British Columbia

Do you have electric vehicle range anxiety? This report can help

BC Hydro survey says misconceptions around how far a new EV can travel on a single charge are stopping a lot of people from make the switch from gas to electric.

Just in time for summer road trip season, BC Hydro says there are many misconceptions around EV driving

A car is connected to an electric-vehicle charging station in downtown Vancouver, B.C. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Talk to anyone with a passing interest in owning an electric vehicle and the conversation quickly turns to the topic of range anxiety.

That's the nagging doubt that an EV battery has enough power to get someone to where they're going, especially if the destination is out of town. 

According to BC Hydro, range anxiety is the reason 70 per cent of British Columbians say they are reluctant to make the switch from a gas powered vehicle to an electric one.

But a new report released just in time for summer road trip season says most range anxiety concerns aren't warranted.

"We found the average road trip that British Columbians are taking is actually less than 300 kilometres one way — that's within the range of what the most popular electric vehicle models can go on a single charge," said Tanya Fish, BC Hydro senior communications advisor.

According to BC Hydro, a number of newer model EVs have sufficient battery range to reach many popular B.C. road trip destinations on a single charge. (BC Hydro)

Newer EV like this year's models of the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul and and Hyundai Kona all have ranges of over 360 kilometres. According to plugndrive.ca, a non-profit that promotes electric vehicle ownership, the average EV on the market in Canada today has a range of around 250 kilometres.

The report also found that alongside range concerns, drivers also worry about where to charge an EV and how much time charging adds to their overall trip. 

Fish says B.C.'s fast-charge infrastructure is a lot better than most people know, especially on some of the more popular road trip routes like Vancouver to Kelowna and Victoria to Tofino.

"Unless you're an electric vehicle driver, you're probably not looking for the charging stations," she said. 

The report says there are over 250 fast-charging stations in B.C. and more coming every day. Most are located within 300 metres of a major road or highway or in convenient locations — near shopping and bathrooms for example. 

On average, an EV battery can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes at a fast-charge station.

The report says drivers should preplan their route and charging station stops before heading out on an EV road trip, and recommends using the BC Hydro app to find charging station locations and information.

 

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