I recently completed an EV road trip from Victoria to Calgary. It was an amazing trip, utilizing exclusively public charging infrastructure (including a continuous network of 7 fast charging stations in BC, making the first half of the trip very quick!) and some absolutely stunning scenery. The route passed through four national parks (Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho, and Banff).
Here is a brief summary infographic from the trip, and a couple of photos. Much more to come!
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I made it home to Vancouver last night from a nearly 2100 km journey to Prince George in my Nissan LEAF, which included a day trip to Bear Lake (Crooked River Provincial Park), 75 km north of PG, my northernmost point. It was a fantastic trip!
2097 km: total trip distance (835 km to PG via Fraser Canyon; 929 km back to Vancouver via Coquihalla; rest driving around PG area)
9: charging sessions each direction (Vancouver-Prince George)
164 km: longest trip on a single charge (with 15% remaining! was to/from Bear Lake)
2: number of key communities without formal EV charging infrastructure that would’ve made this trip a breeze (100 Mile House and Quesnel)
many: number of people I chatted with en route or in PG who drive EVs or want to, and would like to see more charging options in the Cariboo/North (see point above)
ELATION: feeling after arriving at DC Fast Charger in Kamloops after having driven over 1700 km using Level 2 charging
It was an EVenture, as anticipated. No Level 1/trickle charging was required, there were no close calls with running out of range, but the biggest story from this trip is that infrastructure in the Cariboo/northern BC needs improvement (and literally the addition of only two stations would’ve made this trip relatively straightforward – 100 Mile House and Quesnel). I also want to convey that I met lots of people along the way and in PG who own EVs or are interested in them – this is not just a south coast phenomenon!
I am starting a Vancouver to Prince George EV road trip today (Tuesday, July 28). I am starting by leaving home in Vancouver in the morning, working in Chilliwack during the day (and early evening for a meeting) and continuing on my way. Here is my projected route, with an expected arrival in PG Wednesday evening. Follow me on facebook or twitter to see where I am. After arrival, I will post about the actual route and how it went. I can’t wait!
This is my rough EV trip plan for Vancouver to Prince George. I have or will be contacting all non-formal charging opportunities (RV parks, welding shops, etc) to verify that I can charge there, and determine opening hours and charge rates ($). Successful locations, with permission from the owner, will be posted on plugshare afterward.
I simply couldn’t resist giving the “Coquihalla Challenge” a try with my LEAF.
For those unfamilar, the Coquihalla Highway is a steep, mountainous route connecting Hope to Merritt and Kamloops. The first section, Hope to Merritt, is about 121 km (from the Hope charging station to Merritt charging station) and involves over 1000 m of elevation gain. The profile looks like this:
A number of months ago, I heard Rick Cluff, the CBC Radio Early Edition host in Vancouver, interviewing someone (it may have even been Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association (VEVA) President, Bruce Stout) about electric vehicles when he remarked (something along the lines of): “I just want to know, can I make it to Hope in one of these?”
While the short is answer is yes of course, there are lots of charging stations along the ~150 km stretch between Vancouver and Hope, I took that question as a challenge to do it in a single charge with the world’s bestselling electric car, a Nissan LEAF.
We decided to go to Tofino for Easter, with the LEAF.
The journey officially started for me in Chilliwack on Thursday, April 2 (well, you could argue it started in Vancouver that morning, when I left home for work in Chilliwack). I left work a little bit early, en-route to Surrey to pick up my boyfriend, Bram, and his sister, Anneke, at the skytrain station before heading to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.
I did a quick, quick charge in Langley (I went to this station because I knew exactly where it was at the time, unlike the Surrey ones) to facilitate the ~140 km journey from Chilliwack-Tsawwassen and then Swartz Bay-Victoria. I then picked up the others and we made our way to Victoria! We went to Victoria first, instead of just Nanaimo, to visit my brother and his fiancee who live there.
This was my car’s first real EVenture (aside from driving from Vancouver-Chilliwack and back most weekdays, in the wind and rain in the winter), after having it for a few weeks. And it’s a story of the LEAF coming to the rescue.
Over winter holidays 2014/2015, my boyfriend and I were planning a backcountry ski trip accessed via a forest service road outside of Pemberton. The vehicle that was to get us up the snowy logging road was to be his high clearance 4×4 Chevrolet Tracker, purchased years ago for precisely such purposes (we do backcountry trips all the time). To make a long story short, we ended up having serious engine trouble, luckily not far from home, and had to quickly come up with a plan B.
Sparky (my new LEAF), it was determined, would take us to the Rubble Creek Parking Lot of Garibaldi Park, between Whistler and Squamish, where we would spend a few nights circumnavigating the lake on skis (an interesting endeavour, especially in the lava flows around Mt Price area).
I imported my Nissan LEAF from the United States into Canada in the fall of 2014. These are the steps I took at that time. Requirements may have changed since then; please check into all of the steps yourself to confirm.
I started a new job in late 2013. The new job, a fantastic career opportunity, was in Chilliwack. I lived in Vancouver, and my partner had a great job in downtown Vancouver.
Prior to starting the new job, I cycle commuted to my job in Richmond from Vancouver (and loved every minute of it) and before that, cycled to UBC. I had never owned a car in my life (though I have driven plenty, I will admit).
It’s a long story, but we ended up staying in Vancouver (we are in East Vancouver though, about 2 minutes from the highway) because that’s what made the most sense for us as a pair. To illustrate that I’m not completely crazy, the commute time from Vancouver to Chilliwack is about 55-60 minutes (and it’s 100 km). It’s certainly a long commute, but time-wise, isn’t totally outrageous.