EV Meets Early Adopter Meets Reality

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
ev meets early adopter meets reality

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.

Join the conversation
2 of 14 comments
  • 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.......

  • SCE to AUX This is not a race worth winning.
  • JMII These would sell better if they came with a service to drop it off (with new tires and brakes) at which ever track you decided to visit per weekend. While its small it still doesn't fit on a private jet and there aren't many tracks close to where your yacht can be docked. 1st world problems here.
  • JMII Its an SUV so I am shocked they don't already offer it.
  • Analoggrotto As we Tesla owners receive our life energy from the greatest son of the gods of all time, Elon Musk; His cherubs and His nephilim may remove whatever they wish from us for unto him we owe all for our superiority above all the rest of humanity.
  • Kcflyer Nice to see California giving NY some competition to be the worst run state in the union.