Saturday, December 8, 2012

Staying Alive at 35...Percent SOC

It’s a comfortable feeling starting your day with a fully charged EV.  Even though every EV has its range limit, a full tank of electrons gets the day off on the right foot.  But lately, I have picked up the annoying little habit of forgetting to plug in.  So I decided to experiment yesterday when I only had 35% state of charge when I began the day—can I survive my day on 35%?

I had a little extra distance to travel because I had meetings in various places.  I was not going to make it without some charging along the way, and some highly efficient driving too (which is not my strong suit).

The first leg of my trip took me from Corona to Riverside, a distance of about 16 miles all on surface streets.  I usually burn up 20% to 25% of my battery making this drive when not trying to be efficient.  Instead, I hunkered down, kept the accelerations slow and steady and stopped well in advance to collect as much regeneration power as possible.  I made it using only 17% of juice—leaving me with 18% of battery in the tank.

The next leg of my trip would take me from Riverside to Ontario, a distance of about 22 miles.  18% wasn’t going to cut it, but I know all the EVSE’s in downtown Riverside so I juiced up during my meeting.  After about an hour and 20 minutes I was back up to 45% state of charge—more than I had hoped for.

I hit the road, mostly freeway travel this time, and paced a few big rigs along the way to increase efficiency—and increase the risk of a rock chip in my windshield.  Upon arrival in Ontario, I had 28% state of charge left—meaning I used 17% of my battery on this leg of the trip also.  Luckily this stretch of freeway is mostly flat and the day had warmed up.  Combined with a little drifting behind big rigs, it really boosted the efficiency.

Time for lunch and another 6% to 7% drain.  I tried charging at my usual lunch spot, but two Chevy Volts ruined that plan.  So I plugged in at Kohl’s across the street.  The problem is that I don’t really like to shop.  So what to do while the car charges?  Wait…and wait…and wait.  After what felt like an hour, but in actuality was only 15 minutes, I had to get back to the office.  My state of charge was back to 28%.

Finally, time to go home, Ontario back to Norco, about 15 miles, all freeway.  Usually I can burn up 25% making this drive when I am carefree.  But a Friday night commute in Southern California saved the day because of the excessive stop and go (charge and go) traffic.  I made it home with 16% state of charge—meaning I used 12% of the battery on the way home, a personal record.

While it’s never enjoyable to start the day with a drained battery, it is possible to survive.   If you know where EVSE’s are located, and you know how to squeeze out the efficiency when needed, you can survive at 35…percent.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Clear Sailing in the Carpool Lane

I spend a good deal of time driving on the freeway in Southern California--as many of us do.  And I really enjoy occupying the carpool lane whenever it is available.  Funny how a little lane change can brighten your day.

Unfortunately, the car pool lane is not all wine and roses--there are some unwritten rules.  In california, people seem to believe that the carpool lane has an unlimited speed limit.  So if traffic is moving along at 75 or 80 in the regular lanes, then the cars in the carpool lanes have to be going faster than that.  That's a problem when trying to drive the ActiveE efficiently--anything over 70 is not efficient.

Also, people seem to think you can enter or exit the carpool lane whenever you like.  However, crossing the double yellow line to get into or out of the carpool lane prematurely is a moving violation--complete with points on your license.  As opposed to driving in the carpool lane with only one occupant (for cars without our lovely white stickers), which is a civil fine but not a moving violation so no points.

The point is, you have to choose wisely.  It is great to be able to enter carpool land, but not so great to be pushed down the freeway by an impatient driver while trying to maintain an efficient speed.  But on days when the regular lanes are stopped, or nearly stopped, then its clear sailing in the carpool lane.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Mystery of Miles per Gallon Electric MPGe

What does gasoline, Kilowatts, and British thermal units have in common?   They all are used to determine miles per gallon electric (MPGe)--whatever that means.

MPGe was devised by the EPA to explain the level of efficiency electric cars have to the motoring public.   We have become accustomed to miles per gallon (MPG) being the universal standard of efficiency as listed on the window of every new car. But the efficiency rating of EV's doesn't naturally translate into MPG because there are no gallons of anything being consumed per mile.

Once you drive an EV, you get used to the term of miles per kilowatt hour (Mls/kWh).  For example, in my ActiveE I commonly achieve 3.2 Mls/kWh.  Whereas someone else may achieve 4.0 Mls/kWh, which tells me they're a far more efficient driver.

But Mls/kWh doesn't have a universal meaning outside the EV world, so MPGe was invented instead.  I find MPGe to be a confusing standard, but here goes with an explanation: it starts with a gallon of gasoline, which when burned generates 115,000 British thermal units of heat.  If using electricity, it would take 34 kWh to produce the same amount of heat.  So one gallon of gas equals 34 kWh in terms of the energy generated.  The EPA then determines how far an EV can travel on 34 kWh under differing conditions and that distance is reported as MPGe.

The problem with this conversion is that not every EV has a 34 kWh battery.  The ActiveE has a 32 kWh battery and an MPGe of 102, but its range isn't always 102 miles on a single charge (although the BMW is probably closest to the 34 kWh mark).  Other EV's (aside from Tesla) range from a low of 16 kWh in the Volt to around 24 kWh in the Leaf.  So the MPGe reported for those cars is not the distance they can travel on a single charge, but rather the distance they could travel over multiple charges until using 34 kWh.  The Chevy volt for example is reported at 98 MPGe, but it can only travel about 35 to 38 miles on pure electric on a single charge.  The Honda Fit EV has an MPGe of 118, but has a range of 80 miles or less on pure electric.

Also, while a gallon of gas may cost less than a "gallon" (or 34 kWh) of electricity--it doesn't last nearly as long.  A gallon of gas in Southern California may cost $4.00 to $4.50 on any given day, whereas a typical kWh when purchased through Southern California Edison costs between 16 to 25 cents, making a "gallon" of electricity (34 kWh) cost $5.44 to $8.50.  It sounds higher, but not when you consider how far each gallon will take you.

Since EV's are far more efficient with the energy they use, a "gallon" of electricity goes a long way.  In a gas-powered car, a single gallon will allow you to travel about 25 miles.  In contrast, a "gallon" of electricity will take you 100 miles or more.  So $5.44 in electricity is roughly the same as four gallons of gas, or $16.00 in gas costs.  Why aren't they the same?  Because MPGe only measures the amount of energy generated by gas versus electricity.  It does not measure the cost of each energy source when put into practical use driving down the road.

Is MPGe a helpful measure?  Not entirely once you know the right questions to ask about EV's.  But it does look impressive to have 100 or more MPGe on the window of every new EV and hopefully it helps the gas-driving public understand just how powerfully efficient EV's can be.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pure Energy--The First 6 Months of EV Bliss

November marks my six-month anniversary with my Active E.  I love this car!  And I have learned how to drive electric--really not that hard.  Best of all, I think BMW is doing EV's the right way.

Love at first sight!
The Right Stuff

For example I drove the Ford Focus EV and found it to be a nice EV, but not great. Unlike my ActiveE there was no regenerative breaking engaged when releasing the accelerator.  Why not?  I was told by the Ford representative that they want the Focus EV to drive like a "regular" car.  Bad answer.  EV’s are NOT regular cars. They are way better than gas powered jalopies, and EV’s should be considered the new “regular.”  When a car offers something better, use it.  Don't do away with it. 

This is where BMW has gotten it right.  By using the characteristics of electric driving to the best advantage possible, the car is a joy to drive.  It can literally be controlled with just one pedal most of the time.  It has the strongest regenerative breaking that I have experienced so far and it’s a great attribute when driving.

Creepy EV’s

And BMW did NOT build in any creep into their vehicle.  Creep is what an automatic gas car does when in drive, slowly moving forward on its own volition.  EVs don't creep by nature because when the car is stopped nothing's moving.  Unlike a gas car where the engine keeps whirling around when stopped.  

So if an EV doesn’t creep why add it artificially?  Because it makes it feel more like a "regular" car?  Bad answer. Don't do that.  Let EVs be great for all the right reasons, there's no need to dumb down these cars to make them feel “regular.”  Especially since the motoring public is not stupid (hear that car manufacturers), we get when something is new, different and better.  Just drive the Active E once and you'll get it instantly, it's better to drive.

Efficient and Rage Anxiety

Charging Not a Problem
Range anxiety has largely left my conscious mind.  After driving for just 6 months I have gotten accustomed to how far I can go and how I need to drive to get there.  And I know that I can squeeze a little distance just by changing my driving habits. I've learned how to change too. It's really not that hard.  I have never ran out of juice or been stranded anywhere.

Yet, range is the number one reason why people say they are reluctant to try an EV.  Range is a false concern because it can be easily managed--especially with the installation of new charging units all over town.  Although, most of the time, I don’t need to charge away from home.  But when I do, chargers are widely available. 
Charging still not a problem

I like that BMW went with a range of between 80 to 100 miles.  It is just right for me.  Of course, 200 miles would be nice, but it’s rarely necessary.  In talking to a few Nissan Leaf owners, their range of about 75 miles (or a little less) is hard to live with.  The extra 20 to 25 miles that I get in my E makes a big difference and allows me to travel even beyond 100 miles when I charge during stops in my day. 

Charging some more

Too Sexy for my Circuit Graphics

Plug me in!!
BMW built a good looking EV.  Whether you like or hate the funky circuit graphics on the side (I’ve grown to like it), the car looks unlike an other EV out there!  And when I have had the opportunity to show it off at the National Plug-in Day event in Temecula, CA or the Alternative Fuels Expo in Riverside, CA, people stop and take notice of a good looking EV.  I like that I don’t have to drive a car that looks like an egg, or a shoe, or a dinner roll.  This looks like a sporty BMW.  EV’s can be great to drive and great to look at too.

No Gas, Mo Money

In six months I have a little over 8,000 miles on the E’s odometer.  In my gas guzzling GMC Yukon (that gets 15 MPG—or maybe less when I’m driving it) that would translate into 533 gallons of liquid gold in six months.  At an average of $4.25 per gallon (which again is being generous) that equals $2,265.25, or $377.54 per month in wasted money.

Driving the ActiveE for 8,000 miles I spent…let’s see…carry the one…NOTHING.  Since I have a home solar array I generate far more power than the E can consume.  However, even if I was sipping electrons from Southern California Edison, it would average somewhere between $50 to $75 per month—far lower than $377.54.  

Considering the E’s monthly lease payment is $499, I’m getting $377.54 of that back in gas savings, for a net monthly cost of $121.46.  Cheapest BMW I’ve ever owned!

Not to mention I have yet to do an oil change, injector flush, use a fuel additive, replace spark plugs, you get the idea.  The maintenance is far less cumbersome than an ICE’d vehicle.  In fact, it’s largely nonexistent. 

That brings me to my final topic: why are you waiting?

Why Are You Waiting???????

I know the ActiveE is not generally available to the public yet, but when BMW does release its full production BMW i3, why wait to get one?  The benefits of driving electric outweigh a gas car in every way.  Wait did I say every way?  Yes I did, and I mean it wholeheartedly.  EV’s drive better, feel better, have more power, are more confortable and take less gas…as in NO GAS.  I never have to stop at a crowded, noisy, dirty, expensive gas station.  My “refueling” occurs in the comfort and quiet of my own garage.

I can safely say that I will never drive an ICE’d vehicle again, if I can help it.  And the costs of owning an EV reduces the overall cost of ownership so drastically that it actually pays to drive electric.  It’s a “no-brainer” all the way around—a better car that costs less overall! 

What are you waiting for; it’s time to charge up!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The E Keeper: Master Guardian of the ActiveE.

In my home we have an ActiveE Guardian, an E Master, the "E Keeper"... my 13 year old son.  The "E Keeper" is a friend and guardian to ActiveE's everywhere.  While I am very particular when it comes to the condition, both exterior and interior, of my cars, I can't come close to the E Keeper's keen eye for detail.  The E Keeper watches over the ActiveE like a momma bear to her cubs.  It is sacred territory, especially the interior, and there are some definite rules you must follow when riding with the E Keeper.

For example, no feet on the seat.  It doesn't matter whether you're wearing shoes or just socks, or barefoot.  The seats are made of beautiful white leather, and the E Keeper will do all in his power to keep it that way.
The E Keeper keeps 'em white

Also, no eating, drinking, sneezing, coughing, spitting, or "spraying it" rather than "saying it."  The E Keeper does allow us drinks that are in closed containers with straws, but he keeps a watchful eye to ensure no cup is tipped too far. Shoes must be scrapped and cleaned before entering the vehicle, and hands must be washed and dried.

While the E Keeper annoys all passengers, I can't help but smile and enjoy the extra level of protection the E Keeper affords my ActiveE.  And while the passengers beg me to call off the E Keeper, I simply shrug and say "There's nothing I can do, the E Keeper takes no orders from me--he answers to a higher authority."

The ActiveE is safe and sound so long as the E Keeper is around.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Alternative Fuels Expo in Downtown Riverside, CA

The E and I attended the alternative fuel expo in Riverside, CA today where they exhibited a number of different alternative fuel vehicle.  There were electric vehicles, CNG, hydrogen electric, and plain old one diesel Volkswagen.

Among the electrics were a Honda Fit EV (driven by Chuck who I met at the Temecula plug-in day event) a Nissan Leaf, two Codas, a Chevy Volt, a Toyota Rav4 Hydrogen electric vehicle, and two BMW Active E's.

Me and my shadow E

Nissan Leaf, Honda Civic CNG, Hyundai hybrid, VW TDI

Chuck's Honda Fit EV and two Codas

Showing off
Chuck was nice enough to let me test drive the Honda Fit EV.  It's very impressive.  A small car, but with plenty of room, including a back seat that holds 3 passengers.  It has all the upgrades, including navigation, heated seats and a back-up camera.  And it can go.  In fact, when in sport mode, the Fit EV has acceleration that rivals the Active E.  The only noticeable difference is that the Fit is front-wheel drive as opposed to the rear-wheel drive Active E.  And there's quite a bit less regenerative braking when taking your foot off the accelerator.  But all in all, a truly exceptional EV.

There were also a couple of hybrid vehicles, including a Ford C-Max hybrid and Hyundai hybrid, and a Honda Civic compressed natural gas vehicle.

We had a good turn out and talked to passerby's about the joys of driving electric.  The BMWs were, as always, a big hit and people loved looking and learning about BMW's EV program.

Saying goodbye to my twin Active E

Efficiency is Not so Easy for Me in the E.

Me and driving efficacy have a rocky relationship.  In Facebook lingo: "it's complicated."  The problem is that I have no interest whatsoever in being efficient.  And efficiency has no patience for my aggressive driving style.  So most of the time we just agree to disagree.

But every now and again I need to be efficient to get where I want to go in the Active E.  I have been driving more lately, and even having to make some unexpected trips.  Learning to be efficient so that I can drive as far as possible on a charge is a necessary evil.

For example, the other day I had to drive from my house in Corona to my office in Temecula (40 miles).  It usually takes me about 50% of my battery power to make that drive without being all that efficient.  And Temecula has free public chargers a block and a half from my office, so all is well once I am there.  The problem is that the E has a little trouble getting along with Clipper Creek chargers on hot days.  That means that the car will detect a fault and stop charging before it is full.  On this particular day, I was only able to charge back to abut 74% rather than 100%.

I then needed to drive from Temecula to my office in Ontario (about 56 miles), drive a bit more for lunch and then drive back home.  All told, the day would take another 82 miles to complete and I usually don't drive with an 82 mile range in mind even with 100% charge much less starting at 74%.

Time to see just how close me and efficiency can get when needed.  I hit the road from Temecula and rather than traveling at 70 mph (which is my idea of being efficient), I slowed down to 60, found a diesel and a nice big, box trailer (one that didn't kick rocks in my face) and settled in for the drive.  To my surprise I traveled the 56 miles from Temecula to Ontario using only 45% on my battery.  45%!!  That's astounding considering I usually use 50% to travel 40 miles.  Using 45% to travel 56 miles was a real accomplishment for me.  I had plenty of power left over to drive around and then go home.

The bottom line is that if you want to be more efficient...slow down.  70 is good, but 60 is fantastic.  The other point is that I can vary my driving habits.  So I might drive with fun in the morning, but if I have an unexpected trip to make, I can simply drive more conservatively and wring out the range for a longer haul.  Most of the time, I can just find a charger so it makes little difference how I drive.

Maybe Efficiency and I will make it after all...

Charge and Go Traffic

I was stuck in some pretty bad "charge and go" traffic the other day.  You haven't heard it referred to as charge and go traffic?  Perhaps stop and go traffic is more common.  But stop and go traffic presumes that you are in a car where you first use the gas pedal to go and then use the brake pedal to stop.  That's not the case in the Active E.

In the E, you simply hit the power pedal to go and then take the pressure off the pedal to stop.  As the regenerative power system kicks in, it slow the car and charges the battery at the same time.  This means that I can control the speed of the car, all the way to a complete stop, using just one pedal.  And I get the satisfaction of knowing that I am regaining power every time I slow down.  So "stop and go" traffic becomes "charge and go" traffic, which I don't mind in the least.

Funny how a little game changer like regenerative braking can make the worst part of driving far more palatable...even enjoyable.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Dirty Truth of Clean Air Vehicle Parking...

My new favorite restaurant is the Lazy Dog Cafe in Ontario, CA, just across from Ontario Mills Mall.  Why is it my favorite?  Is it the great food, friendly service, cool ambiance? the clean air vehicle reserved spots.

They have quite a few of these spots, 6 or 7 of them.  And yet, there seems to be a general misunderstanding as to the type of vehicle that qualifies as a "clean air vehicle."  I know my Active E qualifies to park there because it says "Clean Air Vehicle" on my carpool-lane-access sticker.  But the other cars may be a bit of a stretch.

Which of these cars do not belong...all of them (except my E of course)

The mini-van is white, like my Active E, but not clean air.  Same for the truck and the silver car on the other side of the white truck.  The Toyota Prius parked three spaces down is a hybrid (good), but not clean air because hybrids still burn fuel as they go.

Am I sounding like an EV snob again?  Well you don't have to read too many of my posts to know I am an EV snob.  And I love to take advantage of every special perk that comes with my gas-free car--such as special parking spaces.  I'm not really mad that these spaces are ICE'd by gas guzzlers.  The bigger disappointment is that we don't have enough clean air vehicles to fill these spots.  On most days, even if not ICE'd, these spots would see few inhabitants other than my little E.

Proof positive that the E is clean air--in fact it admits no air at all (clean or otherwise)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

National Plug-In Day, Temecula, CA

Took the Active E to the National Plug-in Day event in Temecula, California.  It was a nice turn out of EV's on a hot day in a cool part of town--Old Town Front Street section of Temecula.

My E joined the ranks of many Nissan Leafs, a couple of Toyota Prius plug-ins, a few more Chevy Volts, and one Honda Fit EV.  The Fit EV was exciting to see just because they are so rare--even more rare than the Active E.

"Wattsnn" a nice looking black Nissan Leaf

My E among friends

Test drive anyone?
A rare Honda Fit EV sighting--love the blue

We even drew the attention of the local firefighters who checked out the cars and tried to determine how they would handle an emergency situations involving the various electric cars that were present.  One of the Leaf drivers gave them a demonstration of how the cars operate and should be shut down in the event of a crash.

Always getting attention.

Must have something interesting in the trunk???

The event was reported in The Californian as Temecula's first ever electric vehicle expo.  Overall, it was a rather small event, but we talked to quite a few people and sang the praises of driving electric.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

No Junk in My Frunk

This is the trunk of the ActiveE.  Not at all roomy, but still technically has storage space. 

This is what's under the hood--both with and without the front cover.

This open space where the gas engine would reside in an ICE'd vehicle is now being converted by most EV's into an extra storage space.  Not so on the E, but will be so on the next generation BMW EV, the i3.  
The current trend is to call this front storage area a "frunk"--mutilating the words "front" and "trunk" in the process.  I hate the term "frunk."  It makes me cringe every time I hear it.  Just because the rear storage is called a trunk does not mean that we need to reference the front storage area by making up a hideous new word.

Besides, there's many car parts with names having nothing to do with their functionality.

For example, the storage space located on the passenger side of most cars is called a "glove box," but when was the last time anyone put gloves in there.  My sweet, old (98 years old) great-aunt once gave me a fabulous pair of white, leather driving gloves, and I never put those in any "glove box."  Of course, I don't put them on my hands either.  Although...white, leather driving gloves may match the E's white leather seats nicely:

"Honey, where's my cane and top hat?"

No, no, never mind.  The point is, a box for gloves it's not.

And the rear storage is called a "trunk," but there hasn't been trunks on the back of cars for nearly a century.  This isn't a classic Duesenberg, it's a modern BMW and that rear storage is no trunk.  (In the case of the ActiveE, it's no storage either, but that's the subject of a different rant.)

There's also two-word terms that we don't combine.  A "steering wheel" is not a "swheel."  And the "turn signal" is not called a "turgnal."

The solution is to either create a completely new name or stick with the full-on descriptive term "front trunk."  Personally I vote for the new term "Hood Hide-y."  But I'm open to suggestions.  Just don't be putting junk in my frunk.

The ActiveE's "trunk"--plenty of space for a pair of gloves

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lone Wolf-E: The relaxing benefits of slow.

As much as I hate going slow in my ActiveE (meaning 70 on the freeway) there's times when efficiency is required to go the extra mile.  Surprisingly, my wife doesn't like me driving slower than the speed of traffic because she thinks it gives the car a bad impression--"I want people to know what this thing can do!" she says.

All clear once this rat pack races ahead
Of course, there are plenty of times when I show just what the car can do, which gives my E a bad impression for different reasons.  But on days where I need to stretch every mile, traveling over 70 mph is a real battery drain.  So I hunker down and set the cruise control at 70 on the dot.

I never knew what happened when a car travels at a fixed speed of 70 miles per hour on a wide-open stretch of California freeway.  It gets lonely.

In fact, when I set cruise control at 70 or so (and pull into the far right lane--not trying to make a statement, just want to be efficient) all the surrounding traffic charges on and leaves me alone.  Every 10 minutes or so another knot of speeding cars catches up and passes, and then its quite once again.  This wave of moving metal continues for the entire trip, leaving me driving lone wolf style for most of the trip.

Wide open behind too
It is quite relaxing to be humming along (and the E barely even hums)  without a care in the world or a car by my side.  Another hidden benefit to being efficient.

EV Friendly Sports Authority

I shop where I charge.  That's my moto, and should be the moto of every EV loving driver to help encourage retail stores to install more EVSE units.

Check out this nice little EVSE installation outside Sports Authority at Ontario Mills Mall, in Ontario, California.  Sports Authority is located just down from the AMC movie theater.  These two units are right up front.  Close to the mall, the movies, and many eateries.  The best part is that these two units are FREE and do not require any type of card or payment to activate.  Just park and plug.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It Pays to be Green!

As of September 6, 2012, I have logged 5,185 gas-free miles in my ActiveE.  Actually, 400 of those miles were driven by any number of strangers before I took delivery of the car.  That leaves me with 4,785 gas free miles from mid May to now.

Had I driven those same miles in my GMC Yukon, which gets around 15 mpg when I'm driving it, I would have used 319 gallons of gas.  At an average of $4.25 per gallon, that comes to a whopping $1,355.75 over three and a half months.  Or $387 per month that I am not spending on gasoline.

If I subtract the $387 I am saving per month against the E's monthly lease payment of around $538 (with taxes), that leaves me with a net monthly car payment of about $150.  Not bad for a BMW.

What does it cost me to charge my E at home you ask?  Nothing because I have solar power.    I am credited with .54 cents per kWh during the day for the solar power I produce, but I only use power at around .15 cents per kWh by charging the E between midnight and 6:00 a.m.   So I can charge the E and have some power left over to offset my home utility usage.

It really does pay to be green.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Good...And Bad...Vibrations.

The Active E is smooth, as in groovy smoothy.  It has very little vibrations because there is no gas engine whirling around under the hood.  The only noticeable vibration is from the road, which is slight most of the time.  So a smooth ride in the E is a sign of all systems go.  But when a vibration creeps in, that's a sign of something not so go.

Last week I pickup up a hitchhiker in my front left tire--a rather large screw.

In hindsight, I knew exactly when I picked up the screw because I felt a noticeable vibration coming from the front left part of the car.  I checked the tire sensors and nothing was amiss so I brushed it off as excess vibration from the road--it was a rough bit of asphalt.  When I stopped the car I couldn't find anything (the screw was on the inside part of the tire--very hard to see).  So I did what you shouldn't do with a screwball tire, I drove home on the freeway.

The screw held tight, and so did the vibration, so I checked again.  Sure enough I found the unwanted passenger lodged deeply in the tire.  The tire didn't lose pressure until the next morning--so apparently there was a slow leak.  A quick trip to the tire store, the tire was patched and put back in service (whew--no new tire needed).

The interesting point in all of this is that driving a car that is groovy smoothy allows you to notice almost immediately when something is amiss.  In a gas-powered car I would not have felt the difference in vibration coming from the tire, most likely, because the car has so many of its own vibrations.  My only problem is that I ignored the vibration.

Now if only I can pay attention to my feelings....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back in Good Graces: Return of the E

I'm glad to say that I have my E back.  It went in for service last week, which now requires that they pull the back end out of the car in order to check the motor and transmission.  There was a "crease" running down the entire length of the battery cover underneath the car--apparently I had hit something.  Actually, I went into a peaked driveway and it scraped pretty good.

Anyway, the car was sent to Oxnard, CA for a full inspection.  It passed the test, whatever that was.  There was no damage to the battery--just a quick bit of touch-up paint to the undercarriage to be sure it didn't rust where the paint had been scraped off.

I got it made in the shade now that my E is back
Now the E is safely back in my garage.  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder...and I really love being back in my electric driving seat.  The car feels faster, smells fresher, runs smoother, even the a/c cools the car faster than ever before.  O.k., it's all probably the same, but it feels like a marked improvement over my ICE loaner.  Plus, I no longer have to stop at gas stations!!  Welcome home.