How long does the battery last?

Saturday 3rd March 2012

How long does the battery last? A question that we all get asked – I think that they are really asking, How far can you drive on a single charge?

Our plan for the afternoon was to take a drive in the ActiveE for fun rather than necessity, even though driving the ActiveE is just fun anyway.  We wanted to see how well the battery did. The weather didn’t look good in the morning when we awoke to fog and rain, but we’re British, after all, so that wouldn’t stop us.  By the afternoon the rain had stopped and the sun had started to make an appearance so it looked like our drive would be more pleasant.

We set off with Michael adamant that he knew where we were going, he said that he had a drive planned out.  We had only been driving for ten minutes when we had to stop and switch on the Satellite Navigation when he suddenly wasn’t quite so sure anymore.  It turned out we had already gone the wrong way!  With the car going in the right direction again, we settled back to enjoy the drive and take in some new scenery.  The day was warm enough that we could turn off the HVAC – isn’t it great having a car where the interior fan is noisier than the engine?  I know I’ve said this before but the ActiveE is such a pleasure to drive, it responds well to all that is asked of it and it does so quietly.

The mileage on the ActiveE seems to be true to what it says.  Whereas the MINI E seemed to go up and down more, the ActiveE seems more stable.  When we first get in the car in a morning the difference between the range reported in regular mode and Eco mode is quite significant, there can be a 12 mile difference.

— Eco mode —

The ActiveE has “Eco mode”. When you engage “Eco” the car reduces the sensitivity of the accelerator and reduces the power to the HVAC. This encourages you to drive more gently and reduces the heating and cooling power. Basically, you give up some comfort and fun for more miles.

— back to the trip —

We left home with a 98% charge (it was still charging when we unplugged it) and an 80 mile range in regular mode, 96 in Eco.  We drove over 80 miles today and still came home with 16 miles to spare.  How could that be?  We drove for about four hours, most of the driving was on 35 mph roads with the odd 50 mph blasts thrown in and the occasional slow 20 mph road. As we drove very economically the car began to re-evaluate the available range.  When we checked the battery level it had climbed from the starting point of 80 miles up to a 96 mile range in regular mode, hence the 16 miles still remaining at the end of the day.  So if you drive gently you can really get quite a few more miles.

It seemed today that by driving gently in regular mode, the difference between the regular mode estimate and the Eco mode estimate had converged. At one point today, at 50% battery, it was only a three miles difference.  This makes us wonder if it’s all down to the way the car is driven… drive gently and you get almost the same amount of miles as Eco mode. Driving on the motorway, the miles go down quicker due to the increase in speed… the faster you go the more energy you use  – it’s all down to the wind resistance.

We really enjoyed just driving today, it made such a change from our usual day to day planned driving.  We didn’t have to be anywhere in particular, there were no children to be dropped off or picked up, no time constraints… it was driving just for pleasure.  After car wash number 10, we might just do it again tomorrow… and why not?

Oh, and the answer to the question How long does the battery last? – At least four and a half hours.

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