Archive for the Solar Power Category

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)


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.”

List of MINI E blogs

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

A list of other mini e bloggers that will keep you from going through pages of GoogleBlogSearch looking for real MINI E owners.

Please let me know as you learn of others, and I will add them! (111) (140) (017) (085, also solar) (304) (277) (269) (183) (486) (030) (230) (418) (053) (014) (148)


Posted in MiniE, Solar Power on June 11, 2009 by nobullsavage

I live about 17 miles from Bob Smith Mini Cooper, the dealer where I picked up my MINI E.  Most of those miles are on Topanga Canyon Road (TCR,  That is a good thing when you are in a MINI of any kind, as the road is nice and curvy.

On the way home with 019 I also appreciated the 1,300 foot drop that TCR takes over 11 miles from the top down to the Pacific.  For that drive I never touched the B.R.A.KE. pedal (see my original blog, below, if this is confusing) until I reached the red light at Pacific Coast Highway.  When I left the dealer my “miles remaining” indicator showed 90, at the top of Topanga, it read 88.  At the bottom of the canyon it showed 91 miles remaining, basically “regening” about 3 miles over the 11 miles of downhill driving at an average speed of about 40.

For almost that entire drive down Topanga the “Power” indicator was on the plus side.  I learned on that drive that I could put a little pressure on the G.A.S. pedal to maintain my speed at the limit and still “regen”.  It was a very cool new way to drive.

When I got home a couple miles later and another 350 feet up from sea level the car still read 90 miles available.  I think there are several reasons for this seeming “free ride” home from the dealer:

  1. The elevation change, net downhill.
  2. Improved “mileage”(explanation follows).
  3. Cooler batteries.
  4. Display increments (90.4 and 89.6 both read as 90).
  5. Measure is approximate.

The computer inside the MINI E must calculate the remaining miles by looking at the charge in the battery and then dividing that by the “mileage” the vehicle is getting, probably averaged over time (I don’t know exactly what the parameters are for that).  The “mileage” on the display is expressed as Amp hours per 100 miles, shown on the display as XXAh/100.  The average mileage my MINI E showed when I picked it up was 78Ah/100 miles.  I assume this is below average, as the car had not been driven under optimal conditions before I got it.  I have recently reset the display and I will let you know what I average later on.

That drive home along Topanga was optimal in more ways than one – all regen, no use of that pedal on the left, and lots of nice curvy road.  This lowered the Ah per 100 miles (to 76), and thereby raised the “miles remaining”.  It also raised the corners of my mouth, while lowering my blood pressure.

A new way of driving

Posted in MiniE, Solar Power with tags , , , , on June 7, 2009 by nobullsavage

I was fortunate to be among the first dozen MiniE recipients, and have now had my car for about 10 days.  They take a little getting used to, so I thought I would help out you new owners a little by letting you in on a few of the things I have learned so far.

First of all, I have noticed that some of the blogs by new owners refer to the great handling of the car and the great ergonomics of the interior and how cute the car is.  These people have obviously never owned a Mini Cooper before.  They are ALL like that.  What I want to do here is focus on the things that make the MiniEs different from their petrol-powered road mates.

You will notice that there are two pedals used to control the electric motor.  The number of pedals is not unique, but their function is.

The right-most pedal, commonly called an “accelerator” in vehicles that haul around tanks full of liquefied dinosaurs, makes the car do two things – Go And Slow.  I like to refer to it as the G.A.S. pedal (pronounced “gas”).  As you apply pressure to the pedal the car will go; as you reduce pressure on the pedal the car will slow (and eventually stop).

To the left of the G.A.S. pedal you will find another pedal that Basically Removes All Kinetic Energy from the vehicle (which conveniently spells out another easy to pronounce acronym – “B.R.A.K.E.”).  When you use this pedal on the East Coast it will bring the car to a complete stop.  This pedal is not used in California.

One of the things I have noticed from the other blogs about the MiniE is that they are filled with statics – references to “charge” times, Kw per 100 miles, even the number of speeding tickets the driver has received while driving the MiniE.  While numbers might be important to some people I plan to ignore all of the numeric output from my MiniE’s computer (and only the DMV will know how many tickets I get).

One number is important, however, and that is your side scuttle number.  It says so much about your MiniE, telling you about its desires, Life Path and destiny.  My MiniE is number 19, suggesting that it entered this world with strengths allowing it to become a leader (like a 150Kw power plant).  It was also born with individualistic desires and significant creative inspiration, but that is true of all Mini Coopers.  I will let you know how my MiniE acts on those desires and inspirations as they manifest on this plane of existence.