Sunday, August 7, 2011

Electric Mini -a whole new driving experience

I recently came across the chance to test drive an electric Mini Cooper made by BMW group. This car is still in the testing phases, but it uses the latest lithium ion battery technology.

I honestly have to say the experience of driving this pure electric vehicle was the farthest thing possible from an electric go cart.

The Mini-e had some serious pep, and easily accelerated as if traveling in a small spaceship with the only noise being a slight high pitched hum, which added to the extraterrestrial experience. In other words I loved it! I actually enjoyed the experience of  driving this electric vehicle MORE than I thought I would. After finishing an extended spin around the block and checking the car to make sure i really wasn't in some sort of top secret space ship, I came to the realization that if every person had the chance to drive one of these cars they would never want a sluggish gasoline engine again!

The most intriguing and exciting new experience of driving this electric vehicle was how the regenerative breaking worked. As soon as the driver takes the foot off the accelerator the regenerative breaking starts to slow the car down by recapturing energy from the spinning wheels. At first this was kind of weird and seemed like it was cutting all the fun out of the car's peppy-ness and quick acceleration. However the converse turned out to be true, I quickly got used to taking my foot off the accelerator as a form of breaking in itself, so when driving around the neighborhood I actually rarely needed to even use the breaks at all. I would simply start to naturally take the foot off the gas and the car would automatically slow down exponentially until i stopped about exactly where i needed to pause for a stop sign and then gas into my next turn (or should I say "bolt into my next turn). This mechanism which I am learning is in most electric cars seems to be a great new way to drive, capturing energy with breaking (using less wear on the breaks) and reusing this energy for the acceleration once the breaking has finished.

Honestly anyone out there that is a skeptic really has to get out and try at least two different electric vehicles before you write another negative pessimistic article about how these things will not have mass appeal. After driving this car my opinion has gone from excited supporter, to full fledged believer that this technology is the car of the future.

Check out a lease holders test drives too at this blog:

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