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EV BLOG 3 - Starting Out. (Range Anxiety) 2021 Nanaimo to Eagle Lake

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

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June 30th: Starting Av. Range 465km. Trip to Coquitlam 57 km.

No plug-in available for level 1 charger.

We booked the ferry from Nanaimo on June 30th, planning to stop over on Canada Day with our friends in Coquitlam. Celebrations for Canada Day would be low key because the unmarked graves of 215 First Nations children had just been discovered and for the first time in my memory, the whole population of Canada was beginning to recognize the horrors of the residential schools. Canada Day became a day of reflection on how well we meet our vision of ourselves and what this country is really all about -- as well as how we can really make reconciliation happen.

It was just at the end of the huge heat dome that had started in California and came all the way up the coast to BC and then started to spread across the mountains and even into the prairies. It had been going on for two weeks already and temperatures in Nanaimo had reached an unheard of 40 degrees C. The Village of Lytton had been 48-49.9 degrees C for 3 days and was reported to be the hottest spot in North America. Forest fires were burning around Lytton as well as in the Lillooet area and around Kamloops. 200 Fires were burning in BC at the time and the army was preparing to come in and help. It was the earliest fire season ever. Then an unknown spark, currently thought to be caused by the railway, set the whole village of Lytton instantly on fire and it burned down to a crisp. Nothing was left. Fortunately, the population was able to evacuate with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and only two deaths occurred. Kamloops was full and evacuations went next to Merritt and Chillawack. The Canadian public began to realize that climate change was not an emergency waiting for the future. It was now, and we were in the middle of it. This is what it looks like. And the heat wave was moving East into Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Now our game plan had been to leave on July 2nd and drive through Lytton to Lillooet to visit my brother and his son and his family for a day, then on to Kamloops to see his other son and my daughter on July 3rd. We were booked into the Hampton Inn (with level two charger) on July 3rd and had further bookings committed on the route. We both woke up on the second feeling anxious. We wondered if we were crazy to go on this trip. We phoned both our nephews for updates and advice. People who live in the mountains are used to fire season. The Coquihalla was still open. We decided to pass on Lillooet and wait a day to see how things develop. On July 3rd, the fire directly affecting Kamloops was under control and we decided to make a run for it. By this point temperatures on the coast had cooled off to the mid-twenties and it looked like we might be following the heat dome rather than being in it. (We had images in our heads of travelling in 40 degree C heat and not being able to run our air conditioning without cutting our range by 100 kms.)

July 3rd: Starting Av. Range 425 km Destination Kamloops (335.6 km)

High-Speed charge, Britton Creek at the top of the Coquihalla. Topped up to almost 80% in 45 mins. Added 162 km. Used an average of 13.9kwh/100km. Cost @.21 min. $8.97

Our BC Hydro card worked. No one else was using the two charging stations.

Starting Range 302 kms. Arrived in Kamloops with 239 kms remaining. (used 63 kms)

We had lots of range to drive around and visit people before we plugged in to our hotel. Two cars including ours used the two charging spots that night. The city was cloaked in smoke and breathing outside was difficult. By the end of the summer who knows? The whole of BC may be similarly plagued by smoke. People don’t realize that the climate crisis is also a public health crisis. I was looking forward to getting past the heat and the fires and seeing some of Beautiful British Columbia.

Our strategy was to, wherever possible, book into a hotel with a level two charger. This would allow us to start every morning with a full charge. Experts recommend you stop at 80% or you may cause damage to your battery with the high temperatures of high-speed charging. Second and third charges in one day would give us a reduced range.

We got a little excited when we noticed that a party of people was using the EV stations as a place to drink and smoke up. It didn’t feel like a secure environment to leave our car. We thought EV spaces were reserved for EV’s like handicapped spots are reserved for people with handicaps. Our hotel had no policy to reserve the EV spots. All hotels that we have used have told us first come first serve. No reservations. It is always a risk if the strategy will work.

Tomorrow we are headed for Golden. What a relief. We are on our way.

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Francis, thanks for doing this, with your charging and range anxiety experience. We opted for the lower range version of a Kia Soul with a smaller battery getting 200km range for local driving. We made the drive to Calgary just a few days before you but rented a car for the trip. Of note, Britton Creek rest stop had a power outage when we stopped there and even the washrooms were closed.


MC Glass
MC Glass
Jul 16, 2021

Frances and Ron- Your trip sounds like a real test of wits and compassion for yourselves and fellow EV drivers. Our Prius is a hybrid I gather you took the plunge with a Prime or other such total EV. Glad to read and see your journey, may the wind be at your back and thank you for sharing.



Jul 14, 2021

Great reading this, Francis. Ruth and I are planning a trip to Salmo later this summer, and your bravery in beating a path is very much appreciated. Our Kia Soul EV currently gets about 320 km range on a full charge, but I have no idea what climbing mountains will do to that. Good luck with the rest of your journey, and please keep posting.

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