Whistler to The Burbs Via Electric Vehicle 

Yesterday we returned in the Nissan Leaf from Whistler to our homes in the burbs of Vancouver.

When we left Whistler we had almost 100% charge on the batteries after the car being plugged into a 110 volt standard electrical outlet overnight. The guess-o-meter suggested we had about 140 km of range in the batteries.

We left the car in a parking lot and toured around the village for a couple of hours. When we left Whistler village the rain was really coming down and it had cooled off significantly – we were using the electric car seat heaters and the defroster was blowing air to keep the windows clear.

When we got into Squamish we were relieved to see that the owner of the white Nissan Leaf had finally moved their car so we could pull in and charge our Leaf. We charged for 12 minutes which topped the batteries up from approximately 50% to 84%.

After an EV’s batteries are charged to 80% the chargers slow the charging down (it is a safety and battery protection thing) so it is not an efficient use of a level 3 charger to keep charging once you are at 80%. We were checking our social media accounts so we didn’t notice that we were at 84%. That gave us an approximate range of 150 kms. But after driving an EV you start to be aware of road conditions and you pay more attention to the road.

For example, we knew that it was cool and wet so we would be using the heaters. We also knew that the road from Squamish to Burnaby would be driven at highway speed and we would be going up some big hills. Of course we would also be coming down some hills so that’s an opportunity to recharge as driving. Bottom line, just because the car says 150 kms, don’t rely on that 100%. Be aware of the battery percentage as well as where and how you are driving.

We got back to Burnaby and the batteries had 16% charge left. That’s good for about 30 kms. The owner of the car wasn’t worried because he had a meeting scheduled for the next day less than 12 kms from his home and he knows there is a charger he can plug into.

It is a little more work owning and driving an electric vehicle. You need to think about where you are going and where you can get “fuel” for your vehicle but overall, it is a very liberating feeling to be able to drive from the burbs of Vancouver to Whistler and back without burning a drop of gasoline.


  1. The newer model Leaf’s use a heat pump, so it doesn’t have that big a range difference compared to the 2011 and 2012 models…but driving in cooler weather, up some big hills at more than 100km/h will affect your range. When it comes to driving an EV, range anxiety seems to last for about 1-2 months until you have the confidence of exactly how far you can actually drive. I now drive my EV without any charging issues ever – it just takes a little bit of planning – and it usually involves a visit to a new restaurant in a community that I have not visited before…spending money locally, and helping out the economy!

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