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EV BLOG 7: July 9, 2021 -- Lake Superior - (Range Anxiety, Nanaimo to Eagle Lake Ontario.)

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We woke up in Thunder Bay to a good breakfast and a car that was fully charged. Our experiment worked and we began to discover the value of the Level one charger we had been carrying around in our trunk in case of emergency.


At Thunder Bay you have to decide if you are taking the mountainous scenic route overlooking Lake Superior (1,018.71 km from Nipigon to North Bay via Hwy 17, or the slightly shorter, easier and faster Highway 11 truck route further North (987.8 kms from Nipigon to North Bay.) Often Ron and I would choose Highway 11, but we thought we had better check the charging opportunities. The first available high-speed charge was in Hearst, a distance of 401.5 kms. Possible. But very risky. There is a good climb from Nipigon before the curve on to the flat (and we already know how flat flat can be.). There was no insurance if my 385 posted range was not enough. Opportunities were even fewer until we got around to New Liskert. The Northern route did not look viable. Petrocanada had contracted to cover Highway 17, but not Highway 11 -- the Central version of the TransCanada Highway in Ontario. Just as they have not covered the Yellowhead in the West. So the 17 was the only choice, luckily for us. The highway was new and beautifully engineered. And the views were spectacular.


We thought we had found a hotel in Wawa that had a level two charger, but after the Petrocan came in, the hotel got rid of its charger. Again, we had to start out the next day on an 80% charge. Fortunately, the Petrocan was right across the street.


So far, every time we took a break we were sitting in a parking lot charging our car. We were passing through some of the most beautiful country anywhere in the world, and we weren’t stopping to enjoy it. No time to savour the skunk cabbage walk in the mountains, or have a swim in the lake. Or to just picnic in a rest area with a nice view or a chance to walk the beach. We decided to shorten our daily trips and take the time to savour a bit of the country we were travelling through. I think we’ll take a few extra travel days on the way home.


Starting at Thunder Bay: 435 (429) kms. We had added 60 with the trickle charge.

Destination Terrace Bay: 218.4 km. Arrived with 214 kms. remaining. Av. 14.2 kwh/100km. Used an Ivy Charging Station for the first time. Added 140 km. 39 mins. Cost: $13.30. 20.32kwh.

Left Terrace Bay with 354 (344)km.


Terrace Bay had a new setup for us. It appeared that the charging station was at a hotel. Then we realized it was 2 motels and they had a gas station attached as well. We approached the station and checked to see if it had the correct hook-up. It did. We read the instructions and tried to get it charging. No luck. We called the phone number to try and register our credit card. The young man took our credit card, created an account for us with Greenlots, and got us started charging. He told me that my e-mail was our username with Greenlots and that he had created a temporary password which I should change -- for next time.


Ivy, it turns out, is the system that Ontario Hydro partnered with to get EV charging stations going in Ontario. But Ontario Hydro took a completely different approach from BC Hydro. They seem to have put out an offer to the commercial zone in Ontario that they could have a deal on a high-speed charger. An IVY charger might be found at any Fast Food place, or a hotel, or in a community centre. The offer was not taken up by whole chains -- like Esso or Canadian Tire or all the Service Rest areas in Ontario. It was responded to by individual franchise owners who had the foresight to see it might bring them business. It is not clear who is sponsoring it or taking care of it if anything goes wrong. In this case, we finally decided we had a right to use the washroom at the service station attached to the two motels. And I was soon to learn, that each machine was a little different.


I spent some time downloading the Greenlots App and trying to find my account. I ended up creating another one. In my internet searching, Greenlots seems to be connected somehow with Shell. I still have no understanding of the relationships among all these different entities. I had more confidence in the BC Hydro approach.

Terrace Bay had a lovely little commercial centre right by these two motels. It had been built by the Long Lac Pulp and Paper company (later Kimberly Clark). There was a central park area with a lighthouse you could climb to get a view and to stretch your legs. There was a nice patio café that was crowded with people enjoying themselves. There was a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a number of other businesses including a place where we could get an ice cream cone. One of our more pleasant stops as it turned out. No, we did not climb the lighthouse. We were stuck in our sitting position after all that driving.


Terrace Bay to Wawa: Starting Charge 344km. Distance 263.7 kms. 111kms remaining in Wawa. AV. 13.7 kwh/100. At Petrocan, Added 282 kms. Cost: $21.81.

Charged a little long. (Partying at the Beaver Motel across the street.)

Starting Charge leaving Wawa 393km. 90%.


At Wawa, we started to learn our lessons. I persuaded Ron to find the beach at Lake Wawa and went for a swim. It was a very shallow beach but luckily the kids playing pointed the way to a long dock into the deeper water. Had a beautiful cold-water swim to the far shore and back. Then we set out to find one of the two patios in town reported to be open and enjoyed a beer and a pleasant meal. The Beaver Motel was a bit small for space but had everything we needed. It was a family run business full of those personal touches that make a stay memorable. And PetroCanada was right across the street so we started our charge as soon as we got home from dinner.


July 10th: Destination, Sudbury (530 kms.). Our hotel in Sudbury would have a level two charger (we thought.)

Wawa to Sault Ste Marie: 227 kms. Starting Charge: 393 kms. Arrived in Sault Ste Marie with 163 remaining. Av. 13.9 kwh/100. Trip 230.6 km. Charged at Petrocan. Added 215 kms. in 51 mins. Cost: $16.73.




Along the road we saw a nice rest stop at Pancake Bay and decided not to have our picnic in a parking lot. We had our own picnic table in the shade right next to the beach. Had a visit with a nice couple from Eliot Lake. We got a chance to dip our feet in Lake Superior and enjoy the beach.


Just before you get to Sault Ste. Marie there are a lovely series of climbs that might be an energy drain but we had plenty of range to handle it. The highway all along the route was beautiful. Brand new and well-engineered for good car handling. When we found our Petrocan we had lucked out. There was a Tim Horton’s across the street where we enjoyed a cool drink on a patio.


We were past Lake Superior. Tonight, Sudbury. Tomorrow Eagle Lake.

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