Saturday, October 27, 2012

the climb to mighty frazier - part 1

10272012 0741 well edison and i are once again off to an adventure. edison has been my constant companion for almost 8 months now with 14,900+ miles to boot. we'd have our share of drivetrain malfunctions, 3x to be exact but so far trouble-free in the last 3.5 months and 7K miles. range anxiety has but disappeared; however, separation anxiety is always in the back of my mind. but so far so good!

10272012 0825 my climb to Frazier was an idea I hatched just a few days ago. this weekend is the worldwide CQ contest. although I am not an avid ham radio operator, my brothers are and well, I'm married to a ham after all. they want to recreate the good old days of roughing it 16 years ago at the same location saying repeatedly and incessantly, "CQ CQ DX," sans being snowed in. this is their trip. although i am not one to rough it, i thought of making this trip mine too, perhaps a family affair with my grumbling teenage boy and my enthusiastic bubbly loving 9-yr old baby. my husband thinks I'm crazy. what do you know, he speaks the truth!

gears were whirring in my head as I planned out this climb. I could go to Kohls or Nissan in Valencia for a charge. i picked up the phone and dialed Nissan, got the GM on the line, Daniel, his name is, to ask for permission to charge at their dealership. graciously, he said look for Junior at the service area by 8am Saturday morning and I should be able to top off before the climb. weather forecast is typical SoCal temp of 55-68 degrees. Frazier peak is towering at 8,091 feet ASL, from Valencia a distance 40.6 miles and 6,841 ft gain climb. it's perfectly doable starting from 99% SOC.

i don't think this climb is by any means a record breaking feat for an EV but perhaps for the BMW ActiveE it is. correct me if I am wrong though, my fellow electronauts. my inspiration, you might ask? our dear old jack brown of NorCal, who dared to trek from the bay area to LA in a day!!! true to our electronaut tradition, he will always be my hero.

now as I sit here at Mimi's cafe eating and blogging at the same time, I feel very blessed. not only is Edison sipping on juice courtesy of Nissan, I was also chauffeured here by Junior; he even offered to pick me up once Edison is fully charged. wow, red carpet treatment!!! so let me just give a shout out to NISSAN OF VALENCIA. you guys ROCK!!! I realize that we, in the EV community, have come a long way in this movement. in just as little as a few years ago, dealerships won't even bat an eye in saying, "no you can't charge here 'cause you did not buy your car here!" it's been an amazing journey to get to where we are now. when I get atop Frazier peak, I will breath it all in. our dream, our movement, our passion is becoming a reality: to a cleaner, healthier, quieter world!

see you at the peak!!! part 2 coming soon...


10272012 1035 SOC 99% time to call junior. I'm so spoiled!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Charge Bandit

03.20.2012.1751 [Day 21]

I got home and asked my 16-yo son to plug my car in; he did, after grumbling something under his breath as he got out of the car. Teenagers! My observant little one says, "Mommy your car is not charging. The blue light is not blinking." I looked at my 110v charger, blinking red and green lights... great! This was not unfamiliar as it's happened before but my husband is pretty handy and could usually figure out anything electronic and fix it. He looked up the error (apparently the blinking lights mean something) changed the extension cord from the garage and grounded the wiring (sounds Greek to me). Well, he's not called Mr. Fix It for nothing. (In fact, if you happen to drop your iPhone on a concrete floor and shatter the glass face, he's your guy! It's been proven. I've done it twice! But I digress, which I do a lot.) I left Edison (aka, my ActiveE; see earlier post) unplugged, texted my husband (my personal tech support), and confidently rest in the thought that the 110v charger (is that what it's called, Tom?) issue would be resolved later that night. What can I say, it's the optimist in me.

Well, my husband got home, plugged in Edison with the trickle cord thingy to get some power juice. Red light was still blinking but it started to make this buzzing noise. Oh, shoot! That's what Adam Meislik posted as the signs and symptoms of a dying charger. Sure enough, it took its last breath and DIED! No more lights blinking... no more lights... DEAD! We did not even have a chance to see if there was a DNR order.

What was I to do? I didn't really want to use my gas-guzzling ICE (17mls/gal) at $4.449/gal anymore!!! On the average, that's how much I pay to get a full charge and an average of 95 mls on Edison. 95 v 17 mls??? Hmmmm.... this means I would have to pay 5x to drive the same distance with my ICE. You can understand my apprehension! That's not even including the cost of carbon emissions to our health. Don't get me started! Stay tuned for coming entries...

It was a little after 10 PM when I decided to take my Edison to the nearby Nissan dealership to see if the EVSEs were not being used or ICEd. And voila! Both spots were available. I parked and plugged in. Edison was happy. I shall see him in a few hours; yet I was anxious; wanted to make sure he would be ok; that nobody would mess with him. I even wanted to go back as I forgot to leave my business card so they know who to call in case they have a problem with my parking/charging on their lot. My BMW dealer info is still on my windshield so I guess they could call them. Still, I experienced a bit of separation anxiety that I couldn't sleep for an hour or so. The BMW Remote app on my iPhone finally updated and I was relieved... charging 43%... Note that I have spoken to this Nissan Service Dept a few weeks ago; they were hesitant at first but got permission to charge there during off hours.

My husband woke me up at 0434 in the morning to pick up Edison. As I walked to unplug him, I couldn't help but feel like a charge bandit, feeling like I should not be there. But all was well with Edison. He was smiling (see photo), ecstatic to see me! And I him!!!

To think this is just the beginning of the adventure of little Ms. Electronaut! Come to think of it, with the money saved and decreased carbon footprint, I really made out like a bandit! Thank you, Nissan. I shall see you again.

Making a difference, one EV mile at a time,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Name that Car!!!

03.18.2012 [Day 19]

Today we named my ActiveE. My ActiveE was sexually indeterminate since I picked it up on that glorious day 02.29.2012. I was not really sure if I was going to name it EVe or StEVe as a play on EV. But my dear husband opposed me and said both names are much too common. Since we were in the midst of developing a 3rd grade science experiment, we started thinking of scientists. Tesla: already taken; Einstein: photoelectric effect used in solar cells but I don't have solar (yet); Edison: hmmmm, that has a nice *buzz* to it. And since I will be sipping from SCE - Southern California EDISON for a while... EDISON it is!

E fficient
D ynamic
I nnovative
S ustainable
O ptimum
N ovel

Congratulations, it's a BOY! Say hello to EDISON!!!