PEI

Rock down to electric avenue: Family makes road trip from Ottawa to P.E.I. using electric car

An electric car owner is working on changing the perception that the vehicles aren't made for long distance.

'It fits our lifestyle very well'

Paul Camire used his electric car to take an east coast road trip with his family. (Paul Camire/Twitter)

An electric car owner is working on changing the perception that the vehicles aren't made for long distance.

Paul Camire and his wife packed up their Chevy Bolt and took a road trip from Ottawa to P.E.I.

He said that although stopping more frequently is part of having an electric car, it works for him.

You wake up with a full charge every day, and even multiple trips during the day, you come back home, you plug it in.- Paul Camire

"We were travelling with our two young kids so stopping every three hours for 30 minutes or an hour or whatever we needed is completely normal for us," said Camire.

"It fits our lifestyle very well."

'No going back'

Camire said that he got one of the first Chevy Volts in Canada in 2011 and doesn't see himself switching to a gas-powered car again.

"There's no going back. There's no going back to gasoline vehicles now," he said.

He said that owning an electric car comes with added convenience.

Paul Camire says he thinks the added convenience of an electric car makes it worthwhile. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

"You're always topping off the battery when the car is parked. Your car is parked most of the time, so there's lots of opportunity to charge," he said.

"You wake up with a full charge every day, and even multiple trips during the day, you come back home, you plug it in."

'Nice quiet time'

There are drawbacks, as Camire admits.

While on the Island he was staying at his sister's cottage, and was charging his car at the slowest possible rate.

"That's to be expected sometimes. It still is the early days of electric cars."

The family was hungry but because they were waiting for the car to charge they had to change their plans.

"We had some nice quiet time and ordered some take-out."

'A little thin'

Camire said that waiting for the charging infrastructure to catch up to the first wave of users is par for the course. 

"The infrastructure is still a little thin in some places, but it's part of being an early adopter."

He said he used an app that shows where the charging stations were along the route east to make sure the car didn't run out of power.

"The one little worry is if they were occupied you might have to wait a little bit," he said, as charging can take up to an hour.

'Kind of stalled'

According to Camire the charging infrastructure in Quebec was great, and that a series of new stations had been installed along the Trans Canada Highway in New Brunswick.

On P.E.I., charging stations are owned by private business, municipalities and sometimes individuals.

Camire said that P.E.I. has some ground to make up despite a strong start to their charging infrastructure.

"Prince Edward Island was actually ahead of the curve a couple of years ago, they installed about 25 or so charging stations," he said.

"It's kind of stalled. That was a big push but it kind of stopped there."

He said that because P.E.I.'s stations are older they aren't as efficient as the ones on the rest of the route east.

'Crunch your numbers'

Camire said that having an electric vehicle can be an expensive investment, especially if the province you live in doesn't offer rebates for the purchase.

He estimates that the cost balances out because though an electric car costs more than a gas-powered one, fuel and maintenance cost less.

"A higher payment and lower operating cost versus lower payment higher operating cost."

He said that prospective owners need to evaluate what works for them.

"So crunch your numbers and see if it works for you."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story identified Paul Camire's car as a Chevy Volt. In fact, he bought a Chevy Volt in 2011, but now has a Chevy Bolt.
    Aug 14, 2017 10:21 AM AT

With files from Matt Rainnie

now