EV Meets Early Adopter Meets Reality

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

GM-volt.com‘s Lyle Dennis finds out that being one of the first 500 Americans to lease a MINI E has its downsides. Especially at $850/month lease cost. At around 5,000 miles, the troubles begin (OK, continue).

As the car is technically a mule or prototype, it is not production-ready and has had some issues. A month or two ago it began popping loudly into neutral whenever the accelerator was floored. The power electronics control unit was replaced and after that it almost never happened (it happened one more time). So I’m gentle with the accelerator.

The other day I was driving to work and went over an unexpected construction zone pothole. The car was jostled and suddenly it went into neutral. After that it could no longer be put into drive. Despite turning it on and off and moving the shifter in and out of drive neutral and park several times, that was it, dead. A tow truck was called and off it went to the dealership for a MINI “flying doctor” to come and repair it. After a few days I found out it was the power electronics control unit again which was again replaced.

Because this made Dennis “realize the importance of extensive testing of new electric cars over rough road conditions, potholes and the like,” he put in a word to GM’s Volt team to see if they were on top of this potential pitfall. GM’s Tony Posawatz responds:

We do more tests to our cars and especially the Chevy VOLT than anyone could imagine including some pretty severe potholes on our Milford Provings Grounds and other very difficult road surfaces. As you know, the car quite easily navigated up and down Pikes Peak, through the hills of West Virginia as well as Death Valley during the hottest part of the summer (it was 118 degrees when I called once to check on the team).

He’d better hope something like this doesn’t afflict early Volts, or the model will be dead on arrival.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Bimmer Bimmer on Oct 29, 2009
    mtymsi : I don’t think you could drive enough miles in a months time to make up in gasoline savings the $850 monthly payment. It also includes insurance and maintenance.
  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Oct 30, 2009

    Yes, yes. And the Vega and Citation underwent millions of miles of testing, which GM also bragged about. They got the data they wanted to confirm they were correct in their engineering solutions and let the public finish testing the cars for them. They will have done the same thing with the Volt comes out. Gentlemen: start your tow trucks.......

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.