Range Anxiety: Year Two
2.1 July 6th, 2022
Perhaps you have figured out at this point that Ron and I make an annual trek to Ontario.
We started out our trip this year with positive anticipation. More EV’s than ever were being sold. We were aware that BC Hydro had made a real effort to fill in the gaps and make sure those EV’s could go anywhere in BC. When I got out my handy Plugshare app. (https://www.plugshare.com) it seemed to confirm our expectations. I was delighted to see that there were new stations in out-of-the way places like Lillooet, BC and that I could go all the way to visit my daughter in Houston, in Northern BC near Smithers. I could also see that FLO had been very active putting in chargers offering a driver more choice and more resiliency.
Flo went even further and put chargers along the Yellowhead and between Flo and Canadian Tire, we could likely make it from Jasper through Edmonton to Saskatoon. Saskatoon had 3 high speed chargers and many level two chargers compared to almost nothing last year. There weren’t nearly enough chargers in Alberta and Saskatchewan and a drive along the Yellowhead would still be precarious. There would be no room for chargers to be down. But an adventurous soul might make it.
We visited my brother in Lillooet, then travelled the TransCanada to Revelstoke and then Calgary. Revelstoke had 3 level 2 chargers at hotels to choose from in addition to a high-speed charge, so we got a good start the next day. With a boost in Field, BC we made it all the way to Calgary where we stayed in a Best Western Premier, visited friends and family and got a full level 2 charge. So far so good.
Charging at Roger's Pass on the way home in 2021. We made it all the way from Calgary on one charge, and all the way to Kamloops after this boost. It was the only time we had a wait to charge.
Range Anxiety Year Two
2.2 July 8- Rogers Fiasco
We woke on the morning of July 8th to the news that Rogers was having a national outage and that many services were disrupted. Of course, Ron and I have our phone packages with Rogers mobility. But we were accessing the internet through our hotel wifi so we didn’t think too much about it. We set off merrily on our way to Regina Saskatchewan where we had our hotel booked at a good hotel we had used before with a nice level two charge at the end of long day. To get there we needed high speed charges in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and Swift Current, Saskatchewan. This would add two hours of charging to an already long day for us, most likely seven to eight hours of driving. We felt confident because both Medicine Hat and Swift Current had at least 3 options to charge, A Petrocan, A Co-op, and a Canadian Tire or a Flo.
Imagine our shock when we drove up to the Co-op in Medicine Hat and tried to connect with our Co-op AP. We could not activate the machine. We went in to the office to get help. The staff there were so willing, but unable to do anything. "The machines are down," we were told. "It’s the Roger’s crisis." The machines were using the Roger’s internet service. The Co-op also could only do business by cash or credit card. Their debit service was down. Finally they gave us detailed written instructions on how to get to Chevrolet in case they could help. (You must remember we had no GPS to get around Medicine Hat, no phone service to call anyone, and no Plugshare AP to help us either.) We spent several hours going to every high speed machine in Medicine Hat but they were all down.
As a last resort we went to Chevrolet. They greeted us warmly but couldn't help. They were just in the process of installing 3 level two chargers, one for the shop and two for the public. They might be hooked up by tomorrow. (So much for their promise when we purchased that we would find a high speed charger at every dealership in North America.) They referred us to Murray Hyundi who had an active Level two charger hooked up. (Level two chargers could work because they are hard wired, not on wifi.) They were unbelievably kind and generous. They even offered to drive us somewhere to have lunch. We settled in for a long wait. It would take five hours to get enough charge to take us to Swift Current. It was 12 noon. We went for a walk to find lunch.
We landed at a nearby Humpty's, where we passed a few hours of our waiting time in the cool. The manager broke all the rules and allowed us to use her phone to call our hotel in Regina to ask for late arrival. (Unbelievably, we were still hoping to get to Regina.)
We left medicine hat at 4:45 pm. for a two and a half-hour drive to Swift Current. We did the tour of all the charging stations in Swift Current only to find at the end of the day we were still unable to charge. Our best hope was morning. Surely Rogers would have it solved by then. We imagined days sight-seeing in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.
We cancelled our hotel in Regina and began to look for a place to sleep in Swift Current. It was Stampede week in Calgary. We discovered that every motel from Moose Jaw to Calgary was booked.
We ended up sleeping in the Paradise Motel, in a room with hot water, a bed and not much else, and we were grateful to find it. After watching a magnificent Prairie sunset, we fell into bed, exhausted. Maybe we’d get lucky tomorrow.
(I wish I knew how to take photos of sunsets with my iphone. Sigh)
Imagine the relief Ron felt in the wee hours of the morning when he was up to meet his bodily needs, checked his phone, and found Rogers was back on!