Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I'm back after a long weekend in Los Angeles, CA, absorbing not only some sunshine but a wealth of knowledge on new sustainable trends. While attending the 3rd Annual Opportunity Green Conference at UCLA, I felt grateful for having the opportunity to meet some of our nation's top sustainable brands, authors and entrepreneurs that are making a difference in our green economy. One of the many sponsors of the conference was MiniUSA as they showcased a variety of Mini-E's on the market. I was able to borrow one mug, fully electric, the whole weekend from a relative that is currently leasing one of the 500 in the marketplace today. Incredibly quiet, smooth, sexy and long lasting with a 150-mile range with speeds up to 92MPH. I quickly learned that I have a lead foot and the power went from 75% to 50% after aggressive driving. The regenerative breaking took some getting use to, but after 10-minutes many get the hang of not placing your foot on the brake as the vehicle slowly coasts and slows down.

Unfortunately, for the MidWest, South and East, the Mini E is not currently has option. The 500 vehicles are part of a one year pilot program in CA, NY, and NJ. Every 3 months drivers are asked to take in their vehicle for a short appointment where data is downloaded to learn about driving patterns, performance and battery maintenance. There has been talk that the owners may have the opportunity to have the program extended after one year or buy-out the vehicle. Again, negotiations with Munich headquarters are still underway to review data and demand.

As a Sustaino, I would love to have the opportunity to purchase one and install a plug-in option in my garage. With testing still underway, competition from Nissan LEAF, a fully electric vehicle (EV), is finalizing their contract for distribution in the U.S. Their Zero-Emission tour starts on Nov. 13th Los Angeles.

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