A few weeks ago I posted about a plan to drive up the Fraser Canyon in my friend’s Nissan Leaf – an all electric vehicle. Well, as I said in my update right in that post, our EV trip up the Fraser Canyon did not happen. Not because of lack of interest or willingness, only because the electric vehicle charging infrastructure was not supportive of our efforts.
Because these are still the relatively early days of electric vehicles (almost ten years in) it is important to check the condition of public charging stations before you go on a roadtrip. And before we left the city, we definitely did check with the Plug Share app to see what was happening with the charging stations we planned to use while on our trip. The results were not good.
Our plan was to leave Coquitlam with a full charge on the Leaf and drive to Mission where we would stop for a bite to eat and put the car on a level 2 charger to boost the charge a little bit just to make sure we had lots of power “in the tank” on the next leg of our trip into Hope.
According to the Plug Share app, the charger in Mission was online and user info indicated that the charging station was working well.
Our plan was to drive from Mission to Hope where there is a level 3 charger. A level 3 charger can provide an 80% charge in approximately 20 minutes – just enough time to wander over to the Blue Moose Coffee shop and grab a coffee to go.
This is where we foresaw our first hiccup. The level 3 charger in Hope was offline. Offline meaning we could not get a charge. Yes, there is a also level 2 charger in Hope but that would require a three or four hour commitment to get enough of a charge to get us to our next charging station. That I do from the app stopped our trip before we even left the city.
If we had been able to continue our trip, the next leg would have been from Hope to the Canyon Lanes level 3 charging station in Boston Bar. Even though our trip was effectively derailed because of the lack of charging in Hope, out of interest, we checked the Plug Share app to see the condition of the charging station in Boston Bar. Again, like the level 3 station in Hope, the Boston Bar level 3 charging station was also offline and user information indicated that it had been offline for an extended period of time – with no indication that it was going to be available any time soon.
Imagine if business treated gas stations the same way! You arrive at the gas station in Hope or Boston Bar and the attendant says “sorry, we are out of gas and we are not sure when we will get more.” Sure, there is only a tiny fraction of cars on the road that are electric vehicles but before that percentage of vehicles can, or will, increase there needs to be a concerted effort at making sure charging stations are available at regular intervals around the city and along our highways. And perhaps more importantly, that the charging stations are regularly maintained so that they are available for drivers to use.
So in short, our electric vehicle trip up the Fraser Canyon is on hold for now.