Marco’s first electric Mini trip: nice, but what a stress

Marco’s first electric Mini trip: nice, but what a stress
Marco’s first electric Mini trip: nice, but what a stress

The Mini Cooper SE of our reader: it has a maximum range between 235 and 270 km.

Marco’s first electric Mini trip, another reader who agreed to share the (complicated) approach with an EV. His story follows that of Marco, with the Peugeot e-208. Di Ivan with the used Nissan Leaf. Di Daniele with the Kia e-Niro. Di Antonio, with the 500. Another Antonio, with the Renault Twingo, Luigi, with the Tesla Model Y, Franco with the VW ID.3. Anyone wishing to share their impressions of the switch to electric can write to us at [email protected].

from Marco Fontana

VI would like to share my first “long haul” travel experience on mine Mini Cooper SE for an official meeting of the MCCI club (Mini Club Central Italy). Even before leaving, at the time of registration, my participation aroused doubts and perplexities both in the family and among the members of my club (Enjoy Your Mini). The perplexities, as it is easy to guess, mainly concerned the lack of autonomy of the car. But also the belief that electric mobility today requires too many sacrifices to comfort.

The first trip in Mini: all the anxiety from inexperience

The route included the departure from Viterbo, the arrival to Rasiglia, lunch near Trevi and finally a visit to Spoleto. In the past I had already participated in rallies in other parts of Italy and I knew very well the emotion, the joy, the friendly atmosphere that reigns. I could not miss it. Even if now, with a used Mini Electric taken for two weeks, the inexperience and little knowledge of the vehicle, the fear of go home in a wagon gear it was tangible… Armed with holy patience, I started a few days earlier to download specific apps for electric navigation, apps from the various charging managers. To then program the routes, the charging stages, plans A, B and C to go to Viterbo, then to Rasiglia and finally home (Priverno). Trying to have a large safety margin with a few more stops than expected; well, I don’t deny it, it was a bit stressful …“.

INEXPERIENCE ANXIETY / The eye always on the display to see how many km remain …

The first trip in Mini: first topping up after… 50 km

Finally the adventure begins, departure early in the morning in the company of my son, he too excited to attend the event. Once filled up at home, the car navigator, but also other apps, suggest a brief “fast” top-up in Anagni after just 50km. Then go to the motorway restaurant Flaminia East For others 95km circa. Just one of the apps, PCC (Power Cruise Control) has different plans, for her the stop of Anagni is not necessary. However, in the end, in order not to have anxieties, I did that too. The outward journey on the motorway was fairly straightforward, the Mini in the XL version has all the comforts and options possible. Then like any electric car, the absence of vibrations and the silence of travel make you really relax, perhaps even too much … Once we arrive at the Flaminia Est motorway service station and put the car in charge, we also take advantage of the stop to have breakfast and attend to some needs.

The anxiety subsides, the fun grows, like a go-kart

The only electric among many Mini at the meeting in Umbria in which the reader participated.

Between queues at the cash desk and at the toilet, he nearly ran out of charge before we recharged the car that we have to have breakfast! Finally arrived in Viterbo, here is the first unexpected and the first error of evaluation. There fast DC post suggested and to be able to top up the charge to 100%, it is out of order, only the other slower in AC free and available. I decide to use the latter. Unfortunately, there was not much time available. In order to complete the charge, I decide to move to another fast column nearby. And once found, in about 10 minutes here I am ready to arrive at the meeting point and starting point of the tour. The journey to Rasiglia was better than I thought. Path, About 120 km between climbs and descents, allowed to self-recharge the car in different points: I traveled km but the battery charge was always stable. But above all I had a great time: the Mini Cooper SE really brought out all its go-kart feeling!“.

“I arrive at the Mini rally: mine is the only electric one”

EVERYONE AT THE TABLE / Electric or not, we end up celebrating at lunch, as in any self-respecting gathering.

Once in Rasiglia, I have more energy than I thought, so much so that I can get to the restaurant in complete tranquility. Among all the participants are the only one with a car electric, surrounded by roaring engines of all kinds and times. The silence of my almost anachronistic Mini, a “dumb” Mini. But no less handsome than the others, so much so as to arouse some perplexity among those who thought from the beginning that I would soon be vanished somewhere in search of refill. Upon arriving at the restaurant, lunch was equally enjoyable. Meeting old friends again, after a long time, is like reliving that normalcy that seemed lost. A lot of curiosity from the other participants, with the classic questions about autonomy and consumption, animated the confrontation“.

“Accessibility of the columns badly reported, a problem”

Here, between one dish and another, between toasts and awards, even the time available to me comes to an end. It is time to face the return journey, even if the good (or rather the bad) is yet to come … Other unforeseen events and others errors of evaluation due to inexperience, they meant that the time to return home was longer than that estimated in the travel plans. I knew from the beginning that in the vicinity of the restaurant there were no fast columns in DC and then I would have to slowly recharge in AC. But that wasn’t the problem. What made me waste time was the incorrect reporting on the accessibility of some columns, with the temporary lack of a cell phone network. And the additional path done in more to find alternatives, things that, added to the slower recharge, have meant that the return time ...increased by 2 hours “.

ON-BOARD INSTRUMENTS / App on the display, app on the mobile phone …

“With apps you can predict a lot, but not everything …”

Traveling today by electric for long distances and with limited autonomy is not impossible but not too simple either. If, due to a series of coincidences, you find yourself without a network, with columns not properly signaled and without sufficient charge to look for fast alternatives, well, it is really a stress … Anyway, as soon as the phone is back online, I managed to activate the recharge and charge the necessary to arrive ad places, where fortunately there are two quick points. Only in the meantime, the traffic was also taking its toll and made me waste more precious time. Arrived in Orte with 9% charge, then in 38 mInside scarce I was almost full (97%) to finally go home. This time, however, I trusted Power Cruise Control: the stored charge would take me home and it did !. Yet, before leaving I had made several alternative plans trying to contemplate all the possible unforeseen events, but it was not enough, I understood that there are things that can be foreseen and others that they depend a lot on the context of the moment ”.

The mistakes I’ve made (wasting time)

  1. On the outward journey I made an unnecessary top-up in Anagni. PCC was right, I was consuming less than what the car indicated but I didn’t trust it
  2. In Viterbo when I found the fast post out of order, I thought of using the slow one nearby instead of going immediately to find the fast one
  3. In Rasiglia I wasted time to no avail, after I had seen everything, instead of optimizing the times by looking for some slow columns that would have benefited me once I left the restaurant;
  4. Download a dozen apps of managers and navigators for EV only serves to create confusion. Which ones did I really need? Power Cruise Control and Nextcharge.
The poster of the Mini rally.

The first trip in Mini, in short: strong sensations, if only …

It would be enough to equip the main arteries with several fast columns and also improve their visibility. Some of the ones I met really were almost hidden, as if their presence were a shame to cover. It would be enough to have the opportunity to pay by credit card or debit card and not just with apps or rfid cards! Ultimately, what people need is to have simple, straightforward things to use. Without having to take a degree in order to understand how to plan a simple trip. Despite the difficulties and inexperience, the journey almost 600 km in total it allowed me to visit lesser known places in an alternative way. Through the discovery or rediscovery of paths, landscapes, beautiful villages that our territory is equipped with. And above all to deny those who did not expect anything else see me get back on a tow truck! Seriously, it was a really strong feeling, but good for both of us!

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