More northern charging stations needed, Tesla owner says
'I’ve got an electric vehicle; it would be nice to have some electric stations'
A Tesla owner is putting the electric pedal to the metal to advocate for more high-powered charging stations in Northern British Columbia.
Prince Rupert resident Brian Lutz bought his Tesla — a car that only runs on electricity — last month.
Lutz chose to buy a Tesla to save on fuel costs. He drives for work and estimates he travels anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 kilometres per month.
"My monthly costs on fuel and repairs and maintenance were astronomical ... I was paying upwards of $800 to $1,000/month," he said. " [Now] I'm not paying for fuel, my repairs have gone down."
The problem, Lutz said, is electric vehicle chargers are too far apart.
"The thing that deters people and other electric vehicle owners I've talked to in the North, is the horse before the cart thing. You have a gas vehicle. You want a gas station. I've got an electric vehicle. It would be nice to have some electric stations," he said.
Different ports have different charging times. Lutz's car can take seven to eight hours to fully charge when the charger is 30 amps. If it were 80 amps, it would take four hours. A supercharger station can charge in 30 minutes. According to charger mapping site Plugshare.com, there are currently no supercharger stations in Northern B.C.
In normal conditions, Lutz estimated he can average 420 kilometres on a full battery, although during the winter months he averages 280 kilometres per charge.
It's about 800 kilometres between Prince George and Prince Rupert, which would mean he would require a few charges.
Lutz felt the full brunt of this problem when he decided to drive his newly-purchased Tesla from Vancouver to Prince Rupert — a journey that should have taken 18 to 24 hours took him three and a half days.
"That was going from station to station, charging to a max and then leaving when I had enough charge to the next station," he explained.
If there were 10 to 14 more charging stations between Prince Rupert and Vancouver, he said, it would cut travelling time significantly.
He's already made his case to Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach. He said he'll be meeting with others soon.
But Lutz understands as one of Prince Rupert's only Tesla owners, he might be a little ahead of his time.
"[I'm at] the bleeding edge. It's before everyone else is doing it," he said. "But we have an option now to move away from [fossil fuels]. We just need mass society to come on board."
With files from George Baker
To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Prince Rupert's first Tesla owner takes a road trip to lobby for better charging stations in northern B.C.