11 November 2009

She drinks while I work

One of the things I was able to accomplish during my "radio silence" (the month of October): Arranging Mini-E #339 to be recharged here at work.

After signing a "memorandum of understanding" (MoU) with the managers who oversee the "facilities" (including the two employee parking lots) -- and showing off the car to the guys who do the actual work and maintenance -- I got official permission to plug in to one of the outdoor 120-volt outlets on the parking lot lampposts.

That's a "big" change, in a way, from when I was already jacking 339 in on the sly. (Not by much though, since the MoU basically doesn't guarantee me a spot next to one of those rare outdoor outlets. Nor can I hold the company liable if something happens to 339 when she's jacked-in.)

I no longer feel guilty about plugging 399 into "the grid" and sucking down precious electricity -- all on the company's dime... And without their knowledge. Nope. It's all "legit" now.

But why would I "need" to plug Mini-E in now anyway? After all, unlike before, I have a 220-volt charger at home now, right? My commute distance (about 30-miles each way) is still the same and with a high-voltage charger at home, "Range Anxiety" shouldn't be a problem anymore, right?

Not really.

You see, with the colder weather setting in here in New York, I've been noticing that 339's estimated range falls well below the 100-miles per charge that I got over the summer months!!

For example, on one particularly cold day in early October, 339's "warning chime" that I had less than 30-miles range went off after she and I had gone just 45 miles!!! I was on my way home from work anyway, so I wasn't really worried. (Not much, anyway.) Still....

78-miles?? Even though I had started the day with a FULL charge and didn't go any where else but to work??? Really??? C'mon....!!!

So, having 339 connected and sucking down juice while I slave away in the office might be a good thing -- especially on a day like today, where the temps are in the 50's... But it's overcast and drizzly and the wind's blowing so it feels a LOT less warmer!!! If I didn't plug in 339 during the day, who knows how far I'll be able to go at the end of the day? Or, even if I'd make it home? (Yikes!)

So, today would be a good day to mark just what plugging in 339 while at work might yield during the next few cold and wintry months!

Here's the info about my commute in to work this morning.

Started with 100% charge and 339's meter said I had "93-miles" to empty. (Huh. Well, I guess it was a bit cold last night, too!)

I drove my usual route to work -- a mix of highway and local roads. But... I never drove faster than 60 MPH. Ok, maybe one or two brief "squirts" of 80 MPH to merge onto a highway and/or pass a truck... But I never did a sustained 70 or 80 MPH. Really. I just stuck in the right-hand lane letting everyone else pass me on the left. (I've come to realize, why am I rushing to work in the mornings???)

Here are the pictures (captured by my cell phone) of 339's relevant dashboard data screens once I've pulled into the lot and parked next to my much-appreciated, work-supplied jack-in point.

This shows that I've traveled 29 miles this morning and went from a "93-mls" reading when I left home to "68-mls" reading when I got to work:

93 miles minus 29 miles does NOT equal 68 miles to empty. I'm guessing that some regen braking added some power back to the battery. Also note the temp (49-degrees F) and that I've gone over 5,770 miles since picking up 339 back in June!

This next image shows the estimated percentage of battery I have left 'til empty: 71%!!!!

And finally, this last shot shows how much efficient I was at driving to work:

From what I remember in the manual, this means that if I was to travel 100 miles at th same "pace" that I did in the last 29 miles, I would need 67-amps per hour to recharge 339's battery. (Don't quote me on that... I'm still confused at this number! But I do know that "lower" is supposedly "more efficient.")

Anyway... That was this morning.

I've now pulled in more than my 8-hours here in the office... So it's time for me to go and see what 8+ hours jacked into a 120-volt line at 12-amps has done for 339's battery!

Stay tuned!!!

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