31 December 2009

To better (warmer) days...

So here we are at the end of 2009 and I realize that it's been over a month since I last blogged about my exploits with Mini-E #339. Well, with the holidays and all... (Did Thanksgiving and Christmas really go by so fast?)

And then there was work... Don't even get me started on that! (Why is it my job always seems to get worse when the year-end holidays roll around?)

What's worse, December here in NYC has been typical: COLD! And one of the things that I haven't been blogging about is how this cold weather has really curtailed my enjoyment of #339.

But that's part of the problem. I haven't really been driving her all that much this past month.

You see, I really do love the cold. I love the fresh exhilarating feeling of a brisk wind. Not to mention SNOW! (Hey, it's "Christmas time." It's suppose to be cold and snowy!)

But while I love the snow and cold... The Mini?

Not so much.

You see when it gets cold, the Mini-E uses a wee bit more power. Running the heater during the commutes when the temps are in the 20s drains the battery faster -- much like running the A/C in summer.

So, I've been using about 60 to 70% of the battery just to get to work in the morning when I've used 339's heater. Not much of a problem, thankfully, since I've gotten permission to plug in to the 120-volt outlets at work during the day.

But even then, coming out after a long day in the office, getting into a cold Mini and "booting up"... The battery gauge that after sitting on a 120-volt line at 12-amps for 8-hours (in the cold), I'd only go from 40% of charge left (after my morning commute) to about 80% of charge.

Sure, that's more than enough to get me home -- even with the heat on and "speeding" at 70 or 75 MPH. But don't expect me to make any side trips or run errands on the way home.

What's more, connecting at the 220-volt/32-amp charger at home wasn't all that much different -- mainly because it too, is an "outside" charger.

Case in point: I left the #339 charging on the 220-volt at home for 2 days -- the coldest days just before the snowstorm that left us with 16-inches of snow on December 20th. Overnight temperatures on those two days were something like 10 or 15 degrees below 0 when you took into account the wind chill factor.

With the cold and coming snow, I knew I wasn't going to drive #339 for the next couple of days. (And I never got the chance to bring her in to the dealer to swap her regular "run-flat tires" for snow tires -- all part of the "free maintenance" for us "Mini-E Pioneers.") So, I decided to move her into the garage.

I disconnected her from the juice and booted her up on the 19th -- the night before the storm, and....

Her battery gauge read "15%" charge.


After two days on 220-volt, she wasn't even fully charged?

But with the coming storm, I had no choice. I immediately stuck her in the garage and left her there -- unconnected to any electrical supply since the 120-volt outlets inside the garage can't handle the 12-amp constant draw of power.

Last Sunday, I did check up on her. I guess a week inside the garage and out of the cold elements "readjusted" her sensors because when I booted her back up, #339s's battery gauge read "58%" -- and that WITHOUT being connected to any juice whatsoever.

So, for now, Mini-E #339 has become a "garage queen."

At least until the weather warms up.

Still, I really would love to see what she does in the snow.

Maybe I'll still get the chance.

Not counting on it. But... Who knows?

Anyway, six months with Mini-E #339. (It was six months to the day on Christmas!) Six months left... And I'm still learning so much about her -- even when I'm NOT driving her! :-(
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