Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Trip to the Local BMW Dealership

Last week, I was out running some errands, and enjoying the beautiful top down weather we've been having here in Arizona, when I found myself near one of our local BMW dealerships.  I've mentioned before that a number of people have encouraged me to take the car to BMW thinking they would be very interested in seeing it.  I thought about it for a moment, realized I had a half hour to spare, and decided to stop.

I figured the best way to break the ice, so to speak, would be to ask if they had any information about their EV program.  There's been plenty of things mentioned on the web about the Megacity, and the potential of putting an electric BMW 1 series into production, so you can imagine I was a bit surprised when the salesman said they knew nothing of any EV programs within BMW.  "Huh, you don't say?"  I didn't see any reason in informing him of the programs they are working on.

I told him that I was interested in an electric BMW, so much so that I built my own.  He seemed a bit surprised and mildly interested.  He asked if the engine kicked in after the batteries were depleted, and I explained it no longer had an engine.  That surprised him, and he said he'd like to see the car.

We walked out into the parking lot and I showed him the car.  I pointed out how it was impossible to tell the car had been altered from outward appearances.  After looking at it for a moment, he exclaimed that he had to go get others to see it.  In all, about 7 different guys came out to look at the car.  A few asked the usual questions, but only 2 really seemed interested in it.  Within 5 minutes most had waked away, but the gentleman I'd met when I walked in stayed and continued to ask questions.  He asked if I'd be willing to bring it back by when one of their traveling technicians was in town.  He felt certain this technician would like to see it, so I told him I would.

Over all, it was a pleasant experience, but pretty much what I expected.  No enthusiastic commitments to pass the information up to corporate, or anything like that.  Nor were they completely uninterested in the project.  It just struck them as an interesting peculiarity brought to them out of the blue.  I made it clear that the car worked fine in day to day traffic and that it was my daily driver.  I hope it impressed upon him the reality that EVs do have the potential to be a successful, useful addition to any garage, but who knows.   What I do know is I'm looking forward to whatever BMW does come out with for the EV market.  But then I'm also interested in the Tesla Model S, Audi's E-tron cars, and VW's electric Golf among others.  My hope is that inside of a couple years, there are going to be a number of great EVs to choose from.


Gam0ra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gam0ra said...

I've come to pin my hopes on the Rav4 EV. Apparently the ones that were made back in the 90s were awesome and the new ones will have a drive train by Tesla. Plus there's some hope I'll actually fit in one comfortably.

Tim Catellier said...

That's another one I'm looking forward to. I tried to buy one of the original ones, but they told me I had to buy 10. Those Rav4s still sell for upwards near $30K. They've held their value very well. I think they used a nickle metal hydride battery pack. I've seen several that have racked up well over 75K miles with the original pack still going strong.

I'm really eager to see how they'll do with the Tesla drive train in them, and how much they're going to cost.

Rob said...

Tim, I have a boxster project that is similar to your Z3 in several ways. Except I used K2 cells instead of Thundersky. I am a bit disappointed in the real amp hours of my pack compared to spec, which diminishes range and overall performance by 30%. The guys at Revolt have tried to contact K2, but no response yet. If I could lower min voltage setting, I think performance would be better, but I don't want to damage the batteries. Or maybe I do, so I can replace them with better cells!

What do you set your minimum voltage on your Zilla before it limits amperage from the pack? Are you concerned about going below minimum voltage on the spec sheet during accelerations?

I get about 40 miles range safely, so I am not doing too bad. But it was supposed to be 60 miles. I guess I will make it work as long as possible before replacing the pack with something else.