By Sheila Griffin and Alex Chong
With the increased focus on green energy and the desire to keep our planet clean, electric vehicles (EVs) certainly have their appeal. However, as cottage owners, many people are concerned about whether or not they will be able to make the distance in an EV. And then there’s the concern about how and where to charge. Let’s look at what’s currently on the market in fully electric vehicles in Canada (2019), along with the price, and battery range.
Cars with under 200 km of range would have to stop en route either in Peterborough, Lakefield, Kingston, Belleville, Cobourg, Port Hope or any of the many other towns along the way that now have electric vehicle charging available. This may add to your commute time as you grab a coffee or a meal while your car recharges. The amount of time will depend on the type of charger and your battery’s capacity.
Cars with sufficient range to make it the full distance can then simply plug into a 110 volt outlet (known as “Level 1” charger) at the cottage. Bring along an extension cord to make sure you can reach the outlet. This will slowly charge (or “trickle charge”) the vehicle while you spend your weekend relaxing. Short trips into town are possible, of course, but if you leave the car plugged in the whole time you are at the cottage (48 hours or more) you will fully recharge most batteries.
To give you an idea of the rate of charging, a standard wall socket (“Level 1” charger) will give you 8km of range for every hour of charging. So, if you are at the cottage for 48 hours, you can get up to 384 km of range (or whatever the max capacity of the battery is) - which is definitely enough for your return trip.
If you plug in to a 240 volt (“Level 2” charger) such as those available at public charging stations, you will charge at a rate of approximately 30km of range for every hour of charging. And there are also “Level 3” chargers. These “Fast Chargers” are capable of charging most EV batteries to 80% in 20-30 minutes. *
Depending on where you live, your commute to Paudash Lake will vary. Check out the chart here for some typical spots where people commute from and the distances.
There are Level 3 chargers in Peterborough, Norwood, Port Hope, Belleville, Port Severn, Barrie, and of course Ottawa and Toronto. (Check rates and hours of operation before your departure).
And did you know there are two Public Level 2 charging stations in Bancroft? One is at the Bancroft Visitor’s Centre and the other is at Scotiabank.**
The best apps for locating EV charging stations are ChargePoint, Flo, and PlugShare. It may take some time for the EV charging network to grow to the same extent as the ‘gas station’ network, but it’s tough to beat the convenience of plugging in to your own electricity supply at the cottage and have your car charge while you enjoy the lake. You may not have to think about going to the gas station ever again! And if you’re still on the fence about Electric Vehicles, be aware that battery technology is evolving at an epic rate, so if you feel you need even more range before taking the plunge and buying an EV -- the 600+ km range battery is likely only a few short years away. *most EVs can use Level 3 chargers; adapters may be required. Check your vehicle’s charge port and owner’s manual to verify; fees may apply.
**fees may apply.
Sources: www.plugndrive.com, www.tesla.com, www.ford.ca, www.vw.com