Dan Neil: There is no "rumble". Remember, EV's are quiet.
The following letter is a slightly shortened version of my response to Dan Neil's article in the LA Times today.
I just read your article today about the MINI E program and I have to say that I’m pretty disappointed to see what I’m reading. I don’t dispute the facts of the article and I know virtually all the details.
I think the spirit of the article is off base and you place Sam Freeman in the position that many EV1 drivers were in – a handful of radical EV-lovers surround by a world of combustion-engine lovers (translation: oil money). Furthermore, the criticisms about BMW noted in your article are sharply unbalanced against the realities and positives of the program.
BMW has been extremely upfront with us about the program. The suggestion by Chelsea Sexton (whose husband works for Tesla I just learned) that BMW has botched the program is a complete overstatement. Since you are referring people to her organization, she also suggests elsewhere that BMW is somehow plotting to reenact the crimes of the EV1 program which is just ludicrous. We all knew there were going to be delays. There was never the slightest promise that we were going to own these cars and the tax issue was always something we were going to deal with as it developed. The negative comments I’ve been reading and getting on my blog are from people outside the program and usually full of agenda-driven mis-information. Too bad for EV’s. If you look for the positive comments, they far outweigh the negatives.
To the people who criticize me for paying $850 per month to be part of this program, I ask: how many people get a rare chance to drive a hugely valuable prototype vehicle for one year? I don’t know anyone – unless they work for the manufacturer. Besides the fact that this is one of the coolest cars on the road, prototype or not. Every one of the 30+ people I’ve given test drives to, want to know when they can get their own. Prototypes by definition are going to have issues. People that don’t understand that have no business being anywhere near this program.
Were there delays? Yes. Could things have been done better? Yes. But I challenge anyone to run a program where you are putting out hundreds of prototype cars to consumers and get it done without hitches. There are a thousand little details they had to get right. Guess what? I have an amazing car that runs really well and is the envy of thousands of people (almost 21,000 on my blog as of today).
Finally, do people really think that EV’s aren’t worth the effort? I know you’ve driven this car. Can you not to see the future when you’re behind the wheel? Could it be that BMW wants to have EV’s in their product line? Oh, what a crime!
There is no “rumble in the electric-car jungle” of Pacific Palisades. Come on over and I’ll introduce you to the people I talk to. They love the car.