Tuesday, June 23, 2009

50 MINI E in Berlin an ihre Nutzer übergeben

Dass MINI von dem Erfolg des Elektro MINIs überrollt wurde, steht außer Frage. Die Folge: Es werden deutlich mehr, als die ursprünglich 500 geplanten MINI E gebaut. Über genaue Zahlen schweigt sich MINI aus. Nur gut, dass die Side Scuttles die Produktionsnummer verraten.Read all about it at BIGBLOG.MOTORING.

Auf Wiedersehen,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

KABC-TV Eyewitness News

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. (KABC) -- You see lots of Mini Coopers around Southern California, but Peter Trepp's new Mini is pretty special -- it is electric.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Electricity & Chocolate

Driving my new MINI E around town that first week was unceremonious and uneventful. I expected people to honk and ask me to roll down my window! But no. I expected people to stop me in the parking lot and ask where I got my car? But no. I practically had to beg people to notice my cool new all-electric car. I thought about leaving the “gas” cap open so people could see the “NO FUEL” sticker inside.

Today, things are different. With all the press MINI E #111 has received, it’s hard to walk into Starbucks without having a 15 minute discussion about the car. “How is it?” “Is everything okay?” Like I just gave birth or something. “He’s doing fine,” I report. “I’m taking good care of him.” The good part is that I get honks and lots and lots of smiles.
My wife, Suzanne, came up with the personalized M&M’s. Yes, they match the colors of the car and you can order your own too. You can find them online at the M&M store here (My M&M’s).

In my live interview on May 28 with CNBC’s Dennis Kneale (link), he posed a final rhetorical question where he asks “…how green are you?”, suggesting that charging my MINI E with electricity requires the burning of dirty coal in order to generate that same electricity. Unfortunately, he did not let me answer this question for which I was fully prepared. Of course, we burn coal in the U.S., but there are so many other compelling reasons why EV’s make sense even if we are burning some coal. In an upcoming blog I will explore the trade-offs between gas-powered, hybrid and pure electric-powered cars. And I will discuss power generation issues including coal, nuclear and solar. Stay tuned.

The most commonly asked question. My response: “It’s fast!” If there is time, I try to take everyone I can for a test drive. Before people leave the car, they want to know when they can get one. Even the “I’m not into cars” women are pleasantly surprised, and they should be. This car looks and feels like a full-fledged production vehicle. I was just lucky enough to find one while it was still a prototype.

Around town, the MINI E is fun enough. However, on the open road you can really enjoy the smooth silence that one can only get from driving an EV. It’s more than the terrific torque you get when you instantly demand it. There is something humanely satisfying about knowing that you’re not adding to the smog layer in Los Angeles. And that people in parking lots and nearby schools are not breathing noxious fumes as you drive by.

I miss the back seats more than I thought. It’s not like I didn’t know they weren’t there in the first place; but I do miss them.
I miss an integrated Bluetooth connection. I know there are 3rd-party devices I can buy, but I miss the integration.
I miss the center armrest.

I don’t miss going to the gas station
I don’t miss touching and breathing fuel
I don’t miss the roar of the engine

Just in case you’re not sure which one is mine, I’ve ordered a custom license plate. The new plate will read: MINI 111


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ABC News Tonight

If you are in the Los Angeles area and care to see a short interview featuring the MINI E, tune into KABC-TV Channel 7 at 11:00 pm PDT. I was interviewed by Dave Kunz, ABC's automotive reporter about my MINI E. Dave also interviewed Tim Smith at Bob Smith MINI in Calabasas.

KABC-TV told me that they will post the interview on their website soon and I will post the link here for all to see when it is available.

Mileage: 444 miles
Average Range: 98 miles
Speeding Tickets: 0 (1 close call)
Price of Gas Since May 1: Up $0.45 per gallon
Visits to the Gas Station: 0
Rides for Friends: Lost count over 20


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Isn't It Ironic?

How is General Motors doing 10 years after halting production of the EV1? It turns out, not so well. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, June 1, 2009. In 2003, GM said that they could not sell enough EV1s to make the program profitable. Instead, they focused on less efficient vehicles with virtually no hedge on their big-car strategy. The oil companies rejoiced.

Rick Wagoner, former Chairman & CEO of GM, said that his worst decision of his tenure at GM was “axing the EV1 electric-car program and not putting the right resources into hybrids.”

Larry Burns, GM’s R&D Chief, told Newsweek in March 2007 that he now wishes GM hadn’t killed the plug-in hybrid EV1 prototype his engineers had on the road a decade ago. He added, “If we could turn back the hands of time, we could have had the Chevy Volt 10 years earlier.”

The MINI E is not just another EV. A Field Trial with current technology is an incredibly important opportunity for consumers and a huge data collection exercise for BMW. In my view, this significantly improves the chances of this car going into production one day. It is also important to note that the MINI E is the first in a series of cars that will come from BMW’s new “Program i”. BMW is rumored to announce the next car in this program soon. What do you think it will be?

Almost nobody gets into my MINI E and expects it to perform better than a golf cart. I admit feeling the same sense of surprise when I first drove it and thinking that this car feels better and performs better than its brethren. One friend summed it up nicely for me, “…I can see the future when I drive this car.”

Believe it or not, you can see me on TV again this week. On Friday, I will be interviewed by ABC News for a segment that is scheduled to air that evening locally and then may go nationally over the weekend or early next week. Stay tuned for more details.

Many congratulations to the MINI E Pioneers who have started taking delivery of their cars. I never knew I had so many friends. I hope you are all enjoying the car as much as I have. When is the first MINI E road rally?