EV Blog 5: July 6th and 7th, 2021-- Prairie Driving (Range Anxiety, Nanaimo to Eagle Lake Ontario.)
Updated: Jul 21, 2021
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Range Start at Calgary: 430 km. Destination Regina: 757 kms
We expect to need two stops to charge.
Calgary to Medicine Hat 293.7 km
Medicine Hat AB to Swift Current, Sask: 222.6km
Swift Current to Regina: 242.6 km
Who ever said the Prairies were flat? They look relatively flat. The downs never provide enough resistance to actually regenerate but we found that we were ascending all the way to a point just on the East side of Regina. Apparently, Regina is located on a plateau, lifted up in response to the melting of the glaciers during the Wisconsinan Glaciation period.
This was cruise control territory. It is much easier to keep your eye on the road and enjoy the scenery if you are not always worried how fast you are going. In the prairies the roads are good and mostly straight and the speed limit is 110. We can easily do that if we aren’t worried about range, but today we needed efficiency above all else. There are no EV chargers in the small towns along the road. We chugged along at a steady 95 and let everybody pass us.
Medicine Hat had 4 high-speed chargers. The Petrocan was in Redcliffe just before Medicine Hat. We didn’t know yet why we should focus on the reliable Petrocan network whenever possible. (.33 per minute charge.) We decided to try the Community College Charger (Free) just into town thinking it would be a more pleasant place to be for an hour. It was not free, by this time, and was run by the Flow network. We were able to raise someone on the phone but they couldn’t get us connected. We had to go back to the Petrocan in Redcliffe for a sure charge. Of course, the bridge over the South Saskatchewan was under repair with long lineups on both sides.
I downloaded the Petrocan app, but was unable to use it to activate the system so I phoned for training. We were going to be using the Petrocan system a lot and I wanted to avoid a hassle every time. We got going and were pleased to discover it would just read our credit card and we didn’t really need to use the app. Would that all charging networks were so easy. Now what to do with the next hour. The Petrocan stations are often teamed up with A&W so we decided to go in and have a teen burger for lunch.
Arrived in Medicine Hat with 118km. Travelled 296.8 kms. Av. 15.4kmh/100km. We were climbing. Used 46 kwh of power. Charged for 55 mins. added 238 km
Started for Swift Current with 356 km range. Cost $17.91
The day was beautiful. The skies were gorgeous. The crops looked good. It would appear they had had some rain and were headed for a decent farming season. Driving was uneventful.
Arrived in Swift Current with 90 km. at 4:45 pm. Travelled 217 kms. Av. 17kwh/100km. We lost 40+kms range because we were climbing. Added 250 km in 1 hour. Cost: @.33/min. $22.01
Started for Regina with 338 Range.
We had two choices in Swift Current -- the Petrocan and the Coop. I would have liked to try the Coop, but we had learned our lesson, went straight for Petrocan and got hooked up right away. There was the A&W again. We decided to look around. We noticed a mall, not far away, on the other side of a vacant prairie building lot. We decided we could safely walk over and look for something interesting. We found a cute little restaurant that was happy to serve us appies and beer, inside. Saskatchewan had dining inside. Yeah. We enjoyed a refreshing break.
Start in Swift Current: 338 Range. Arrived in Regina with 90 kms. 8:30 pm. We had driven 247 kms. Av. 16.9kmh/100km. We were still climbing. Regina Hotel Charge, Free.
Went straight to our hotel, the Fairfield Inn and Suite by Mariott. Our one charging spot was still open. The one thing we were not running into was a lot of other EV owners charging. We hadn’t seen anyone else charging in any of the spots we had used except Kamloops. We hauled our stuff into the hotel, made sure our freezer packs would be frozen, and hit the hay. Tomorrow would be another long day.
Ron’s Tip: If you want to predict your mileage better, calculate the net change in altitude from where you are starting to where you are going. Then you can your expectations accordingly.
July 7th -- Destination Kenora, Ontario. Total trip: 790.3 km
Starting Range: 377 km. Full charge. All that climbing had shortened the computer’s knowledge of our range. We would need either two or possibly three charging stops.
· Our first shot was a Coop station at Whitewood, Sask. and a Petrocan - 190 kms.
· The next possibility was Brandon, Manitoba. Too far. We had to stop at Whitewood.
· Whitewood to Brandon - 190 KM -- 1 charger - a Petrocan
· Brandon to Deacon’s Corner far side of Wpg - 240.9 km -- 1 charger - a Petrocan.
· Deacon’s Corner to Kenora - 191 km -- 1 charger - a Petrocan.
We were uncertain if Manitoba was going to be open yet, due to COVID restrictions, but with both of us fully vaccinated we thought we would get away with passing through and stopping in Kenora to rest. Thank goodness the Federal Government partnered with Petrocan to put in these stations. Without them it would be simply impossible for an EV to drive across Canada. They were placed at the exact distances one would need for someone crossing the country with a 400 km range. Good planning. But this effort was limited to the TransCanada #1 and in Ontario to the Hwy 17 version of the Number 1. Everywhere else is hit and miss.
Starting Range from Regina: 377km. Travelled 181.4 kms. Used 28.8kwh. Remaining at Whitewood, 219 kms. Av 15.9kwh/100km. Added 94 km in 36 mins. Total cost @.33/min $11.93
We found a nice little restaurant attached to the service station where a South-Asian man kindly allowed us to order toast and coffee at 11 am in the morning while we waited.
Starting Range from Whitewood: 311 km. Destination Brandon - 191.9 kms. Remaining range in Brandon 143 km. Av 14.8 kwh/100 km. We must be going down. We added 185 kms in 45 mins. Charged from 1-2pm. Cost: @.33/min $14.82
Picnic in the parking lot. Bread and cheese or peanut butter again. Fruit & veggies.
We noticed changes in the landscape as soon as we entered Manitoba. There were more wetlands and clumps of trees or even small woods dispersed among the farmer’s fields. Crops still looked good as if they had had water.
Starting Range from Brandon: 328 km. Destination Deacon’s Corner - 240.9 km
Remaining range on arrival in DC - 100 km. AV 14.8 kwh/100km. Used 34 kwh. Still going down. First machine didn’t work. Moved to second machine. Charged from 5:15-6:05 pm. Cost: @.33/min 15.72. Added 240 kms. Left for Kenora with 340 km range.
Deacon’s corner is a large, triangular piece of commercial land outside Winnipeg that serves as a huge truck stop. It has a motel for truckers to sleep. It has 4-5 fast food joints. We could enjoy A+W if we stayed at the Petrocan but we felt like a change. We decided to walk across to another area. I learned one thing. At a huge truck stop, nobody is expecting pedestrians. Nothing is designed for safety for pedestrians. Even to go to the washroom you had to walk through the gas pump area. And it is a very busy place. We took our lives in our hands crossing a busy road with trucks turning on and off constantly to get to enjoy a Subway or a Pizza or, if we went even further, a Tim Ho’s. But we were lucky. Subway allowed us to “eat in” in Manitoba. They had lifted dining restrictions.
Boy! Truckers would have to be very intentional about carrying good food along with them. If they had nothing to eat but what these places had to offer they’d have a very short life span.
The landscape from Deacon’s corner is already the beginning of the Boreal forest. We can see the trees changing -- more connifers. We are entering lake and recreation country. We pass right by the spot we always stop for home-made apple pie. We were just too tired and we still had one more charge to do that night since our motel in Kenora does not have a level two charger. There was no motel in Kenora that had one.
We arrived in town and drove directly to our motel. The kitchen was just closing and the final diners were enjoying an outside patio in the parking lot. It was already 9 pm but they had our room ready. We hauled our stuff up two flights of stairs and got our food in the fridge and the freezer packs into the freezer. Then Ron went to find the Petrocan - but he came back empty handed. He couldn’t find it. I looked more closely at Plugshare and found the station was actually at the A&W. Petrocan didn’t have a station at Kenora but they made sure we could charge. But you would never know it was there. It was completely invisible. No signage anywhere to tell you. It was tucked away in the far corner of their parking lot, invisible from the street. Fortunately it was right across from our hotel. Ron got it charging by 10 pm and we had to stay awake till 10:45 to ensure we didn’t overcharge. We were too late for restaurants so we ate from our food supply in the hotel. A truly long day.
Look in the upper right corner for the EV charger. It is Red. This was from the sidewalk. From the road you couldn't see it at all.
Starting Range from Deacon’s Corner: 342 km. Destination Kenora, ON. 196.5 km.
Remaining Range on arrival in Kenora: 140 km. Av. 15.2 kwh/100km. Added 206 km. Charged at 10 pm. 46 mins. Cost: @.33/min $15.26
Starting Range from Kenora to TBAy: 346 km. (341).
We are losing 5-10 kms now the minute we start driving.
Tomorrow we begin to explore North-West Ontario.