03 September 2009

A very "rewarding" (but b-o-o-r-r-r-ing) drive

I think I should probably really title today's post, "Learning a valuable lesson."

The lesson?

"Moderate right foot, go further in Mini-E."

I think. ;-)

You see, I haven't been in a "speedy" mood over the last couple of days... No compelling need or desire to get to work in a hurry. (Go figure!) Or, oddly enough, have I felt the need to rush home lately. (Very strange, indeed!)

Add to that nonchalance, yesterday's news about my Mini's "faulty battery module #42" and well... But let me start at the very beginning so you understand how I came to learn this "valuable" lesson in Mini-E energy economics.

You see, when I stepped outside of my house this morning, I was greeted with lovely 73-degree temperatures and slightly overcast skies.

Mmmm... The perfect autumn day. Too bad, we're technically still in "summer." (Autumnal equinox is still 19 days away, kids.) But I digress...

Anyway... Stepping into 339 this fine and lovely mornin' and starting her up, I was greeted with a lovely surprise.

Battery charge = 100%

Ok, that's good, Mini-E...

Estimated range = 104 miles


Estimated range = 104 miles.

Huh?? I finally got triple-digit range on the battery? How did that happen? Was it the cooler weather? (The absence of the angry buzz of 339's battery fans during last night charging was a welcome relief.) The faulty battery module? The stars and planets all in perfect alignment? What could be causing this boost into this promised land of 100-miles (and more!) in 339?

Oh, wait... That's right... I drove home at a sedate pace of 60-MPH ("Snoozer-ville" for me...) last night.


After picking up sis from her Manhattan office late last night, I drove in the right-hand lane (the slowpoke lane) most of the way home, with only occasional "squirts" into the 70+ mile per hour range... You know, just to pass the lunkheads who think even 55-MPH is too fast! (At least those really, really, REALLY slow drivers were in the correct lane. After all, everyone KNOWS the road rule: "Slow traffic, KEEP RIGHT!" Right? But I digress...)

According to page 40 of 339's owner manual, that "cruising range" readout is "calculated on the basis of the way the car has been driven over the last 18 miles/30 km and current charge status." (In other words, 339's computer uses DOPE -- a military acronym, "Data On Previous Engagement," BTW. But I digress...)

Hmmmm.... Soooo... Since I drove the car so "conservatively" last night and now that she's fully charged.... I should get 104-miles out of her today?

Really? Let's just see about that....

Unplug from the wall charger.

Reset the trip odometer.

Reset the "average energy consumption" meter -- the readout that tells me how much juice I use for every 100 miles 339 and I travel.

Reset the average speed readout.

And off we go.

Drive local streets for 5 miles to drop sis off at the train station. Never went faster than 40-MPH. Coasted to each stop light to let the re-gen braking do all the work as much as possible. (Note: I even did not "speed through" yellow traffic lights, instead choosing -- nay, forcing myself -- to physically step on 339's brake pedal to stop at the intersection!)

Get on the highway. Here, I admit, I did put "pedal to metal" in order to get on the highway... But once "up to speed" (that lowly "60-MPH" benchmark).... That speedo needle never went north of that little mark next to "60."


I stayed in that right lane, easing off 339's accelerator when I saw cars were trying to merge in... Yes, I actually slowed down... yielding to let others to get on the highway... to get IN FRONT of me (and 339)!!!!

Yes... I even let other cars and drivers pass me... on my left...



Even soccer moms

Soccer moms driving big, honkin' SUVs...

Soccer moms driving big, honkin' SUVs stuffed to the rafters with kids, dogs, beach umbrellas, and sleeping husbands/boyfriends/lovers...

Soccer moms putting on mascara, drinking their Splenda soy latte and talking on their Bluetooth headsets while driving big, honkin' SUVs stuffed to the rafters with kids, dogs...

Yessiree, Bob... I kept to the steady, 60-MPH cruising I promised I would do in this "experimental" morning commute to work just so I could prove and know for sure that "slow and steady" meant better driving range with 339.

Even if it meant I was getting passed by grandma in her 20 year old Buick... or getting bored to tears with how "mindless" this commute was getting.

(Note to BMW: Maybe it was wise that you did not put in cruise control because I certainly would've relied on it in this test -- and then allowed myself to fall asleep at the wheel because of the sheer boredom of driving at a constant 60-MPH for 20 miles! But I digress...)

Anyway... the end result? Look at this picture, taken with my cellphone camera once I pulled into the company parking lot and set 339 into rest easy mode.

Yes. That's right... After driving Mini-E "conservatively" for 31 miles this morning, 339 was telling me she was "good to go" for another 79 miles!!! A potential total of 110 miles!!!!!

On a single, 4-hour charge!!!

That is...

IF I was willing to tame my right foot!

AND endure the tediousness of life at 60-miles-per-hour in the right-hand lane!

AND accept that fact that driving at 60-MPH means practically every driver in New York will be zippin' by me on the left.

Honestly... The only thing that kept me awake during this morning's commute was that I was constantly scanning for the 1982 Yugo held together by Bondo, duct tape and baling wire that was inevitably coming to pass me! But I digress...


All joking and satirical comments aside... (Really... I have nothing against big honkin' SUVs, Yugos, fall weather, or "soccer moms." Well... Maybe I do have an "issue" with distracted drivers, be they soccer moms or corporate dweebs who feel the need to yak on their Bluetooth while behind the wheel. But I digress...)

Anyway... Putting all that aside...


I know.

Driving 60-MPH (rather than the "reckless pace" I normally do) is just plain better. Better for the car. Better for the mileage. Better energy conservation. Better for the planet. Better (and safer!) for me... yada, yada, yada.

But dang it all if I can't for the life of me figure out why such "better" driving is such a mind-numbing, soul-sucking, joyless, heartless, sad experience? (Anyone care to weigh in??)


Needless to say.... Yeah, I'm looking forward to tonight's drive home.

'Til next time...

1 comment:

  1. Maybe if you stopped digressing you wouldn't be so long winded. :-(