02.04.2010 - by Plug In America
From MINI to Maxi Miles

MINI E plugging in I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Moloughney — MINI E driver and owner of the Montclair, New Jersey restaurant, Nauna’s Bella Casa. Like many other fortunate Plug In America’supporters, Tom drives an electric vehicle. But unlike any other known EV driver, Tom has driven his BMW-leased MINI E 20,000 freakin’ miles in only seven months! Tom’s stated goal is to watch his odometer turn over to an awe-inspiring 35,000 to 40,000 miles by the end of his one-year lease in June.

Many of us RAV4 EV drivers enjoy chatting about the mileage we’ve amassed on our trusty RAVs in 7 or 8 or 9 years, and justifiably so. In fact, some RAV drivers do have real-world bragging rights on 110,000 120,000 and even 180,000 miles in that time span which has thankfully served to “out” the lie of auomakers’ past declarations that “batteries just aren’t there yet.” But consider for a moment: If Tom actually reaches his goal of 35,000 miles by lease end — and with his daily commute of 80 miles plus work-related errands, plus the past performance of his MINI E, there is every reason to think he will — then in eight years his odometer could theoretically display 280,000 all-electric miles. This might seem like an impossibly high-mileage goal given that the MINI E has a mere 100-mile range. Tom explains: “I have one 32Amp charge station at home and one 50Amp charge station that charges in two to three hours at my restaurant. I work six to seven days a week and use the MINI to commute to and from work.”

Reality check: Since putting the MINIs out on the tarmac for lease last year, BMW has been clear about snatching the cars back at the end of the one year “trial period“. However, the automaker has recently been making some rather vague noises about extending an unknown number of MINI E leases. Obviously Mr. Moloughney will not have the chance to drive his MINI E for eight long years. Second reality check: Given today’s battery technology, he’d no doubt have to negotiate some battery pack change-outs.

But it is also true: Battery technology is advancing at a furious pace. In a few years, perhaps 280,000 miles on one battery pack will be a normal scenario. Unfortunately, I have not completed my transformation into an electrified crystal ball-gazing gypsy to offer more than hopeful guesses on that. Speculation aside, 20,000 all-electric miles in 210 days is a stunning achievement any way you slice it.

I’m just sayin’.

Posted by Linda Nicholes

Photo courtesy of Worldcarfans.com

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