A couple of weeks ago we chatted with Pat Lazenby, the Project Manager at Suncor and person in charge of building Canada’s Electric Highway, about barriers to EV adoption. This week we continue our chat.
Q. What should I think about if I'm considering making the switch to an EV?
A. You’ll want to think about a few factors. First, consider your commute length and route. This will help determine the range of battery you need along with the charging options you’ll want to have available. Look at the charging station infrastructure in your driving area so you can map out your route and determine if you need workplace or on the go charging options. Although it is possible to charge an EV with a typical wall outlet, the charging times can be very significant, especially with larger vehicle batteries.
Many homeowners install what we call level 2 home charging systems (240V) which can reduce charge times by 75 to 80%. The cost of these systems can range from $500 to $1200. Most certified electricians are capable of installing a home charger. If you live in or are thinking about buying a condo, investigate the accessibility for charging your EV.
And don’t forget that weather can also be a factor as very cold weather can reduce battery performance and range.
Finally consider cost factors. There are many more EV options now than there were a few years ago. There are also government rebates available both federally and in selected provinces. This can help reduce the upfront purchase cost that is higher than comparable fuel powered vehicles. The operating costs of EVs are also less than that of traditional fuel powered vehicles so make sure you do the long-term math.
Q. You mention range and charging station infrastructure above. How did Petro-Canada choose the stops along Canada's Electric Highway?
A. We had to look at several functional criteria such as the layout of the station, lot size and utility requirements. However, a key criterion was the distance between stations. Keep in mind that our goal was to enable most EV drivers to drive from coast-to-coast in Canada, even if they only charged with Petro-Canada. This meant that the distance between sites could not be more than 250 KMs and was ideally less than that. We also wanted our customers to enjoy other amenities while they are charging such as our restaurant partners and our convenience stores. Although we could not provide all of these services at every location, many sites have some of these services. Ed. – you can see which services that each station offers using on our station locator.
Q. Where can I find out more about EVs?
A. One resource I like is Plug’n’Drive. They have a ton of information online about charging options, EVs and even a test drive location and office in North York which is open to the public. The friendly staff can help answer you may have, and you can take many EVs for a spin. You may also want to check out your local EV Society. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and chat with many of them over the last year and they are a great resource for your local commute.
Thanks, Pat, for taking the time to chat with us! Any other questions for Pat, PumpTalk readers? If so, post ‘em in the comments.