Not really solar powered?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2009 by davidvm

Over the last few days I have talked to a lot of people about my MINI E.  A lot of that came about due to various parties and holidays.  There was actually a MINI E in our local 4th of July parade, and a few people searched me out because they thought it was mine (it was actually Peter Trepp).

One of the hardest things for people to believe is that my car is solar powered, so rather than continue to tell everyone that, I have decided to tell them the truth.  My car is actually powered by a medium-sized fusion engine.

I know that seems a little far-fetched, and it is, but let me explain, and I think you will believe me.

While I am not the only one that has access to this technology, I might be the first one to go public with it this way.  The technology is not new, either. Almost a century ago a lone German scientist established the basic physics behind the system now being used to provide energy to MINI E 019. Most other scientists didn’t agree with his ideas then, but in 1921 he earned a Nobel Prize largely because of his pioneering work with photons.

It turns out that there is a fusion reactor that I have been granted access to through a government-funded program.  While this program is not actually a secret, you can’t participate in it unless you know the right people.  And do the right paperwork.  And then of course there is the waiting period.  All MINI E drivers know about waiting.

Nuclear fusion is the process of combining atomic nuclei together, and under the right circumstances this “fusing” produces energy.  The most basic form of nuclear fusion is the fusion of two hydrogen nuclei.  That is the process that provides most of the energy I get for MINI E 019.

Many of you have heard of “cold fusion”, which is a reference to fusion that happens at relatively low temperatures (under 50 °C).  So far cold fusion doesn’t work.  Regular old fusion happens at much higher temperatures (like 120,000,000 °C).

This high temperature makes it very difficult to get close to that fusion engine, and it is kind of hard to plug wires into it, so we use that century old technology I mentioned above to capture the energy from a safe distance.  The devices used to capture the photons emitted by the fusion reactor turn them into electrical energy, which then goes into the battery pack of my MINI E.

Okay, so there it is.  I told everyone about the fusion reactor.  I am glad I got that off my chest.  And just to bring the whole thing into the light of day, here is one more detail about this reactor – it can produce over 250 billion kWh every day.

If any of you want to know where this reactor is, please leave me a comment and I will send you a private e-mail with instructions on how to find it (I am not comfortable sharing this information out in the open).


20 Questions

Posted in Electric Car, Mini-E, MiniE on June 28, 2009 by davidvm

Robert (mentioned in my blog post earlier today) has published the first of 3 interviews he did with MINI E pioneers.  You can find that post here.  They each answered the same questions, so you will get 3 different perspectives on MINI E-ness.

The first guy that he interviewed looks vaguely familiar to me, like the mirror image of someone I know well.

Re-siting and near-sighting

Posted in Electric Car, Mini-E, MiniE, Solar Power on June 28, 2009 by nobullsavage

A few days ago I moved a copy of my blog to a new site: . This gives it a shorter name and lets me add a few more web features.  I will continue to update in both locations for a while as I decide which I like better.

My sister sent me a link to a site that has detailed instructions for making a magic potion that removes skunk odor.  After reading my last blog she feared that I might need it.  I have not tried it, and hope that I never do, but if you need it here is the link: (thank you Holly).  It sounds like it is easy to make, and he has an explanation of how the science works in his FAQ.

A couple of other bloggers have “sighted” other MINI Es while they were on the road. While I was out driving earlier today a fellow coming the other way in an SUV rolled down his window and said “hey, I have one of those, too!”  Turns out he lives near the top of the hill about a half mile from me.  He invited me to come by, and I will let you know when I do.  So, I haven’t seen another MINI E on the road, but at least I have had a near-sighting.

Well, I have seen one, really.  I took a friend of mine to the dealer to pick his up, and then we drove off the lot together, so I saw his.  He got to pick his up on his birthday!  And we think he was the first person to arrive in a MINI E to pick up a MINI E.  His is also solar powered.

Speaking of solar powered, I put a new frame around my license plate today to point out my earth-friendliness to everyone.  Here it is:

100% Solar

Some of you may have also noticed the cool “grill badge” on the left side of the plate.  That was given to me by Robert of TwistyBitz.  In addition to being a MINI Cooper fan, he also makes things for other MINI Cooper fans, like this grill badge and T-shirts and stuff.    He came by my house last weekend to have a look at the MINI E.  He has designed several more badges which can be seen at his blog.  His link is also on my list of MINI Cooper blogs over there —–>.

Robert also got me in touch with a group called Southern California MINI Maniacs (SCMM).  This is a group of MINI owners that get together to revel in all things MINI.  Once a month or so they gather for breakfast a few miles from here, so I plan on going out to see if they are all as crazy nice as Robert is.

I realize that some of you live in places far removed from the Left Coast (and you are happy about that).  You can also find groups of MINI owners near you.  As a matter of fact MOOT (MINI Owners Of Texas) have a Wiki set up that lists many of these clubs in various places.

As pioneers MINI E owners may not be the kind of people that join groups, and some of us are probably more EV oriented than MINI oriented.  Maybe if we had a group with a catchy name (or at least a catchy acronym) people would want to be associated with it.  I leave you with a few of my ideas, and encourage you to send me yours:

MEEP (MINI E Electric car People)

PAVE (People Against Vehicle Emissions)

EVDO (Electric Vehicle Drivers Organization)

DOME (Drivers Of MINI Es)

Close Encounter

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 by davidvm

I was planning to capture a few pictures of the MINI E in the beautiful evening light that occurs right around sunset.   As I uncovered the car I could see that it was positively glowing.  I unlocked the door, and as I prepared to open it, I saw this:

Close Encounter

I know the picture is not great.  I was more focused on not startling my new friend.

After I got back inside the house, I noticed that he was not alone…

Hmmm, no exhaust pipes.  Wonder what that means?

Hmmm, no exhaust pipes. Wonder what that means?

It turns out that he was part of a family – four little ones and an adult. They wandered all around 019, obviously enamored with the design and the minimal environmental impact.

From their vantage point the car is all tires and undercarriage. I am sure they noticed that there was no exhaust system (being experts on noxious emissions).  Even though they cannot see the solar charging system I am certain that their sensitive noses could tell that this car is really sweet smelling.  I am glad they left it that way.

I think these skunks might have French ancestors as they appear to like escargot.  We are amateur escargot ranchers here, and I am hoping that these fine examples of Mephitis mephitis will soon wipe out this season’s herd, and then move on.

MINI E 019’s Solar Array

Posted in Electric Car, Mini-E, MiniE, Solar Power on June 19, 2009 by nobullsavage

originally uploaded by PeterDuke.

Here I am on the roof with all the different panels. The original panels (from 6 years ago) from Shell Solar, and the newer ones from Kyocera. You can also see a bit of the solar water panels as well.

There is no sign of the MINI E in this photo, but this is where 019 gets its go juice.

In the background you can see the Paciifc Ocean, my daughter’s elementary school, and the ridge between us and Topanga Canyon Road.

Me, Mini Cooper E 019, Solar Panels, etc.

Posted in Electric Car, Mini-E, MiniE, Solar Power on June 19, 2009 by nobullsavage

Mini Cooper E 019, originally uploaded by PeterDuke.

My friend Peter Duke risked his life climbing up on my roof to take this shot of me and the MINI E with the solar panels in the foreground. The Kyocera panels on the left foreground are part of the new ones that were just added when the MINI E came to town. The right foreground shows a little corner of the solar water panels that heat my pool. Basically all of our roof that can have panels on it does have panels (shade and fire regulations limit it some).

Peter is a professional photographer, which is why this photo and the others that follow it look so good.

Also in this photo are a Smart Car (my wife’s car now) and our MINI Cooper Clubman S. You can also see the top of our GEM NEV out on the street.

019 has a fit of self expression

Posted in Electric Car, Mini-E, MiniE, Solar Power on June 12, 2009 by nobullsavage

When I uncovered my MINI E earlier today I discovered that the License Plate Elves had been busy at my house.  Here is what I found:


BLIKSEM is the Dutch word for “lightning” so it seems very appropriate for a car that is powered by electricity.

Now, some of you may wonder how I got the plate so fast (as I have only had 019 for 13 days 20 hours and 27 minutes).  You believe the myth that license plates are made by convicts in prisons and then they are distributed by the State whenever they get around to it.  In my state (California) this is not the case.  We would never let convicts near metal-working machinery as they might hurt themselves (or others).  And as our state is nearly out of money all state employees are too busy filling out various and sundry applications (employment, unemployment, retirement, immigration, emigration, etc.) to be able to do anything else (such as responding to applications for employment, unemployment, retirement, immigration, emigration, etc.).  Not to say that our state government is at a standstill, if it was, that would be an improvement.

License plates really come from License Plate Elves.  I know this, because I have met one.  Her name is Megan, and she pushed some buttons and some pictures danced around on a lighted piece of glass and she made our license plates magically fly off of one car and onto another.  She can usually be found in a glass box at Bob Smith BMW/Mini in Calabasas.  I think she only performs this magic occasionally, and only for people that leave gold coins on her desk and ask politely.

The other symbols on the back of the car are from (as is the magnetic holder they are attached to).  I think they are appropriate for an electric car.  I especially like the warning printed around the electric socket picture (on the right) it says “WARNING: Do not attempt to plug any electrical device into this image of an electrical outlet.  Doing so may cause serious injury, which may effect ones ability to drive.  Cooperflags is not liable for any injury that may occur.”