Friday, June 12, 2009

Welcome home MINI-E #269 (hello auto-neutral)

At long last it has arrived. So far I have only had the initial ride home from the dealership back to the house.

First thing that I can certainly mention as different is "auto-neutral". WOW

Getting used to driving with 1 foot was actually pretty easy. Only real thing that is going to take more time is starting from a stop. First thing is that you quickly learn that even going near the brake pedal during regular driving is going to stop you much more than you think. It really is akin to pulling on the E-brake slighlty, not necessary. So you adapt to giving yourself just a little more time than you think you would need to let the regen braking kick in to slow you down. Even all the way to a stop at a light.

Here is where you are going to need to be careful. When you do come to a stop, you MUST lean on the brake to keep you from coasting backward if you are on any kind of an incline. Even in Drive, "auto-neutral" will let the car coast when at a stop and not on any pedal. my first instinct was to feather the gas slightly to keep the car engaged enough to keep it from rolling backward. But this quickly strikes you as wasteful. I can't help but think, "wow, you could just hit the brake".

Here is thing to get used to #2. When you want to move from a stop on an incline. Even with the brake pedal engaged, you can tell that the car is in "auto-neutral". As soon as you lift from the brake you need to apply the accelerator. It actually quickly starts to kick in your brain like engaging a clutch with the gas. Here is a problem, you need to be heavier on the gas in this car than you would with a regular stick an a clutch.

Many have mentioned that while the accelaration on the MINI E is impresive, that torque is not fully available from the line. It appears, as many have said, that the cars are de-tuned ro limit some of the power from stop. I think this will prove to be a mistake. People who want to "tear off the line" should not be engineered back into good behavior, and everyone else should not have to nearly floor the accelarator and just hope that the car engages fast enough to stop that backward sliding down the hill that you experience.

Maybe the key is in the brake, maybe I need to feather off the brake slower when I feel the pull engaged. This is mentally backward since you quickly start to think of the brake as a "heavy stop" device.

Maybe by next week this entire post will be obsleted by a bit more experience. I have not heard anyone else mention this sensation, so maybe I just have to put some more miles on. But I do think "auto-neutral" is an electric car feature that people need to be a bit more aware of in the front of our mind while you are driving.

I will be interested to hear how other are experiencing this .....

Beleive me, I am tring to be thorough in my "driving experience". It is by no way significant enough to make me hesistate driving for 1 second, nor do i feel un-safe. It is just a difference that i think warrants some more brain cycles to get perfect. It is not a driving expereience I have had in an other car, manual or automatic. I can't wait t get back out there and work it out.

1 comment:

  1. I was just planning on writting a bit on the problem of poor torque at 0 rpm's. This is definately a problem with the software, I saw a post before mentioning that it maybe an do to an old software rev, going to have to see about getting this fixed.