Wednesday, 10 June 2015

OMG I Just bought another EV!

Ok now this is just getting silly, last week I was surfing eBay looking at the latest EV offerings and potential donor cars as I often do and I stumbled across a poorly listed Electric Car called a Mia, It is a French designed and built 3 seat minibus with a central driving position and two rear passenger seats.
Now this particular Mia was just two years old near mint condition with ~8000 miles on the clock and resided in Watford, The weird thing was that it was listed for 4K yes £4000 GBP, Now maybe it is just me but that seemed almost too cheap so after a little research I discovered that the French company that build these has gone into receivership late last year 2014 and that issue was far from resolved, However the funky looking Mia still looked like a bargain to me and so I watched the listing for a few days and it looked like no one was going to bid on it, So last Saturday I took the plunge and put in a single bid for the 4K asking price not expecting to win it in the slightest, I have bought many things (including cars) from eBay over the years and thoroughly expected the price to rocket in the last minute, It didn’t and I am now the proud owner of said Mia, And I LOVE IT :-)
So let’s get this in perspective, I just bought an EV with a 12KW LIFEPO traction pack AC motor & Controller, Regen, Eco Mode, ABS, Airbags, BMS, central locking, charger (albeit a very slow Type 1 charger) charge cable (again a cheap Chinese crap one) and the entire car is less than 3 years old, I cannot believe my luck! Oh and let’s not forget that this is a proper NCAP tested car not a quad bike with a car like cover as in the G-Wiz.
Now most people (Petrol Heads) will take one look at the Mia and laugh all the way to the gas station as in most people eyes it is completely impractical, but hang on a minute the car was in Watford and I live in Newhaven just east of Brighton, when I called the car dealer after the auction ended he said “are you bringing a trailer” “No” I replied, “I will be driving it home and charging at public charge points along the way” and after much fiddling around signing up to the Polar network and discovering that the availability of type 1 charge points in the south east of England was seriously limited I considered my options, around an hour later after I had done a few AA route planner calcs I realised that In order to get the car the following day (Sunday 7th June) I would need to dump my kids on their grandparents, Luckily my parents live around Copthorne and after another quick route plan I realised that if the 70 mile range of the Mia (Yes 70 Miles!) is to be trusted I should be able to drive it direct from the dealer to my parents in one hit ~65miles, Now this was a little risky but after a bit more research I found that the Mia also sports Regen and Eco Mode so I thought that it was worth the risk and took a tow rope just to be sure I could get it home in the event of unforeseen problems.
After arriving in Watford and getting my first look at the beauty I was taken aback by its near mint condition, apart from the missing radio front plate and a broken window catch (looks like someone may have tried and succeeded in forcing entry to the vehicle) it was perfect, I also found a single minor scratch in the front plastic cover part but this could easily be polished out.
We set off for Copthorne taking the longer but safer route round the M25, I have never driven any car with my foot so lightly on the pedal, I am talking range winning hypermiling to the extreme and with the eco mode permanently set I was amazed at how the Mia was able to recover whole miles just by coasting down hills on the motorway, the car does slow to the point to where you need to put your foot down but the LCD gauge on the dash shows you whether the car is in Eco, doing regen or using current in a very pleasing way with a swinging bar graph with 4 grades on each side, So I spent my entire journey watching this gauge like a hawk and keeping it on two bars when accelerating and trying my best to recover as much as possible when coasting or when you see an obstruction ahead don’t use the brakes but instead just coast to a halt charging the batts in the process.
The Mia rewarded my efforts by getting me to my parents’ house (65 miles) with 6 miles left on the battery meter and as I approached my parents’ house the battery warning light came on just around 50 yards from their door, well done Mia!
Thankfully my parents have a 3 pin socket in their front garden that my dad had fitted many years ago with the intention of putting electric gates in his driveway (Never happened) so I was able to just plug straight in and spend a nice afternoon chatting to the folks whilst my car charged, My dad made few jokes about “Noddy” cars but my mum loved it and I could tell that she wanted one.
So after doing a part (half) charge and checking the distance on AA route planner I set off for home, now here is where I made my fatal mistake, not doing a full charge means that the battery pack does not get time to balance properly (In fact I have just this morning learnt that in order for the pack to balance properly you need to leave it plugged in even when it reaches 100% full until the green charge light stops flashing and goes solid) and so as I approached Brighton I could see that even with my frugal use of the pedal I was not going to make it all the way home after a minor panic I decided that I would go to my work place and charge it there for a few more minutes just to get me home, 20 minutes later and I set off for home, arrived safely with 4 miles left on the clock. Well done Mia my fondness for this little EV grows daily.

Here is the picture from the eBay listing, I will post others very soon.

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