Minimizing gas use…

So, about a month ago I was inspired by an article, on regarding BMW’s plan to allow i3 drivers the ability to rent a traditional gas (internal combustion engine/ICE) BMW when they need it, to figure out how often my family uses ICE vs. EV.

Seeing that there are two of us who use vehicles in the family, I figured to count the FAMILY’s usage of Gas vs. Electric.

So, I decided to log my mileage of use for the period between March 6 and April 5, 2013. It was a rather interesting log. We travelled a total of 2,948 miles in this period of which we did 2,499 miles Electric vs. 449 miles on gasoline. I anticipated a heavier gasoline use this past month as we were going to help our nephew move. Ended up not using the X5 for this and he only needed a few items which fit our ActiveE, so, score 1 for the EV use.

However, as things do tend to go to the mean, the 328i ended up with a recall. Of all things, in the electric wiring of the vehicle. As a result, had to do almost 100 of those miles gasoline and 22 of the approximately 100 miles was using a 5 series loaner.

Good thing the BMW ActiveE folks were not planning on the Morro Bay FB meetup until tomorrow, otherwise, I would be adding another 460 miles on gas as I’m not crazy enough to wait the hours needed to charge the Active E on the drive north and south to the meet.

Hats off to some of my fellow electronauts who live a fully electric life, I’m not sure if I can quite do that yet.

These brave souls all live fully electric, or at least nearly so – check out the blogs of Todd Crook, Peter Norby, and Pamela Thwaite

Todd is impressive because the whole family uses the ActiveE, solely! Peter has both an ActiveE and a Honda Fit EV, and Pamela Thwaite‘s family has 3 Electric cars. A Tesla (roadster, I believe), Active E, and a Mitsubishi iMiev for the kids.

Still, at 85% electric vs. 15% gasoline. I think I’m doing well… Saving a lot of money and enjoying the ride!  Figuring that my 2499 electric miles is closer to $21.64 and my 449 miles of gasoline is closer to $85 (using an inflated approximate $0.19 per mile as I do not have the cost per mile for the 5 series vs. my $0.17 per mile calculated convertible 328i cost.)  If I were to extend $0.17 per mile to the 2499 electric miles, I’m saving about $400 on not buying gas.  (not even factoring in $100/hour per the currently controversial articles on Tesla’s leasing program.)

When we get a Tesla Model S (unless BMW comes out with a more aesthetically pleasing i3 or cheaper i8 BEV, not hybrid) and with that range, we would probably not need to drive as much gas as we do now.

Some significant mileage… 25,000 Miles and counting…

ActiveE by dennis_p
ActiveE, a photo by dennis_p on Flickr.

Reached 25,000 Miles a few days ago… Seeing that my one year anniversary will be in a few weeks I figure to write more about my experience then.In the meantime.

25,000 miles all electric. Using a blended 1.5 cents per mile figure (just estimating here since it’s closer to 0.8 cents per mile since I’ve gotten solar at home) nets me a $375.00 energy cost for the 25,000 miles. Comparing this with an estimated 15 cents per mile for gasoline (rounding down ’cause it’s easier to do the math…) puts the estimated mileage cost to $3,750.

So looks like we’ve at least saved $3,375 this past year on the miles that we used electricity vs. gasoline.

The savings are compelling.

Got car back earlier than a week… Sort of…

It looks like the permanent fix requires a back-ordered part and since I’ve stressed to my local BMW dealer my challenge to try to catch up to Tom Moloughney’s EXTREMELY CHALLENGING pace (really, 96 miles a day! Ugh) I got the car back this morning at -20 before next scheduled service (climbed to -60 by the time I got to the office). The countdown for service was not reset because I need to get back to them as soon as the part arrives.

So, I’m at 20,040 ish and waiting for the final fix for the Spline issue. The part is back-ordered and they let me go back on the road. Not sure if any of the software fixes are applied to take care of the GFCI issues with some public chargers and whether or not launch control was removed.

I’ll let you know once I get back from my weekend in New York where I intend to catch up to the BMWi World tour at Bryant Park this weekend. Too bad I couldn’t fly in for the Tuesday event for my fellow Electronuts!

At least with the car back, I’ll get to park at LAX for FREE!


Yes,  I’m still here.

I’ve been busy with our ActiveE and have been on vacation on top of that…  I promise at least two more ChargeIt! articles for two really great food AND charging facilities (here’s one of them – Gjelina at Electric Avenue in Venice). [Here’s the other Church and State – Mateo Street Charger, now caught up for the Great Food series.]  However, trying to decide on whether to do the next article on joining the Solar powered movement.

Still haven’t received my “official” PTO, but I did notice an off-cycle close to my SCE account this past Friday (August 17) (when I logged in to my SCE account on Saturday) and followed up with a call to SCE on Saturday morning.  According to the telephone representative my permission to operate (PTO) letter went out last week and I am now generating my own energy via the Solar Panels on the roof of the house.

Thanks to BMW and its partnership with Real Goods Solar, I was able to get a system at a bigger discount than I had originally negotiated with Solar City.  But that will have to be the subject of a subsequent post.  As well as updates to my Back of the Napkin Math series (1) and (2).

As those that have followed this blog, I’m not an “environmentalist”, I just like to save money.  As long as one has a “long” view, the money savings will follow those that do things that are “environmental.”

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.






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.


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.


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

Updated LAX Parking Lot 6… Woohoo

Arrived at LAX Parking Lot 6 this evening and was excited to see that half the chargers were swapped out with J1772 L2 chargers…  Looks like some folks were using them already…

LAX Parking Lot 6 upgraded J1772 1


LAX Parking Lot 6 upgraded J1772 2


Remember, if these chargers are all full and you need a charge, Lot 1 also has chargers and near to LAX, there’s a single Chargepoint charger south of the airport at the Walgreens in El Segundo (on Sepulveda Blvd) or a ton of Blink chargers on the Loyola Marymount campus (north of LAX)…

Loyola pictured here –


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”…