Chester Township man is one of few testing allelectric Mini Cooper NJ com

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Chester Township man is one of few testing Mini Cooper

CHESTER Even in the most congested in America, where vehicles on highways fade into a blur of colors, Tom Moloughney s car out.

Perhaps it s the STARVE A DRIVE ELECTRIC! bumper or the EF-OPEC license plates.

it s the plug graphics on the all-electric Cooper prototype, including the where the gas cap normally would be.

who owns an Italian restaurant in has for more than a year part of a small pilot testing an all-electric BMW Group car as the Mini E.

He runs the vehicle the way he powers his laptop computer: By it in and charging it.

Moloughney, of Chester has solar panels at home and his own clean renewable electricity to his car, making him among the people in the United States to use the

In the fall, after the battery-powered Leaf and Chevy Volt hit the Moloughney won t feel quite so when he s driving.

When I down the highway, I look at all cars, he said. I m the only one s electric. The only one that s not The only one that doesn t a tailpipe sticking out of the back of it. And in a months, that s going to

Moloughney, 43, owner of Nauna s never imagined he would an outspoken advocate for electric

Sure, he always liked up with technology and getting the cell phone. Still, he filled out an online application on a to drive an all-electric Mini he didn t figure it would to much.

Matt Rainey/The Tom Moloughney, who has solar panels at and produces his own clean renewable to power his car — making him one of the people in the U.S. to use this — is part of a small program in which he is testing an BMW car.

But there he was in a Quick parking lot this month, into a friendly boasting with the owner of a new Toyota hybrid electric-and-gas car.

It s not often you re parked next to a car uses less gasoline you do, Moloughney said, firing the shot in an OK Corral type over who was greener.

I get 50 mpg, the Prius owner I doubt this does.

explained his vehicle wasn t a but an all-electric car that cost him $3.50 to go 100 miles.

He did some math and realized he wasn t the efficient car on the road as he thought he Moloughney wrote in his blog. to ruin your day,

There are 612 of the identical Mini E in five countries around the Moloughney is driving car No. 250.

He s a great spokesman on behalf of us and the and he s been a real pioneer, Richard Steinberg, manager of vehicle operations and strategy for BMW of America in Woodcliff Lake. He has put 30,000 miles on the Mini, and to our that is the most for the Mini. He has become sort of an evangelist for the EV vehicle) concept.

Within a few Moloughney went from a car he thought might be interesting to his lifestyle and changing the way he thought energy use.

Moloughney pays $600 a to lease the electric vehicle, but has no gas or oil and BMW pays for all maintenance and repairs he drives the test mule will provide data for use on a BMW electric car known as the Megacity. He he saved more than in gas expenses the first year.

Joe head of Auto Trends in Short Hills, said the fear people have of cars is that they run out of power on the street. He experienced fear while test a Mini E at a BMW event in South during the spring.

When began the trip, the car was about 75 charged. Driving on tabletop roads, at normal speeds for a short duration, he looked and noticed the car was down to 25 or 26 percent

I got a sense of what range could be like, Phillippi In about 22 or 23 miles, I used up half of the battery.

Moloughney drivers are on a leash, but it is not as short as would think.

I have managed to live it fine, he said. I live 32 from my job. I have a 65-mile-a-day commute. I put 38,000 on the car in 14 months.

That s way more most people drive. I got stuck.

The car usually can go 100 to 120 miles needing a recharge; 130 miles was his best. He has used the car to travel to and Citi Field in Queens, the Water Gap and the Connecticut border. charges his car at home and at work.

It takes a little under hours to fully charge the

Nowadays, Moloughney thinks of in round-trip miles.

Before I got car, I was thinking, my friend s oh, that s only 35 miles he said. It s 70 miles now. You change the way you think of driving.

On a day at his home, he can make about 60 of energy, and the car travels about 4 for every kilowatt.

Towns, Montclair, are applying for grants to get stations. Businesses such as McDonald s and Costco, knowing will have a captive while the vehicle is being also are installing them on properties, mostly in California at point. Integrated GPS on the electric would let drivers know they could find the public charging stations and they have enough to make their destination.

The 205-horsepower Mini E that drives can book, traveling up to 95 mph a quick pickup. Under the it has what looks like a suitcase. That s the power unit, the brains of the car, the vehicle, among other how much charge it can accept and to accelerate or decelerate.

Every miles, BMW checks the car and collects

Inside, it mostly looks a regular car well, except for a battery pack that up the entire back-seat area. And the tachometer would normally be, s a charge meter. The battery will be hidden in future

The car is not silent, but extremely quiet.

The the BMW Megacity, is expected to cost in the price range.

Moloughney has the E until June, at which he will get an all-electric BMW 1 Series car as the ActiveE.

Because electric vehicles few moving parts, Moloughney long-term maintenance costs be low. The cars have braking, slowing to a stop the driver lets up on the accelerator, wear on the brake pads and at the recharging the batteries.

How much has enjoyed the all-electric car?

year, he only drove his Porsche Boxster sports car 500

You can make your own electricity in a renewable way, he said. can drill their own oil. You thinking about it, and it all adds up.


• Rutgers’ solar panels show shift

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