brakes!!

So, when that little symbol pops up, it basically means I've "lost" the "magic" that makes 339 "green" and "special."

In other words, it's 339's way of telling me:

"Hey, ease up!!! I don't like workin' in the heat either, buster!!!!!!"

I'm sorry, baby. (But thanks for telling it to me in a manner that I would understand! "Too hot... Must. Go. Easy!")

I'm even more sorry that even though I get to cool off in an air-conditioned office during the day, you're just sitting out there in the hot sun... your little battery fan whirring away, draining the battery even as you're trying to cool it!

And of course, these humid and muggy nights are not much better. Although you're plugged into "the grid" and charging, you're battery fan is going FULL-TILT (sounding like an angry restroom hand blower/dryer) trying to cool the battery down even quicker!


Note to BMW's engineers: Have you thought about "liquid cooling" or maybe adding some solar panels to run a fan to cool the battery (a la Toyota's 2010 Prius?) and possible provide some juice to run "standby" electronics (the receiver that "listens" for the key fob remote to unlock the doors and lower the windows, say)???

1 comment:

  1. Hey Paul, there are a few of us East Coasters feeling the 'heat/humidity' pain these days with our MINI Es. I have a few posts about my humidity experiences and you can link to #250 to see his 'heat' challenges. All part of the fun really. Still loving the MINI E EV lifestyle
    www.mymini-e.blogspot.com #402