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EV Blog 4: July 4th and 5th, 2021-- Mountain Driving; (Range Anxiety) 2021 Nanaimo to Eagle Lake

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

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Each day we had to assess how far we wanted to go and where the pit stops would be where we could charge. The total trip from Kamloops to Calgary is 623 kms and normally we would make that drive and stay overnight and for a couple more days in Calgary to visit friends. This trip, my cousin, and my friend of 50 years were both in nursing homes in unfamiliar parts of town. Visiting each of them was going to need to be carefully arranged, even though Covid restrictions were gradually lifting. When we discovered a hotel with an EV charger in Golden (Holiday Inn Express) we decided to make it two short driving days. We could get into Calgary before noon and have the afternoon to see people. The bonus was spending more time in the mountains. We are about to embark on one of the most beautiful drives in Canada and we wanted to enjoy it.

Start from Kamloops: 434 km range. Trip to Golden 383 kms

The first part of the trip is through the beautiful Shuswap Lakes. Although we didn’t need to stop yet, we were comforted to know there were 3 high-speed options to charge in Salmon Arm. The Malawaka Supermarket also offered a high-speed charge thanks to BC Hydro. We wanted to make sure we were topped up because there would be a steep climb up to Golden so we took advantage of the BC Hydro charger at Revelstoke.

Arrived in Revelstoke with 250 kms remaining. Kamloops to Revelstoke 216.4 km.

We gained 33 regen kms. Must have had some good long downs. Average 13kwh/100km. Used 28.4 kwh

Added 100 km during a 26 minute charge. Cost: @.21/min. $5.45

The info centre at Revelstoke showed us many interesting things to do there. Among other things the area appears to be a draw for bird watchers. There is a swimming beach and many places to camp and hike. The charger was located at the info centre, a medium walk from the more interesting mall where one might have passed time or bought something to eat. We had our usual picnic on a bench outside a pharmacy.

I would have liked to spend time looking around Revelstoke. Seemed to be a very pretty town. But we wanted to get into Golden early to make sure we would be first at the hotel’s EV charger. We wanted to be sure to have a full charge to get to Calgary. Range anxiety was determining our decisions somewhat more than we wanted.

This photo is from an earlier trip and shows the way the glaciers used to be.

Start Range from Revelstoke 348 kms. Distance to Golden: 148km

We are headed through the well-known Rogers Pass with all its avalanche sheds. We enjoyed the beautiful mountain vistas, lakes, and waterfalls all the way through the mountains. The road was excellent. Minimal construction delays. The temperature was lovely. The weather gorgeous. Ron and I have both been through these mountains many times since our childhoods. We remember the excitement of finding snow in the mountain passes and the sight of the beautiful mountaintops covered in glaciers. It is sad to see how quickly they are disappearing. We talk about how our beloved rivers, (The Bow, and the North and South Saskatchewan), are going to be fed when the glaciers are gone.

The Holiday Inn Express was in a commercial area at the top of the hill coming into Golden. It was separated from the other side of the highway by a median barrier so that you couldn’t easily access restaurants or businesses on the other side of the street. Ideally we would take the time to drive around Golden and see what was of interest before we plugged in but we still had no idea how many EV’s were on the road, competing for that one charging spot. We chose to check in and start charging. So there we were, far from the town and caught in a commercial zone with not much to do. We walked around for awhile, appreciated a delicious Chinese dinner at the Chinese Palace, and caught up on our e-mail.

July 5th: Range at Start: 401 km. Trip to Calgary 345 km.

Average usage 15kwh/100km. Used 52kwh. We had been climbing to Golden. Hotel charge free.

We had hoped to have a better range to start out to Calgary, wondering if we could make it without stopping. The problem is the estimated full charge is dependent on the average of your last trip so it is hard to predict what you will really get going down into Field, up into Lake Louise, and down to Calgary. If we need it, there is a BC Hydro charger at Field. A level two charger at Lake Louise. And a Petrocan in Canmore, just outside of Banff.

As it turned out, we arrived in Calgary by 11 am, with 120 km left to use driving around Calgary to visit our friends. Calgary provides that speedy system of freeways so that we could get from the South end to the North end with ease. Had lovely visits with my family and friends. Photos.

Sadly we had to turn down an offer of longer party time and lasagne to make sure we got that one charger.

We finally ended up at the Best Western Premier -- the perfect place to get set for crossing Alberta to Regina. (Best Western is a chain that often (not always) provides EV charging.). We needed a good charge for the next day’s trip. It was going to be a long one. We went exploring to find the Great Canadian Brewhouse, did a minor Covid dance with a group of 5 sitting next to us who didn’t feel they had to 6 foot distance any more, and ended up with a sort of seating compromise, some conversation, and an example of warm western hospitality with a sharing of dried ribs.

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Debby Lee Keith
Debby Lee Keith
Jul 19, 2021

I enjoyed reading this. I am keenly interested because it is a drive a have done, and will continue to do many times, and I would like to do it in a more sustainable way.


Jane Nares
Jane Nares
Jul 18, 2021

Very interesting; thanks for adding me to the list. I'm curious as to how you're going to deal with driving through northern Ontario. Having done it a few times with a regular car, I know that you have to plan where to buy gas, quite apart from where to charge your EV. Good luck with this!


Jul 17, 2021

It's so great reading this, Francis. You give me a lot of confidence for our trip to Salmo in the last week of August. Sorry to read that range anxiety was such a factor in your decision making. I think we EV people will get over that, and be more willing to take chances, as we gain experience. You are a true trail blazer, eh. Please keep on driving and blogging.

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