Sirius radio tips… or… things to make the commute easier…

Hi all.

Been traveling this week, so I’ve been away from my ActiveE. I did take a few hours on Wednesday, in between flights to take the car out of “free” parking at LAX lot 6.  So far, saved $68 for parking at LAX (1 $3 stay and the second a $65 stay.)

For those that don’t know. One of the side benefits to driving a fully electric car is LAX offers parking in two lots at the airport at no cost (Lot 1 and Lot 6). Additionally, charging is free. As of Wednesday, April 18, 2012. They were still the old style L2 chargers, BUT as I was leaving on my flight out that day, workmen were replacing a good number of these pictured to new Clipper Creek L2 chargers. (Lot 6 is pictured, ’cause I fly mainly United and American).


I’ll post an update later with pics of the new chargers if their upgraded when I get back to LAX tonight… (writing this blog entry in the air between NYC and LA).

As cool as those benefits are, I started writing this post to demonstrate some cool Sirius tips.

Tip 1 – Timeshifting of Sirius Radio –

Take a look at the video below –

It’s kinda cool. I use this feature when I listen to talk radio and I miss what was said…

Or, if you have music that you want to keep playing over and over.

Tip 2 – Favorites lists…

One of the nice things about Satellite radio is you can keep favorites lists so that if something you like is playing, it’ll pop up for you. I like to listen to NBA games while I drive home, so… I made a favorite for it. Additionally, I keep track of home teams, so I added the LA Kings as well. Just in case.

Of course… You have to start in Satellite Radio…


If you’re not on a channel that has your favorites on it, move the iDrive control to the left and then select favorites, and the items that are tagged with your favorites will pop up.


These icons on the left pop up, when you move to the left.


Once you select the favorites menu, then all these that match your favorites will pop up


You can then listen to whatever game or program you’re interested in…

Now, to STORE your favorites, you get that by going deeper into the program selected…

Here is what it looks like when you expand the selection –


You could select to store the channel (as indicated in the top portion) or select the various categories that are provided (as indicated in the second portion).

I selected and stored the NBA below.


Now, I repeated the process to store the LA Kings…



So, now that we’ve stored the NBA and LA Kings as favorites, the choices look like the following:


Needless to say. The included one year of satellite radio provides us with very good entertainment options during long commute home. Especially when traffic forces us to drive more “efficiently”…

Hello fellow ActiveE driver (Electronaut in BMW Parlance)

It’s always a thrill spotting another ActiveE on the road…

After dropping off the better half at her office, I was heading to Glendale, and lo and behold another ActiveE in front of me at Venice and National waiting for the light to change.

I got their attention and did a friendly wave…Not quite the recommended one on the BMW forums – How to greet fellow ActiveE Electronauts… proposed, South Park Style

Needless to say, our small community of BMW drivers are not quite the A**H#&$ BMW drivers that are out there.

They rode with me on the 10 Freeway toward downtown until they exited somewhere before the 10-110 interchange…  It was nice riding with you SM License Frame AE driver and passenger!

BMW ActiveE features – MAP access and Text to Voice Email

A quick how-to video on accessing the Text to Speech functions on the BMW ActiveE.  This uses the Bluetooth MAP (Message Access Profile (had to look this one up, I thought it was Protocol) –

My wife’s BlackBerry Pearl 8100 does not support MAP, so no access to text to speech functions.

Via Flickr:This is a How-to video on how to access the text-to-speech functions of the 2011 BMW ActiveE.  It was run between my BlackBerry Bold 9900 and my BMW ActiveE

[Update September 9, 2012 – for Apple iPhone users, iOS 6.0 supports MAP integration now, check to see if you can use it by upgrading and enabling it.  I will post this once I upgrade my wife’s iPhone 4 to iOS 6.0.  Here is my update on this.]

Back of the napkin math of last night’s fill-up of 328i vs. cost of ActiveE

After having read yesterday’s post.

One of my cousins asked me how much it would cost to fill up the new car and go 407 miles… (of course going this far would require at LEAST 4-5 charges of the car since the range is 100 miles…  Though, as aggresively as I drive, I’m closer to 80 miles)

Here’s the back of the napkin math. The fill up yesterday was super unleaded at $4.279 per gallon, filled up with 14.022 gallons for a total of $60.00. The range says 407 miles, since I zero out the odometer after each fill up, I know I did 322.6 miles since the last fill up. This is about 1 gallon of gas more than the last fill up (13.077 gallons previously).

So, I figure that my cost per mile (using Super Unleaded) is approx $0.1860 per mile.

On the ActiveE, I’m heavily subsidized… I fill up at many locations where the electricity AND parking is free, the only place it costs to fill up is at home. I do about 35 miles each way to/from work and I charge for free 3/4 of a mile from the office, assuming 10 kWh of energy at home that I fill up and pay for on the average (some fill ups more, some less) to get me to full. Last month I was on the Domestic Tariff for Electricity, which tops off at $0.31 per kWh, so that’s $3.10 per day of fill up, 10kWh is about 1 day in 70 miles roundtrip…

So my electric cost per mile last month is approximately $0.0443 per mile.

So, 407 miles would run $18.03 vs. $60.00 on the 328i… or 1/3rd the cost of a smaller recent 3 series BMW… Numbers look even better versus an X5, but that’s just ridiculous.

The other question he emailed me was to compare it versus a Hybrid. Luckily, I have one of those too. (again, not an environmentalist, it gave me MANY years of carpool access until the privilege was repealed July 1, 2011).  My cost per gallon on my civic right now is $4.109 (educated guess, (not sure what it is right now, haven’t filled up the hybrid since I went electric)) per gallon, 407 miles would probably be 10 gallons (doing average 40-41 mpg), so at $4.109 per gallon That’s $41.09 for 10 gallons and for  407 miles,  that’s $0.1009 per mile, when gas prices go down, the difference between hybrid and electric gets lower and the convenience of gas stations really kicks the butt of having to find EVSE charging stations..

Side note (updated 5/11/12), I have migrated to a Time of Use tariff that drops my cost per kWh to between $0.10 to $0.16 per kWh (depending on Tier 1 or Tier 2 of usage). So, this month’s cost is $0.01412 per mile.

Costco Gas Line

Costco Gas line 2 by dennis_p
Costco Gas line 2, a photo by dennis_p on Flickr.

Spent 10 minutes at the Costco Gas line today. One would think that I would be espousing the convenience of home fueling, etc. as an EV convert during this rant. However, that’s not the purpose of today’s post. It’s really looking at the fact that even with the inconvenience of a long wait to fill up, it’s still more convenient than my EVSE at home and the one 3/4 of a mile away from my work.

Considering that I got a a full tank of 407 miles of range. Gas cars are STILL so much more convenient.

On Easter Sunday, I did a drive that required me to stop at a Level 2 EVSE along the way between two of my destinations and it took 30 minutes at L2 to get enough charge for me to feel comfortable to continue on.  Luckily Stop 2 had L2 EVSE’s 0.7 miles away that I could use to get enough charge to get home… eventually.

L2 is a nice to have (for now), but really, a standard charger that can get a car full in 3-5 minutes should be the goal.  Even the upcoming “Fast” chargers at 30 minutes are still too long.

ICE – EV Parking counterattack

After 45 days of entering the world of EV drivers, folks have been discussing the challenges of finding EV Parking spots by public chargers.ICE or Internal Combustion Engine cars are often found by others in the EV spots taking up valuable space to get the charge needed to ensure that there is enough range to get to the next destination.

On Friday, at the Helms Bakery location in Culver City, I found this Leaf doing its best job assisting other EV Drivers use the EV only spot on the other side of the chargers. I like to propose that we follow his example of an ICE-EV Parking Counterattack.

There are enough ICE spots, by taking an adjacent ICE spot for EV charging, we can ensure that there is a counterbalance to the ICE problems that others have.

On a side note… I heard the funniest thing while I was sitting in my car reading and charging on this occasion… As I was getting a top up at Helms Bakery, A young guy asked me “Excuse me sir, do you happen to know where the nearest gas station is?” Needless to say, I was a little dumbfounded, but recovered quick enough to respond that I was probably the wrong person to ask and offered to look it up on the Navigation system for him.

Blog Day One, ActiveE Day 43

Finally decided to bite the bullet and jump in and start blogging about the ActiveE lifestyle..

I guess the biggest thing that I found out after 6 weeks of living with an All Electric ActiveE BMW is that the range is really unlimited, as long as you have ACCESS to charge AND the TIME to charge.

So far

Needless to say, I’m not really environmental. More mental than anything else.
I’ll be posting more eventually, but really this might just end up like my other cobwebsite (