MINI E on Ice Pure Electric Cars Not Ready for Prime Time? Autobytel com

22 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи MINI E on Ice Pure Electric Cars Not Ready for Prime Time? Autobytel com отключены
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MINI E on Ice — Pure Electric Cars Not Ready for Prime Time?

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MINI E on Ice — Pure Electric Cars Not Ready for Prime Time?

With plug-in hybrids like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and the soon to be released Toyota Prius plug-in edition seemingly just on the horizon, many automotive shoppers are wondering if they should delay their new car purchases for just a few months more. The upshot? To see if they can score the next generation of electric vehicle instead of a currently available hybrid.

On the surface, if one is in the position to tough it out a little longer with the current daily driver then it might seem like a fairly solid strategy to delay as long as possible in order to benefit from the cutting edge technology that will be made available through the vehicles listed above. However, it is important to keep in mind that when it comes to automobiles, the difference between the ‘cutting edge’ and the ‘tried and true’ can sometimes spell headaches from a reliability perspective. This is largely due to the fact that advanced vehicle designs may not always respond to real-world driving conditions the same way as they did in the lab or the test track.

Drivers tapped by MINI to put the MINI E electric vehicle through its paces on the streets and highways of the United States have discovered exactly this once the Mercury began to drop during the winter months. Since December, several of the 450 MINI E testers have been reporting significant decreases in the range of their battery-powered compacts that directly correlate with colder outdoor temperatures. Each of the automobiles is designed to be able to travel 100 miles on a single charge, a marker that the MINI E had no trouble reaching during the summer and fall.

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Unfortunately, once the snow began to accumulate the same vehicles now had trouble reaching even 80 miles per charge. Some reports noted that with the thermometer showing well below the freezing point, the MINI E barely made it 55 miles, and even that dismal figure was achieved only by taking a two hour charging break midway through the journey.

While MINI claims that the MINI E is not necessarily in its final production form, it is interesting to note that the 450 car test roll-out is limited to California, New York and New Jersey. Only one of those states is particularly known for its frigid winter climate, which indicates that given a truly freezing winter spent in Minnesota or North Dakota, the plug-in compact might fare even worse.

It is obvious that one automaker’s troubles with its battery system do not automatically transfer over to all other electric vehicles. That being said, the MINI E test is one of the few all-weather evaluation initiatives to have been performed in the U.S. and it could point towards a less than certain future for electric vehicles sold in chilly regions of the country. Neither Chevrolet nor Nissan have given any indication as to whether they will take part in the same time of extensive testing as that initiated by MINI, while Toyota seems content to let its previous experience with the gasoline / electric Toyota Prius stand on its own.

Although it is still too early to tell, it would seem that for drivers who will be counting on their battery-powered cars to lug through tough winter conditions, early models might be more of a gamble than a sure thing. The MINI E test is ongoing, and the other major players in the market segment will certainly be paying attention to how the brand reacts to the vehicle’s poor cold weather performance. At the most extreme, it could send these companies back to the drawing board in terms of charging system design, or even limit their distribution of electric vehicles to warmer areas of the country during their initial release.

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