Celebrating Four Mostly Electric Years of the rEVolution.

On February 23, 2012, we joined the rEVolution with the addition of our BMW ActiveE.

This was one of the first pictures we took of our ActiveE when we picked up the car at Long Beach BMW. Shows a very happy, young rEVolutionary:

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Brought it home and plugged it in… We didn’t even have our Level 2 installed at the time and had to charge a BEV with an 80-100 mile range on 120V.

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Granted, my commute at the time was 70 miles roundtrip if I took the most direct route, and the “fastest” route used the carpool/HOV lanes and that was 100 miles roundtrip.

BMW’s friendly policies for ActiveE Electronauts meant that I was able to charge at Pacific BMW (a 10 minute walk from my office) J1772 station and ensure that I recovered my miles that first week.

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I wrote about my first year of electric driving on the blog three years ago.

Once you go electric, it’s hard to look back. At the time that we picked up the Active E, we had a few ICE vehicles in the garage. The Active E was outnumbered by ICE vehicles and we figured to keep the ICE for our hybrid garage.

After taking delivery of the Active E, we we sold our Honda Civic Hybrid. There was no real need to keep it since we originally purchased the Honda as a commuter vehicle and the Yellow HOV stickers were expired by the time we picked up the Active E.

The two year lease of the Active E meant that there was pressure to see what “the next car” will be and we decided to place a deposit for the Model S. However, at the time, the plan was for my wife to get the S and for me to look for a replacement for the Active E.

We received our “configure your Model S” message in the beginning of 2013. However, we still had another year on the 2 year lease on the ActiveE and we didn’t think we would run with 2 EVs concurrently, so I took the time to test out other cars for me to use when we decide to become a 2 EV family, after all, the Model S was going to be her car.  Since I wanted to ensure to get the Federal Tax Credit in 2013, we delayed the delivery of the vehicle to the end of the year.  The ideal delivery would be December 31, 2013, however, understanding the Tesla process and to ensure that I get the vehicle with some “buffer” we settled to take delivery in November 2013.

Long time readers of the blog and participants of the now defunct Active E forums will remember the many test drives (a few sample test drives: CodaFiat 500e,  Smart ED to name a few) and discussions over what my next car will be. I was really hoping to love the i3 and my wife was “under protest” if I went with the i3. At the end of the day, we skipped the i3, a decision that I discussed on a previous posting.

To make November 2013 delivery, we figured that we needed to start configuring our Model S on August 2013.  It was at this time that we noticed a bunch of Tesla Roadsters being sold as Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) and my wife fell in love with her Roadster.  So, it was at this point that we decided to pick a Roadster up and the Model S became my car.

Here is the Roadster on our pick-up day:

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And here I am with a rare (driving my wife’s baby) picture:

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Picking up the Roadster was awesome, but not without problems.

And a few months later, we did our first roadtrip with our Model S when we picked it up at the factory. And live-blogged the weekend a few hours before and a few days after. I summarized the whole weekend.

Here is our Model S on pickup day:

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After the early start, factory tour and pickup of the Model S, our first recharge for the car…

The driver and passenger needs to refuel.

…was for the driver. Needed Starbucks.

Though we started the year thinking that we wouldn’t need to drive 2 EVs, we ended up with 3 EVs from November 2013 until the return of the Active E to BMW on February 2014. The second year anniversary was a bittersweet one.

The following year of EV ownership strengthened our positive impression of Tesla Motors. The BMWi debacle in the launch of the i3 in the United States made us adjust back to the original plan of 2 EVs for daily use. Originally we wanted to get a third EV so that we can minimize the miles in the Roadster, but my better half was having too much fun driving her Roadster and didn’t feel like swapping it out on daily drives. So, we saved some money and skipped the third EV.

I didn’t even write a 3rd EV Anniversary post.

So, from February of last year to now, we’ve settled into a life with our two EV, one ICE hybrid garage.

This past year, we’re really just living the rEVolution on a day to day basis. We took our Model S on a Roadtrip Coast-to-Coast and back, and it was a blast. With over three years of EV driving, we don’t suffer from range anxiety, however the trip solidified our “can do” attitude as far as driving our EV for distances and this past year we took more roadtrips than we’ve done the previous years.

I would have loved to say that we hit 150,000 miles of all electric driving, but I will just have to settle on 148,404 electric miles vs 14,194 ICE with a little under 3 hours from the time we brought our Active E home 4 years ago (9pm Pacific vs. 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific right now)). [EDITED 2016-March-5, Looks like I had an error in my tracking spreadsheet…  We’re closer to 125,000 EV miles…  I had transposed numbers in Month 16 of our tracking spreadsheet that overstated total miles by around 20,000 miles for totals.  I was preparing for the Year 3 of our EV vs. ICE posting, and found the error…]

So, what’s in store for our EV future?

To begin with, we’re about 2 weeks from the third anniversary of my ICE vs EV statistics that I’ve been tracking and we broke 90% EV vs 10% ICE use after almost three years. But that’s another post.

My Thanksgiving 2015 post gives a good hint of what I’ve been up to. Additionally, I am happy to report that my client, EV Connect, Inc., was selected for three of the nine Electric Charging Highway Corridors for the California program. This project, when completed will allow all EVs equipped with CHAdeMO and/or CCS DC Fast chargers to complete the travel from the Mexican border to the Oregon border with Level 3 charging stations.

Additionally, the Model 3 reservation process will be open on March 31st for a $1,000 deposit. We’re trying to see if we’ll take advantage of this or not.

Lastly, we’re thinking of expanding our long EV roadtrip plans. We are tempted to do another coast-to-coast trip using one of the newer routes. Perhaps we’ll finally join the Teslaroadtrip folks on one of their cool get togethers. This year, they’re planning on something at Colonial Williamsburg, and we’ve never been. We’ll have to see if things work out for this trip.

Here’s to hoping that the Model 3 and its competing EVs become massive successes and we transition from ICE to EV at a faster rate.

In the meantime, time flies when you’re having fun.

Range Anxiety? Not really…

Elon Musk’s tweet (“@elonmuskTesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety … via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet. March 15, 2015“) to end “range anxiety” which has since been deleted, had me thinking not about the disappointing announcements regarding the 6.2 software patches, but about when the last time was that I’ve actually experienced range anxiety.

I must admit that it’s been a while for me. We decided to move to Tesla Motors electric vehicles because we didn’t want to have to worry about range. Both the Model S and Roadster have a range of at least 170 miles. As for recharging, using DC Charging, the Model S can Supercharge at over 300 miles per hour or quick charge using CHAdeMO over 130 miles per hour. Over AC charging, our Model S can go up to 80A (or approximately 58-62 miles per hour) and the Roadster can go up to 70A (or approximately 56 miles per hour). That’s plenty fast recharging. Besides, if you charge overnight, it’s time you’re spending sleeping anyway.

When we first started our adventure with electric vehicles with the Active E, range anxiety was a byproduct of moving from a nearly limitless range to one where each full charge lasted 80-100 miles. However, it wasn’t long that I was making the statement that the range of the Active E was limitless, as long as you can get charge and have the time to wait for a charge.  If a charger was available, I plugged in, even at 110V when no L2 was available.

It was not uncommon for me to do 140 mile days in the Active E. It required charging at multiple places, but L2 at 6.6 kW and later at 5.2 kW is not exactly speedy, but it isn’t slow either, at least at the time. Now that I’m used to Supercharging, quick charging, 40 Amp/10kW charging over a NEMA 14-50 or 6-50 connector, it seems that approximately 20 miles per hour seems so slow. Public charging in 2012 was fairly plentiful and easy to use in Southern California. Rarely did I have to wait, and most of the places that I found to charge at Level 2 were relatively free. Things became relatively harder at 2013. One could say that projecting the pending difficulty in obtaining public charging with shorter range electric vehicles definitely helped contribute to the decision to get Tesla Motors vehicles.

So, Range Anxiety with the Model S? Not really. One of the first things that I did when we first got our Model S and Roadster were to get some of the available charging adapters. Aside from J1772, we got adapters for NEMA 6-50 as well as NEMA 14-50. so that we could charge the car at up to 40A. Though the Model S (with dual chargers) and Roadster can go to 80A and 70A J1772 if presented with that speed. Plus, as I recently wrote, I just got CHAdeMO for our Model S, that’s a really respectable 130 miles per hour.

Which brings me to hyper-miling and Elon’s announcement.

Hyper-miling is a skill that I learned about and learned to do when I first got the Active E. Getting the most miles per kWh was the goal (or consuming the least wH per mile as is the measure on the Model S, which I’ve measured at 307 wH per mile recently). In a nutshell, hyper-miling involves driving at a constant speed, or motor use and using larger vehicles, trucks, etc. ahead of you to lower the wind resistance that impacts your vehicle.  With the Active E and the size of the 1-series that it was adapted from, it was relatively easy to find vehicles that are “larger” than it to “drift” behind and it was noticeable to see the miles per kWh climb.  I’ve even hit a respectable 5.0 kWh (200 Wh per mile) on the Active E, as heavy as it is.

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My most recent trip to San Diego from Los Angeles County gave me a long time to ponder this thought and put a few things to test with the Model S. Since moving to the Model S, I really haven’t given hyper-miling any further thought. Until now.

As more Model S roll off the factory floor in 2015 with Adaptive Cruise Control or Autopilot, I’ve been intrigued with the ability to set the number of car-lengths to the vehicle ahead of you (pictured below from a loaner I had driven a few weeks ago.) Figuring that such a feature really lends itself to hyper-miling.

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However, a more fundamental question presented itself to me. Can I even hyper-mile a Model S? So, during this same trip to San Diego, I followed a smaller delivery truck that was the ideal candidate for my test.

I started the drive making note of my average 30 mile consumption that is constantly graphed on my dash (as a preference that I’ve set.) See the example below.

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After getting my base (which, I did not record on photographs) I was in flowing traffic of around 75 mph at this point.

I decided to see what the effect was if I implememented hyper-miling techniques behind smaller vehicles. As predicted, it didn’t really help much. Too much of the wind resistance was not cut-down by the smaller vehicles.

Which leads me to try the test with the aforementioned small truck. I decided to pace the vehicle for about five miles and my average Wh per mile consumption during that period dropped at least 20 Wh per mile at a driving speed that was constant with the speed I was following smaller vehicles with.  Is that a lot?  Well, every bit counts and this was for five miles.

Physics doesn’t change, it’s just more difficult to find candidate vehicles to drift behind in a Model S. Next time, I’ll see if I can recreate the test using a loaner with Adaptive Cruise Control to see if I’m better than or if the Autopilot is at trying to hyper-mile. Granted, I have yet to set ACC at less than 2 car lengths for any distance, but that’s what I’ll have to do.

Oh and Range Anxiety, not really… I did that San Diego trip and back (220 miles RT) with no anxiety.

100,000 All Electric Miles reached by our household today…

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About 1/3rd of the way home today, we reached 100,000 All Electric miles on all vehicles owned or leased by our family. We reached this landmark mileage figure with the help of our Active E, which we picked up on February 23, 2012 and returned on February 23, 2014, as well as our Roadster and Model S…

One of the side-effects of tracking our hybrid garage (our minimizing gas use post, first year, and recently posted second year) use has been to track the number of all electric miles that we’ve done since we picked up our vehicles. Which means that we deduct the original 2,220 miles on the Roadster when we picked it up CPO, we deduct the 14 miles that we had on the Active E, and the 22 miles that was on our Model S on our acquisition of each vehicle.  That’s how we get to the 100,000 Total EV miles on our family vehicles.

So at 3:29 PM Pacific Time on March 10, 2015, we hit 32,221 miles on the Model S which made our total for the family at 100,000 all electric miles. Additionally, it turned out that we hit that 100,000 EV miles target on day 1,111 of our ownership/lessor of our primary EVs. These totals mean that we averaged about 90 miles of electric driving per day for the past 1,111 days. That’s more than double the US average commute of 40 miles roundtrip. Additionally, 54,321 of those miles are on an EV that averages 80-100 miles of range in the Active E. So to those that say that EVs are for short distances only, need to check on the mileage that we did with our vehicles. Range Anxiety? Not around here.

Ended today at 100,024 total household EV miles. Next target? 10 MWh [corrected from 1 MWh thanks to @grahamparks] of energy consumed on our Tesla Model S. [as was pointed out by @grahamperks on Twitter, I understated myself. 1 MWh=1,000 kWh. So, I’m about to hit 10MWh on the Model S]IMG_20150310_160416

9901.3 kWh consumed for the 32,245 Miles that I ended my commute to home today at a conservative 291 wH per mile for the day (still at 307 wH per mile since we picked up our Model S).

Our decision… On the BMW i3 Electronaut Edition…

After a 23 week wait, the Electronaut Edition i3 that we configured (and re-configured) has finally made it to the dealership. Just in time for me to be on a trip, so, I didn’t get to see it until a few days after it arrived at the dealership.

Here are some pictures of it as it arrived from the Port.

Our EE .@BMWi i3 has finally arrived at the dealership as we leave on a trip.  A decision when we return.

The other profile of our EE .@BMWi i3 BEV not REX. No gas for me!  So tempting!

Our special edition .@BMWi i3 from behind looks good too...

The delay wasn’t ALL BMW’s fault. (well… they did delay deliveries, still.) Our original configuration was going to include a REX (Range Extender / basically a motorcycle engine with an anemic almost 2 gallon tank) that gave the car a combine 150-160 miles of range (of which approximately 70-80 miles are Electric). However, as it became evident that California was running out of the initial 40,000 Green HOV Stickers, I proactively requested that the REX be removed as I have access to charging on both ends of my commute anyway. Even after the California Legislature approved an expansion to the program (without much needed adjustments), I stuck with the BEV (battery electric vehicle, no REX).

In the meantime, I got used to driving our Tesla Model S on a daily basis while waiting for the i3 to be built and shipped to us.

Three EVs may seem excessive, but I really enjoy a smaller sized vehicle for LA traffic and have felt that the Model S was just too big a car for me to drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Especially since I’ve been conditioned to cut in front of anyone as soon as space in the adjacent lane becomes available (also known as drive like an A**#0!3) and the Active E was the perfect size for that (small, quick, and visible), the Roadster is small and quick, but could be invisible to many.

As the weeks ticked on, the little things that continued to bug me about the Model S became less of an issue, and I learned to adjust to driving the Model S in traffic. And still no i3. Both Tesla vehicles are “energy hogs” relative to my experience with the Active E (and to a lesser degree my mom’s Leaf.) This waste of electricity is a minor nit, but still a nit for the difference between Tesla vehicles and BMW i (and to some extent Nissan) electric vehicles. The Vampire Drain on the Model S is around six miles a night on my Model S when I don’t have it on power saving mode. I do this because I like the convenience of starting the car up and going right away. Battery Saving mode takes a delay to start up the vehicle.

Here are some pictures of the i3 after it was prepped:

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Happy Dennis (test drive) (decided to switch out my Tesla Cap for a Nike one before the drive)

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And the Electronaut Edition badge

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In addition to my nits, there were a few technical things I was looking forward to from the i3. Namely, the self-parking package (which I had originally ordered on the REX version of the car) and the “tractor-beam” feature for cruise control. Additionally, I contend that the entertainment system on the BMWs actually functioned better than the one on the Model S. Especially the Bluetooth (which allows multiple phones to be paired) and the ability to take calls on either of the paired phones (as opposed to the Model S which requires one to “connect” one phone and that’s the only one to take calls on (over the built-in system).)

Additionally, I was having challenges with the AM Radio in my Model S. It’s a good system until one tries to listen to Vin Scully and the Dodgers, in which case it’s hit or miss. Especially with the current issue between Time Warner Cable and other TV network operators, it was hard to catch a Dodger game (outside of AM Radio.) Nevertheless, I live with it. (An 80-100 mile daily commute tends to emphasize in-car infotainment systems more than a short commute).

So, on August 3rd, I got to meet the i3 BEV that was built for us. I got to do a short couple of mile drive through Signal Hill and got to use the regen to descend a good, steep pitch (that originally sold us our X5 back in 2001). Test out the turning radius and other fun stuff on the car.

I liked the badging… It’s so much more understated than the circuit stickers on the Active E.

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However, it was missing a few things…

The BEV version of our order removed the automated parking assistance package. Not sure if it was an oversight or whether we did it because we did encounter some problems with this during one of our test drives.

The other is the AM radio was removed and is not available on any i3. The car has FM Radio, but without AM, no access to News, Talk Radio, and live local games. Living in Earthquake Country, one has to consider the avenues to listen to coverage when a “disaster” strikes and AM Radio continues to be one of the more reliable avenues for such information. My sales person explained (a day later after checking with corporate.)

“The AM band was removed on the I3 this was due to field trials in the Mini E and Active E due to the electric motor interference. The alternative to this is HD radio which offers 168 am stations on FM radio channel or Sat radio with 1 year access or Bmw apps with web radio on connected app and tuneln radio app.”

The car also forces one to rely on the GOM (guess-o-meter) as there is no SOC meter, as was reported months ago.

Lastly, as previously indicated, the strange split sunroof on the US version of the i3 was not provided. Therefore, the car had a different feel from the Solar Orange testers that we got to drive at the Convention Center (and other test drive events.)

Luckily, the tractor beam was still in place, but these two technical things coupled with adjusting to life with the Model S as my daily driver and my better half’s reluctance to garage her Roadster in favor of driving the Model S instead have made it a moot point.

These missing items coupled with some issues I had during the wait with rude members of the sales management of Long Beach BMW, specifically Emilio Roukoz, have made the experience quite a contrast with my experience with Tesla Motors. Granted, I had some issues with Anish from Tesla as well during my pick up at the factory, but the person was NOT the management escalation. Considering that I’ve purchased or leased a couple of cars through my sales person at Long Beach BMW, I would expect better treatment than I received from his management. Does Tesla have the “right” model, I’d say it’s closer to it. Long Beach BMW is one of the better BMW dealerships, but it’s not perfect. They COULD take the extra step with the BMW i vehicles and apply for the HOV stickers on behalf of their purchasers as a dealer, but they don’t and that is an opportunity lost on providing better service than Tesla which could also do the same thing, but chooses not to provide such customer service.

So, after all this wait, I notified our dealer yesterday that we will NOT be purchasing the i3 for us. However, as I publish this post, one of my sisters and her husband is at Long Beach BMW and test driving this i3 and the other ones that are pictured below. Who knows, this i3 might make it to the family after all. Fingers crossed, otherwise, it can join these i3s that I saw at the dealership on Sunday.

Who knows if BMW will get us back as a customer. There are definitely things that I prefer with BMWs over the Teslas.

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More pictures of the almost fully loaded i3 that we configured can be found on my flickr album.

[Post Script, ADDED at 2155/9:55 PM Pacific on 2014-08-07 to answer a question brought up by +Toshi Clark on Google Plus]

For +Toshi Clark and anyone else interested, when the original order was in place, I had requested that the dealership pre-order the HOV stickers (as they were allowed to do so at the time and the stickers were running out) for my original REX as soon as a VIN number is generated. This activity would have hedged my purchase of a REX i3 with HOV access. I provided a link to the dealership showing the procedure, process, and cost to the dealership ($8). The salesman was willing to do this and he was overruled by the “sales” manager. The point was moot as the green HOV stickers originally were suspended from this program about two weeks later to slow down the depletion rate.

It was at that time that I changed the order to BEV and it became a non-issue, but the fact that I’ve bought vehicles from the dealership since 2001 and most recently obtained my Active E from the same location has given me cause to pause.

Lucky #13(,000 miles that is…)

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It seems just a few months ago that we picked up our Model S from the factory in Fremont. It’s been three months and a week since we’ve had to return the ActiveE to BMW. And I’ve already made it to 13,000 miles.

Thirteen thousand is significant because that means that I’ve just completed my first recommended service at 12,500 (closer to 12,450 in my case) and I’ve made full use of the Model S during this time. It’s been a month and a half and we’ve put in 3,000 miles on the car. And I guess the latest thing to update is the probability of getting an i3 for the daily drive is diminishing. I had marked it down to 5% chance of happening.

As much as I complain about the “>AM Radio problem of the Model S, at least it has an AM Radio. The latest thing to affect me on the BMW i3 is the removal of AM Radio from the features of the vehicle. Let me reiterate, AM Radio is no longer included. I wonder if the good folks at BMW are getting a kickback from Sirius XM or some other entity to remove access to the most common part of the radio dial for News, Sports, and Talk. Living in California, when an earthquake hits, if one is not near a TV, you can pretty much guarantee that the News stations will cover the latest earthquake. The FM part of the dial does not include ANY of that coverage in any sort of meaningful way. Not to mention my obsession with listening to local sports teams play. It’s barely comprehensible on the Model S, but it’s just not available on the i3.

But I digress, to paraphrase Marc Antony, I’ve come to praise the Model S and not bury the i3 (or specifically BMWi). I’ve grown accustomed to the size of the Model S, as large as it is and as many blind spots as the car has, it’s a fun car to drive. The continual improvements in firmware keeps improving the vehicle. The latest version of firmware has reintroduced the LOW setting for the Air Suspension and coupled with the installation of the Titanium Undershield in the vehicle has made me more confident in setting the vehicle to automatically lower to this setting at less than the recommended 100MPH+ that the system is automatically set for. I’ve been playing with it and currently have it set at higher than the speed limit, but intend on lowering that closer to the flow of traffic in Los Angeles (on a GOOD DAY and not crawling at bumper-to-bumper speed.)

Additionally, the addition of the Hill Hold feature has been an unexpected blessing. The Hill Hold feature allows a Tesla Driver that does not use Creep mode (creep is when you simulate the Model S like an ICE car by forcing it to move forward when the driver’s foot is not on the brake) to take their foot off the brake and have the car hold in place before hitting the accelerator to move forward when stopped at an incline. Prior to the implementation of this setting, the car would roll backwards the moment that the driver released the brake. This seemingly minor improvement in the way the car performs has increased the ease of driving the Model S noticeably.

Aside from the constant improvement on the vehicle, the Model S Annual Service was trouble free and completed in very much a “no hassle” manner. I prepaid the Annual Maintenance with Ranger Service option. What this means is that Tesla will perform some of the maintenance and fixes at my location. I’ve had great service relationships with several BMW dealerships and I’ve often been lucky enough to get a nice loaner every time that I’ve brought a BMW in for service. Regardless of whether it is during the warranty (or as is the case with the very old vehicles) considerably past its warranty. The Tesla service is exceptional. Granted, my normal service center in Costa Mesa is often overbooked and a month out, but the beauty of the Ranger service in Southern California is that between my home and office, I have access to at least four more service centers. So, I found one that will drive out to me and either perform the service or drive it back and forth to me while I’m in the office.

In the case of my two Ranger calls for my annual service, Tesla came out for the first one (my 12,500 mile service) and dropped off a Model S 60kWh, standard suspension car while they worked on my car. The car had to be brought back to their service center because they were installing the Titanium Shield as well as other things that required them to use the tools in the shop. They picked up the car a little later than we set up and got the car back to me a little later but this was all understandable as the service was performed the Friday before the Memorial Day Holiday and there is no way to get around the LA area in a reasonable time that Friday.

The one deficiency from the original call was they forgot to do one minor fix regarding the door seal to the driver side that required them to come back out with a Ranger. The second time around the Ranger arrived thirty minutes earlier than our appointment and promptly met me in my office garage when I got in. He was able to fix the problem in the promised time and left. Needless to say, as much as I’ve had great service from BMW, the Tesla one exceeded that.

So, I guess things are working out with the Model S. At 13,000 miles, I would say so, the most telling thing is the diminishing chance of picking up an i3 for this BMW loyalist. I rated it down to 5% chance and that’s from a mixture of Tesla Execution and BMW/BMWi acting like “Keystone Cops” on the launch of the i3 and providing me with enough time to drive our Model S from the time that I was forced to relinquish my beloved ActiveE, literally CRUSHING my dream, and the constant removal of things that I want or need in my seemingly endless commute in Los Angeles traffic (Sun Roof, AM Radio, EV batteries that they could have put instead of a stupid REX). My i3 should be built by the time I publish this post, and another few weeks before it lands on our shores. Who knows, I might still forgive the BMW guys, or I might just tell them no thanks.

Crushed…


Crushed ActiveEs
This picture was from the tweet from Chris Neff, owner unknown and uncredited.

Several tweets, pictures, and a post have come by recently that has confirmed what I’ve intellectually understood would happen, but refuse to accept.

I am crushed. At first glance, and following Airton’s tweet, I thought that the cars spotted were in NJ and I was saddened, but not crushed…

However, at further inspection, the freeway sign was for CA-91 and that is a freeway that I often cross in my many drives throughout Southern California. The reality is one of those cars could actually be “my” Active E. I had such high hopes when it was announced that another eighty ActiveEs were making the trek to Northern California to join DriveNow. Now, I suspected, and others have mentioned that perhaps the spraypaint on the side refers to particular VIN numbers… If that’s the case, I can still hope that my car is in the Bay Area.

Furthermore, I am extremely sad at these pictures, but thankful that the Active E has made me Accidentally Environmental. I didn’t care about climate change before my Active E. I wasn’t denying it’s existence, just not really doing anything about it. And now… I do a little bit more.

Alas, these pictures bring me back to a jarring reality.

I am, metaphorically, crushed.

If Tom is correct about BMW, I guess they’ll just lose me as a customer…


I like to read what my fellow BMW EV guy Tom Moloughney has to write and his most recent post has me thinking…

What category would I be from the categories he wrote about a few days ago:

“Basically there are four main groups of perspective i3 purchasers:

1) They are interested in the i3 but the 81 mile EPA rating is just too low for them and the range extender is out of the question. They walk away from the car and consider their other electric vehicle offerings.

2) The 81 mile range works for them. They get the BEV i3 and understand its limitations.

3) They really wanted the BEV i3 but the range rating was too low for their comfort so they reluctantly ordered the i3 REx. (I fit in this box)

4) They really liked the idea of the range extender from the start and wouldn’t have bought an i3 without it. The ability to drive primarily on electric but have the range extender there for the few times they need more range is perfect for them. Not ever worrying about getting stuck on the road because they ran out of charge or a public charger was broken or blocked is paramount for these people.”

For most of the time, I’ve felt that I’ve been category 3 and begrudgingly have to go with an i3 REX because I am not so comfortable driving my Model S on a daily basis and really enjoyed my ActiveE. With the addition of a NEMA 14-50 in my parking spot at the office and my JESLA, I could go category 2. However, this was completed after the deadline from BMW for Electronauts to place their orders, my order was for the i3 is with a REX. I would’ve preferred that BMW offered a larger battery pack option, if my experience with the Active E is any indication, sometime between my 2nd and 3rd years of driving, I would probably have lost a good chunk of range because of the miles that I drive (54,321 miles for 2 years of the ActiveE program).

The Model S as a daily driver still has some of the nits that I’ve written about previously when I compared the three EVs that were in our garage at the time. The Model S is still larger than the vehicles I’ve been driving on a daily basis over the past few years, but I have gotten used to it. Additionally, the firmware upgrades that the Model S has been receiving has provided constant improvement in the experience.

However, all these compromises and constant reduction in i3 published capabilities, my overwhelming desire to stick with driving in all electric mode, and my adjustment to using my Model S on a daily basis has lead me to determine that I don’t really need to compromise. I’m about 95% sure that I’m just sticking with Tesla and move to category 1 with regard to the i3. And as I’ve written before, this would be a shame. Now, I’m sure not the only participant in the Electronaut program to feel this way, that last 5% could still swing to the i3. Look at what Pamela and Michael Thwaite went through last week. It could still happen, but if you ask me right now… Probably not. There are a lot of other things we can use i3 money for. (Like a Fiat 500e and some money left over…). If BMW loses me as a customer for the i3, hopefully they improve the next generation of i cars to try to win us back. (Besides, our dirty not so secret X5 will be with us for a while longer)