Join Date: Feb 2001
Here's a winter update on the MiEV.
I currently have about 10k miles on it, driving it all days of the week except 1. That one is because I have a standing get together that makes my round trip about 80 miles on Friday. It can be done in the summer, but not the winter with the heater on. My commute is almost exactly 30 miles round trip unless I go out to lunch, in which case it is about 42 miles. In the summer, this uses almost exactly 1/2 the available range (I get back with 1/2 charge) but in winter, it uses about 80% charge if I use the heater sparingly, or 90% if I use it all the time.
All my previous comments about the car on the inside still hold. It is covered in plastic, and looks blech. Folding down the rear seats provides more than enough room for a ton of stuff from costco. I also moved a file cabinet without a problem in it, so there is more than enough room inside for most usage.
The big reason I wanted to do this update is about winter driving. It has been a strange winter, very little snow, so I haven't had much of a chance to drive it in the snow. That has changed.
With all my cars, I always find a parking lot or other open area to mess with it. That means turning quickly when wet, dry, snowy, and all that stuff. Basically, I want to know how it will behave when someone cuts me off or a kid decides that running across a street without looking is a good idea. Sadly, with the MiEV, I was unable to try driving it in the snow in a parking lot or such because the snow hasn't materialized.
My first experience was actually driving to work. The roads were all clear fro the snow that fell the night before, besides one single 2 lane road on the way to work. It looked like it had been plowed about 1/2 way though the storm, so there was some packed snow on it. I was driving in B, which is maximum regen braking when you let off the gas. This proved to be a mistake.
I was going up a small hill at about 35 mph or so. As usual, I accelerated gently, and I felt the back end start to lose grip and slide to the passenger side. I immediately took my foot off the gas, and that was the end of the control I had of the car. The regen braking locked both rear wheels when I took my foot off the gas, and the ass end spun around faster than any other car I have ever been in. Most cars will give some kind of feedback of "stop being an idiot" before going around, and if it does, an application of throttle or very light brake will bring the ass end back in line. Not a flipping chance on the MiEV.
As soon as the ass end started sliding more when I let off the gas, I knew that I had made a mistake on the regen braking because the slide went from 'slow' to 'holy shit fast'. I hit the shifter with the palm of my right hand to knock it forward into E or D. Both of which drastically reduce regen braking. All I did was bruise my hand because the shifter has %^@# detents on it between each and every option. To change from B to D, I need to move it left about an inch, then forward an inch, then left an inch then forward another inch. It is 4 distinct movements to go from max regen to normal drive. I had no chance at all to make that change.
Somewhere around this time I realized that there was no chance of saving it, I was going all the way around. I was facing about 90 degrees to the left, still turning right. I decided to turn all the way left to reduce the radius of the spin, (basically make the spin worse) but hopefully stay out of the oncoming traffic lane because of it. That seemed to work, because I went all the way around; first backwards, then bringing the front around to face front, then continuing in a circle until I was backwards again. I manged to stay out of oncoming traffic, and I managed to not hit the guardrail on the passenger side, so hooray. But fuck you car. I shouldn't have to fight with you. I drove the rest of the way to work without issue.
There was a decent snowstorm yesterday, got about 10 inches or so. During the day, I took the car out to lunch in regular Drive, and had no issues. I found a parking lot that had not been plowed, and it had about 4 inches of snow in it by that time. I drove around a bunch in it, and figured out that the car will act similar to any other real wheel drive car with a posi in snow. If I try to accelerate moderately, both real wheels will try to get traction at once. Any steering input will cause the rear to slide around in a controllable fashion. A side effect of the very low overhang on the rear wheel is that I could see 2 rooster tails of snow flying well above the height of the car as the tires dug down to find purchase. Turning corners was easy, any throttle input would again rotate the rear end around in a very controllable fashion. I took it back later when the lot had about 10 inches of snow, and found the same to be true. The traction on the rear was crap, but it was controllable, even at speed up to about 30, which was about the max safe speed in the lot.
I also tried the max regen option, B. This was crazy trying to drive in the snow. It was like the idiots you see in youtube videos sliding down streets with the wheels locked. If I was on the gas, the rear was sliding. If I took my foot off, they locked up and the car kept sliding anyway. The car is pretty much uncontrollable in B in the snow except if driven backwards. When driven backwards, I had only minor issues driving in snow with max regen on, all related to the twitchy nature of the electric steering rack.
Clif Notes: Car is fine in the snow unless in B, Max regen braking. Avoid this option at all costs, or have good insurance.
Dan (Schmin) 1981-2003. Rest in Peace
I want to drinkify all my snacks. Chewing is for people living in the 19th century.
Last edited by Evadman; 03-06-2013 at 01:42 PM.
Reason: Why is spelling so hard