National Plug in Day 2012… Part 2… The Cypress event for Orange County.

Part two of my 2012 Plug In Day experience was down in Cypress.  The Orange County event was held at the Mitsubishi North America headquarters and there was plenty of test drives around.  This was an opportunity to try out the Mitsubishi i (formerly the MiEV) and see their Level 3 ChaDEmo charger in action.

One of the first things that I saw after I parked at the OC event was a Sparrow.  Prior to my ActiveE, I was familiar with the Nissan Leaf, GM EV1, Chevy Volt, the Tesla Roadster and that was pretty much it.  As I waited to be allocated my ActiveE, I started reading up on previous EVs and the Sparrow was one that caught my eye.  It would never be a vehicle I would be getting, but it harkens to some of the trials and tribulations of EV predecessors to the current generation, after all, as George Santayana has written, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

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A Sparrow at OC's National Plug In Day event!

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The Orange County event had more EV conversions than the Los Angeles County event.

A converted Geo Metro –
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A homebuilt 3 wheeler –
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A converted Miata –
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A converted VW Pickup Truck –
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There was some speeches and now Congressman-elect, and former GM EV1 Driver, Allan Lowenthal was there to meet with his constituents.

The Orange County event provided me with the opportunity to test drive the Mitsubishi i (formerly the MiEV) and a Honda Fit EV (from Toan Ngo). I also let a few interested parties test drive my ActiveE.

The Fit EV –
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Here’s a shot of the Mitsubishi i from previous trip to the same site in Cypress –
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In all it was a successful day, filled with EV enthusiasts and curious folks who, hopefully, will become EV enthusiasts.

National Plug in Day 2012… Part 1… The El Segundo event for Los Angeles County.

There just have been too many things going on…

I attended my first National Plug in Day event in September and I had a lot of fun meeting fellow EV enthusiasts and even let a few folks test drive my ActiveE.  I actually attended both the L.A. County and the Orange County event as they were both well within range of my ActiveE.

For the pictures that I snapped at both events, I created a Flickr set to view these in.

The Los Angeles County event was held in El Segundo at the Automobile Driving Museum.  As part of the effort in encouraging ICE drivers to switch to EV, there were test drives provided by various EV drivers (Nissan Leaf, Plug In Prius, and Tesla Roadsters seemed to be participating) and I let the few folks that asked if they can check out my ActiveE have a ride as well.  I met with a few other ActiveE Electronauts and had a good time talking with them.

Here’s a few shots of the line to test drive –

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and another

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Inside the parking lot of the museum were a bunch of other cars including a Tesla Model S.

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To make you feel like you’re there… Here’s a panoramic I shot.

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I planned on being at the event for the first two hours, so things were starting up when I got there. It was a festive scene with a DJ spinning in the back of the parking lot, Several EVs were well represented, including the Volkswagen EV Golf, Nissan Leaf, a new Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi i (formerly MiEV), an ActiveE, Chevy Volt, Plug in Prius, Honda Fit, Fisker Karma, Tesla Roadster, and the rockstar – Tesla Model S. Blink Network was there getting people signed up and giving out some nice black baseball caps. The museum displayed their old EVs as well.

Across the street from the parking lot an Electric Motorcycle setup was provided.

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There was a guy who also converts ICE to EV and he featured his converted Porsche.

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Here’s one of the reasons that we do this… Future EV drivers-

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In all, it was fun, quick trip as I had to make the drive to Part 2 of my day, which would be the Orange County event at the Mitsubishi North American headquarters.

Little Milestones reached today…

19,000 miles and 5 miles per kWh…

Here is 18,999 miles…

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And now 19,000 miles…

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I was parked at AAA Main Office in Downtown LA and used their charger while I did my business. They have you sign in to use their charger and I parked beside Toan’s Fit EV which I have still to write about for my Plug In Day event experience (here’s Part 1, which does NOT include the Fit Experience.) It was interesting to be parked beside someone’s car that I have actually test driven a month or so earlier. So, Toan, if you’re reading this. I accidentally interrupted your charging when I thought that the Aerovironment chargers worked like others (without RFID scan needed), I restarted the charge when I got the guy at AAA’s Smog Center to scan the RFID on both chargers for us!

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It’s a nice ride… I like my ActiveE more, but his car is pretty good as well.

So. After my mid-day charge while I worked, I needed to run a quick errand and went flat for about a mile and change and noticed that I achieved a rate of 5.0 miles per kilowatt hour… This is insane. But I guess when you go between 20-25 mph and use regen to brake it could happen…

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and further proof

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Well, what do you know… Bumper to bumper traffic for about 20 miles after these shots ALSO allowed me to maintain the same rate!

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Charge It! – Great food near public chargers #6 in an ongoing series – Valley Road, Montclair, New Jersey – Nauna’s Bella Casa and ActiveE #1

I still owe you guys my first National Plug In Day experience.  However, to be a little more timely, I figure to update my Charge It! series.

As many of my readers know, I’ve been writing on a series of great restaurants to go to while you charge. Today’s post is a little different. It’s nowhere to be found in the Los Angeles area. It’s in Northern New Jersey, approximately 30 minutes (with no real traffic) from New York city – Nauna’s Bella Casa. No, I didn’t take several weeks to go from Los Angeles to New Jersey to go to lunch with my ActiveE. For this trip, I rented a Nissan Leaf from Hertz on Demand. Hertz car sharing subsidiary which allows members the opportunity to rent either a Nissan Leaf or SmartEV in the New York city area.

Nauna’s Bella Casa can be found at 148 Valley Road, Montclair, New Jersey, 07042.  (973) 744-3232.


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So, what takes me from New York City to Montclair, New Jersey. Frankly, I wanted to meet this guy, Tom Moloughney, aka Mini-E #250 and more importantly to me, Mr. ActiveE #1 and the top mileage leader that I foolishly challenged to try to “catch up” on top mileage use for all of the other ActiveE Electronuts.  As of the writing of this posting (in-flight from JFK to LAX) my ActiveE is waiting for me at LAX Lot 6 with 17,902 and Tom’s listed mileage on wotnogas.com is 27,795…  Needless to say, this is a TOUGH challenge.

Here’s a picture of Tom Moloughney and me in front of Tom’s New Jersey EF-OPEC (AKA Active E #1).

Had a good lunch and great company with fellow @BMWi evangelist @tommolog Nauna's Bella Casa in Montclair NJ

So, how’s the food. It was good, home-style Italian food at a great value. I had the lunch special which was Soup, Entree, soft drink, coffee (or tea, I believe) and dessert for $9.99. As opposed to other posts in this series, I have NO picture of the food. I was too busy enjoying the discussions between Tom and myself on the Active E, EVs, new BMWs, Teslas, Energy Independence, etc.

For my choice of soup, I picked the Pasta Fagioli. There were other choices, but I really like Pasta Fagioli so I had that. For my entree, I went with the Fusilli e Pollo which is the spiral pasta with grilled chicken & spinach. I really enjoyed the Fusilli e Pollo, but since I went out to Nauna’s in Day two of my trip to the East Coast, the meal was biologically breakfast for me, so the portion size was a little larger than I could finish, so I brought the rest to go. I skipped coffee and had ice cream for dessert (chocolate).  The meal was very good and felt home-cooked.

How about the chargers?  Nauna’s has two J1772 chargers, one on Chargepoint and the other on the Blink Network.  If you’re eating here, the charging is gratis, otherwise, the network fees would apply, I believe that the Chargepoint is free, but the Blink is based on your membership plan, so to get that charging at no cost, check in with the restaurant before you plug in.

How did I do getting to Nauna’s.  Well, I picked up the Nissan Leaf (was hoping for a SmartEV, but that will have to be a different post) from Hertz On Demand’s location at 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.   This drive was approximately 20 miles away, but my consumption is closer to 35 miles from the range.  This was my first time driving a Leaf for ANY extended period and I must say that it was not as fun as my Active E, at least it seemed to perform better than the Coda that I test drove a few months ago.

So, if you find yourself anywhere near Montclair, NJ.  Even if it isn’t that near, give Tom a call and see if he’s available and you can enjoy a tasty lunch and have some fun “talking EV and stuff”.  I’ll probably get around to plug in day 2012 (Part 1, Part 2 to follow) and my Hertz on Demand SmartEV rental fiasco.

National Plug in Day… Pre-event planning.

If you were sent here by this month’s BMW Electronaut Newsletter, welcome to my blog.  I am STILL drafting my Real Goods post and need to come up with how to handle calculating cost per kWh over the solar array.  Since Sunday, September 23, 2012 is National Plug In Day, I figured to write about that first.  I was inspired to look into this event by a post on the Active E Forums by Keith Davidson and so I figured to participate.

One of the benefits in living in the southernmost city in Los Angeles County is that it is very efficient to go behind the Orange Curtain to Orange County for things.  When I used to drive my Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars more often, I would often fill up at the Costco in Cypress as it is often significantly cheaper in gasoline to buy my gas there than at a Costco in Los Angeles County and the location is somewhat convenient to home.

My gasoline border incursions have gotten to be fewer and farther in between as I don’t often have to purchase petrol as I have taken to carpooling with the better half on many days as I attempt to catch up to Tom Moloughney and his challenging 100 mile a day average (sadly still behind).

This Sunday, September 21, 2012, is National Plug In Day.  What can I say, I’m an Electronut and want to check out others cars and have the opportunity to be an EVangelist for electric vehicles, so I scheduled myself to visit BOTH the Los Angeles and Orange County Plug In Day festivities. (Recap of LA Plug In Day Experience here)

The one in Los Angeles will be held in El Segundo at 610 Lairport St, El Segundo, CA 90245 and this is approximately 25 miles away from home and the one in Orange County is at the Mitsubishi of North America’s Headquarters (a few blocks East of the aforementioned Costco at Cypress) at 6400 Katella Ave, Cypress CA 90630.

The Los Angeles County event goes from 11am to 3pm and the Orange County one goes from 1pm to 3pm.

So, if you wish to come down and say hi, come on over.  I will have sufficient charge to get around and home, so may take a few interested parties out for a spin.  Just leave me a comment and I’ll set that up.  I plan on being at the Los Angeles County event from 11am (the start) until approximately 12:30 pm and at the Orange County event from 1:30pm to 3pm.

See you there!

The Los Angeles County one at El Segundo –


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The Orange County one at Cypress –


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Space… the Final Frontier. The difference between built Electric and a converted ICE Electric

This weekend, I was challenged by my better half to fit everything we needed to haul up to my sister-in-law’s house for our niece’s Fourth Birthday party.  She thought that we needed to use our ever reliable X5 to do it’s hauling duty and I asserted that I thought we could take the ActiveE.  Figuring that after many years of marriage, the worst that could happen was that I would have to accept defeat, I decided to prove it.

So, as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother would say, “Challenge Accepted.”  In retrospect, I should’ve taken pictures of all the items that I had to pack into the ActiveE, but we had a kid’s birthday party to help get set up, and didn’t really have the time to dawdle.  So the picturess are of the stuff IN the car…

To remind everyone… This is what I had to work with:

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I also have a backseat where the seats fold down to carry stuff with, which I used, but the electric motor hump really does take the space.  (that’s the section that has the ActiveE written on the carpet.)

These next three shots are what was packed behind the front seats with the passenger seats folded down.

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Here it is closed:

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Right side of the trunk:

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Close up –

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Left side of the trunk:

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Needless to say, we packed a lot of stuff.

Distributed throughout the back are 8 bottles of wine (for the adults, not the 4 year old kids, of course.) The rolled up dusty thing is a rug that we use to lay outdoors. You would’ve also noted a 3 course buffet server in the backseat.

So, not only was the challenge accepted, I was also able to accomplish the task.  Being an Electronut means being very motivated to try to stay away from driving any ICE, EVEN something as fun to drive as a BMW X5.

The balloons, were for a giant popcorn display that my better half made for the party (it was a Princess party with a movie at the end of the night, Beauty and the Beast, if you must know.)

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If you’re paying close attention, you may have noticed that we DID lose a couple of balloons, but these were lost AT the destination, and thus not in the transport or difference between traveling with the X5 vs. the ActiveE.

So, what did this exercise prove. The ActiveE can make a quick stand-in for the X5, in a pinch, but it’s definitely one of the reasons that my Costco trips have gotten cheaper. I really can’t carry much there. Just more than I initially thought.

Which leads me to the second part of the thesis. These challenges occurred because we’re using a converted 1 series BMW. The hump does not exist in the Coda or the Tesla Model S.

Here are two shots from the Coda’s cavernous trunk:

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or the Tesla Model S

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I am sure that neither one will haul as much as the X5, however, I would guess the upcoming Tesla Model X will.  I am sure that either the Coda or the Tesla Model S CAN haul more than the ActiveE.

I would think that the upcoming BMW i3 will ALSO have more hauling capacity than the ActiveE.

i3 Concept Trunk

More i3 Pictures here.

So, as much as I really enjoy the ActiveE, the only positive of having to give it back to BMW at the end of the two years is I have something to look forward to with the NEXT generation of EVs.

Just a few more pics from Lot 6… Finally got a charge…


Didn’t get a chance to post much (or drive much) this week as I’ve been on a business trip to Chicago…

Here are some pictures we took before the trip.  My sister and her family were over and my brother-in-law, who is a car guy, was daring enough to take apart parts of the car to take a look… mainly the plastic cover thing, so I snapped some pics of the “engine” area of the ActiveE.

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Additionally, it did provide me with the opportunity to get some updated pictures from my better half.  She had her first day with the ActiveE and was a trooper.

She found LAX Lot 6 and was able to get us plugged in for the recharge for the drive back home.

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and to verify that it was plugged in fine. She did a video of the blue blinking light of happiness!

Lastly, ’cause she thought it looked cool and teased me (I hope) with what she tells me she wants for her next car.

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Yes, a Fisker Karma, what can I say, the better half has great taste!