MINI E Mileage Drop in Cold Weather

We talked about this in the past, but it does seem that the MINI E is having a hard time dealing with cold weather.

Remember that time you left your phone in the car on a cold night when you went to dinner, and when you got back to it, the battery was nearly dead because it had gotten so cold? Yeah, that would be happening a lot if you had an electric car that didn’t take temperature into account. And so the testers of BMW Mini Es are finding out in cold weather: range seems to be reduced by half in 23° temperatures.

We would be interested in hearing about how the cold weather is affecting you in your MINI E. Sound off in the comments.

+BMW Mini E sees huge mileage drop in cold weather – Crunchgear.com

  • matt

    The crunchgear article was based on one guy’s blog post, which they didn’t cite. This link/source was in the comments.

    http://gm-volt.com/2009/12/28/mini-e-electric-car-performance-in-cold-and-ice-is-not-good/

  • Matthew

    Thanks for the link, Matt.

    Among the most salient comments in the MINI E conversation was made by the author of that blog post. Here it is:

    “In all fairness, the MINI E is really a test prototype or mule, and is not optimized. BMW says these learnings will go into future cars.”

    Somehow, the idea that the MINI E is an experiment has been lost in much of the analysis.

  • Rocketboy

    It’s not just the MINI-E that has this problem, but as an all electric car, it’s going to take the worst of it.

  • This could be up for debate: Has the mileage dropped, or has the range decreased? Which is more correct when discussing electric cars?

  • Bernie

    Dropping to half range is probably typical for an electric car at +20F. You need to defrost the windows.

    If you get colder than -20, you will get about 10% range. You could remove all the glass, and eliminate the need for defrosting. Then you might get 25%.

    In a cold climate, you need a hybrid. The battery will warm up as it charges, and you get heat plus power from the engine.

  • Henny Machielse

    This is exactly why BMW is testing the Mini E: to be able to analyse real life driving. In the mean time, BMW has made the next step on the way to a production EV. As with the Mini E, the second model is not yet ready for production, but it is a next step. Also this vehicle will be tested in small numbers. It’s the BMW ActiveE, based on the 1-Series Coupe. It will be unveiled at the North American Internation Auto Show in Detroit on January 10.

  • MKH

    Bernie has it nailed. Small gas or diesel engine that runs a generator. Old, proven technology. It’s how most Diesel locomotives work (and get such great mileage) they are actually “electric” trains, with a Diesel engine generating the electricity.

  • dmcs

    Looks like the batteries are still the issue. Way back in the 90s when GM had their EV1 car, cars in the hot desert got higher miles per charge due to the batteries operating more efficiently in hotter ambient temperatures. Looks like MINI is just not realizing what GM (and the general public) found out two decades ago.

  • dmcs

    Looks like the batteries are still the issue. Way back in the 90s when GM had their EV1 car, cars in the hot desert got higher miles per charge due to the batteries operating more efficiently in hotter ambient temperatures. Looks like MINI is just now realizing what GM (and the general public) found out a decade ago.

  • Bernie

    MINI-E is fine as electric car, better than most because of the speed and handling. BMW will need to wait for improvements like everyone else to get better range from batteries only . They could do a type of series hybrid no other brand has done yet. Instead of having a “full power” engine-genset, they could go with a very small engine that was maybe 10 – 25% of battery output. Maybe make it an optional module.

    A small oil cooled unit, maybe a multifuel micro-turbine (no need for torque here) could provide some heat for the battery and interior, and electrical power for charging and electric defrosting.

    A genset sized at 20% full battery output would give you 20% longer range on a single highway run. For a multiple stop errand/delivery trip, you could leave the genset running for recharging, if you did not have a place to plug in at every stop.

    This is called Opportunity Charging, and has been proven in tests to about double your range. To be able to do this now, guaranteed, you would need to carry a portable genset, handy only if have an electric Ford Ranger.

    In cold weather, this engine heat, and recharging would keep the battery warm. Just by preserving the original range, this is like having twice to ten times the range of a pure electric car in very cold weather.

  • Mricorp

    Not only is the range (which sucks normally) diminished significantly, the stupid thing doesn’t even take a charge when it is cold. Ooops! We forgot to tell you about that too when you signed the lease agreement.

    This is a scam and I will never purchase another Mini product again.

  • There’s another issue here as well. The Mini-e uses air cooled batteries, not water cooled like the rest. If they had a water cooling loop, they could also do battery heating while plugged into the garage, and also ensure that the batteries didn’t get too cold while driving. This would help somewhat. And I think BMW/Mini is learning. The BMW citi car will have water cooled batteries.

    Matt