50,000 Active E miles and a Happy New Year

Yes!  The current acquisition of an astromech droid made me think of the run on the Death Star on Star Wars…  (Episode 4, A New Hope for you young ones!)

I was thinking…

Almost there…


Almost there…


Then…  Woohoo!


before returning to base and parking…


50,000 miles of BMW Electric driving…  There have been others that have driven more combined with their Mini Es…  There’s been exactly one guy who has driven more Active E miles…  So, I would think that with less than two months left before the Active E goes back to BMW.  It’s time to really concede the Active E crown to Tom!

As I mentioned when Active E #1 suffered its crash, perhaps my goal would be to tie or come in one mile short of his 53,683….  With the amount of Tesla driving we’ve been doing lately…  That might just be the goal.

Happy New Year!  And may you find yourself electrified and enjoying it!

End of year and EV tax credits…


One of the negatives of the end of year is that a lot of folks who have procrastinated are trying to fit as much stuff in before the new year hits.

One of the things that affect Tesla owners during this time of year is the probability of being provided a nice P85 Tesla Model S for a loaner is less than at other times of the year.  Why is that?  Well.  Tesla has provided the top of the line Model S for its loaner fleet in the explanation that they did not want any Tesla customer to be deprived of a vehicle that is less capable than the vehicle that they bought from Tesla.  (of course the car they do provide is limited to 80 mph, but that’s a small point.)  As a result, when the Roadster or Model S is in service, I have gotten a P85 loaner vehicle from Tesla.

However, the last time I’ve had service done on my Model S, I was provided with an Enterprise Rental Car ICE Chrysler 200 or was it a Chrysler 300.  Either way, it was no Model S.  Now this was expected as we’re nearing the end of the year and Tesla makes its loaner fleet available for near immediate purchase from interested parties.  When we finalized our Model S order in the summer, we could’ve picked up something similar to our configuration a week out from the time we finalized.  I was, at the time, complaining about the increase in accessory prices and my contacts at the Tesla store in Costa Mesa could have provided a loaner purchase at a discount.  Additionally, to cover the mileage that the loaner vehicles would’ve endured, Tesla credits so many cents per mile from the sales price.

We decided against it, and thus I did not get the vehicle.

Surprisingly, since Tesla is the manufacturer of said vehicles and the loaner fleet have manufacturer tags, they are all eligible for the new purchase benefits.  These benefits are the Federal Tax Credit and whatever State incentives you may be eligible for.  (in California, this is a rebate for $2,500 for the purchase of a pure Battery Electric Vehicle of a certain kwh capacity.)

So, back to the procrastinators and Tesla’s loaner fleet.  People that want the full tax incentives and obviously won’t have their vehicles built and delivered by 12/31 still have an option to get into a Tesla and get the benefits due to a new EV purchaser.

On a different note, other tax credits are set to expire this year.  Namely the installation of an EV charging station.  In the past, it would seem that Congress would renew the $1,000 residential credit for installing an EV charging station in one’s home.  This year, apparently they did not extend this and as a result, if you, dear US based reader, are planning on purchasing an EV soon and need to install a charging station anyway, go ahead and do so prior to December 31, 2013.  You may be eligible to have up to $1,000 credited back to you.   If you’re a COMMERCIAL location, the credit is even more generous.  It is 30% of the costs up to $30,000.  However, it is now December 19, 2013 and seeing that commercial locations tend to get bogged down by such things as building permits, etc. I wonder how probable it would be to install these things by the end of 2013.

It suc*s not to have SOC!

Pardon my pseudo censored profanity…  But it really does suc*s not to have SOC (State of Charge).

An interesting counterpoint was published last week about the i3’s revolutionary and extremely accurate guesstimator on Insideevs.com that was well written and argues very well.  However, I still don’t buy it.

I want my SOC.  Why?  If the gauge is so accurate AND uses server based calculations to look at terrain, traffic, etc. to come up with a very good prediction of what your range will be.  I understand that the system is revolutionary and as an EVangelist and rEVolutionary I should champion this.  However, you know what they say about “fool-proof” systems and Mr. Murphy and his law…

As much as BMW will do its best to act like the NSA and track my every move and predict how I behave, it’s no skin off their teeth to hide the screens for those of us that still want this capability.  I have dedicated a preset on my Active E just to pull up said SOC (preset six, for those that want to know.) The initial range of the guessometer will be based on how the car was driven the previous X miles (30 or 40 if it uses the same as the Active E).  This will create a nice overlay on the general map of the area to give you the range in Comfort, Eco, and Eco Pro Plus modes.

All fine and dandy.  However, what if my wife was driving the vehicle the prior 30 or 40 miles.  It will predict the range based on HER driving style and not mine.

Additionally, I don’t necessarily drive the same way all the time.  If I know that I need to push the vehicle for range maximization AND if I know that I have to drive very conservatively, I will do so.  Additionally, if I was having fun the previous 30 or 40 miles AND was being very wasteful with my driving style, I don’t need to alarm whoever drives the vehicle after me.  I am sure that there is ample enough room in the i3 software to turn this feature back on to quelch the vocal early adopters of EV technology, such as the 700…  (I feel like the Spartans here…)

This just in… Three i3s are at Pacific BMW in Glendale…

So, a day after publishing my i3 drive

It looks like three of the BMW i3s that were at the Convention Center are now at Pacific BMW in Glendale.

I was charging up my Active E for its daily commute when a truck pulls up with three of the i3s.


I was wondering if they were going to drop one off… Looks like all three are for Pacific BMW. In speaking with some of the staff, it looks like these three will be at the dealership until customers get deliveries of their vehicles next year.





More pictures on the flickr set.

I finally got to drive and ride the BMWi i3 last week…


I’m happy with it. To REX or not to REX that is the question. To i3 or not to i3 is another question and it all depends on what BMWi will do for ActiveE participants financially. Having provided two years of real world testing on the technology AND paying BMW for the right to do so should be worth something.

The i3 is a city car. There are those on the Teslamotorsclub.com forum on the i3 that keep harping on the range and having to refill the REX that are looking at the i3 as an either i3 or a Model S debate and I am not one of those. It will depend on what my day and drive will be like. It’s range will make it ideal for most commutes and the size makes it great to zip in and out of traffic. As much as I really enjoy the Model S, it’s a difficult vehicle for day to day commutes. Those that are used to commuting with vehicles in its size should have no problems. Unfortunately, prior to driving my Active E, I have been using a Honda Civic Hybrid and a 2000 BMW 323CiC prior to that for my daily commute. As a result, I am used to driving vehicles of a certain size. Now, it has been less than a month that I’ve been driving a Model S and I may very well adjust to its size and this will be a non-issue. However, the Model S remains to be a larger vehicle than what I have been used to.

Before making it into the event, I went to park in downtown Los Angeles and had a BMW ActiveE sighting. So, for kicks, I decided to park back-to-back with it.



I will miss seeing these cars on the roads of Southern California. Many of the earlier ones will start to head back to BMW starting in January, unless the Electronut chooses to bridge the Active E’s service until their i3 is delivered.

So… What about the i3?

We’ll take this one…


The interior dash is stunning



The natural wood married with technology is reminiscent of the failed Fisker Karma. It was noted later in the Electronaut event that the wood will darken and richen with age.

Additionally, the i3 is built on a skateboard, akin to the Model S and there is a spot for ladies to put a purse between the driver and passenger.


I tried playing with the infotainment system on the i3, but the ones provided to us did not seem to be working so well. I am sure this is an issue with these specific cars. I will have to check it out at the dealership again.

So, how does it handle?


The course provided to us took us to the parking lot for the LA Coliseum where we took turns making figure eights with the i3. It is fun, quick, and has a nice tight turning radius. Forwards and backwards.

There is space for things in this vehicle.


What is interesting is the cheesy covers for the charging ports…



J1772 open, SAE Quick charge covered


Both open


One of the benefits that the i3 has over the Model S, rear seat cup-holders.


However, the Model S is bigger… Just like its Frunk




So, what is glaring? Apparently the BMW i folks decided that their gussometer is so accurate (taking traffic, changes in elevation, etc.) that they have decided to remove the SOC that has been so prominent in the Active E. I believe that this is a glaring error on their part. This algorithm is very good at predicting using past data that it does not take into account multiple driver families. As often as I am the driver of a particular vehicle, I share all our vehicles with my better half and she drives differently than I do. I use the SOC to calculate for myself whether my aggressive driving style will need to be adjusted during my commute. The guessometer does not take that into consideration. Put the SOC back in and that should fix it. Additionally, use the keys to determine which driver is using the vehicle. The Guessometer should log my driving style for MY keys and log my wife’s driving style for HER key. Just a thought.

Here’s a great panoramic of the i3s in a row.


Hopefully the East Coast Electronaut contingent can get the point across to our BMW i folks.

Aside from the i3 Test Drive fun, it was great to have caught up with the Electronauts and Mini E Pioneers at the event.

After almost two years of being in this program, it is always a pleasant time to hang with these folks. Especially since I don’t spend time with them on Facebook. The top three West Coast mileage leaders were all in the photo and we were missing Mariel Knoll for the top four. Also in the picture is Active E mileage leader Tom Moloughney.