The way to vacation in an electric car

(Cap-aux-Meules, Îles-de-la-Madeleine) New gasoline vehicles will disappear from the Canadian scene by 2035. Is it possible to go all-electric without converting any road trip On a difficult pilgrimage? Our journalist used his vacation in the Magdalen Islands to test it.


Tristan Beloken

Tristan Beloken
Journalism

There has never been a charging station in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli or those in Moncton, New Brunswick. And still nobody is in line in the small town of Surris, Prince Edward Island. Charging an electric car at one of the many express stations that dot the 1,300 kilometers of road that separates Montreal from the Cap-aux-Meules ferry is nothing but a logistical challenge.

Completely unimaginable just two or three years ago, the adventure became, in fact, almost like riding in a gasoline-powered car. The rapid deployment of fast charging stations across the country has a lot to do with it.

Photo by Tristan Belokin, the press

In Dégelis, in Bas-Saint-Laurent, the electric express station is located at the end of a gas station parking lot, as is often the case with fast charging stations.

In Quebec, the Electric Circuit Public Payment Station Network, operated by Hydro-Québec, has approximately 450 of these 50 kW stations and is capable of recharging most electric vehicles to 80% of their load in about one hour ( $12.08 per station (hour of charging). The state-owned company intends to add about 160 annually in the county in the coming years, Hydro-Quebec spokesperson Louis-Olivier Batty identifies.

“Their number has really exploded in recent years,” CAA-Quebec auto expert Jesse Caron asserts. They are found every 100 km at most. ”

Departing from Montreal in a Chevrolet Bolt with an all-electric range of 385 km, with three kids on board and a trunk full of luggage, we crossed the road in a little longer than we would with a regular car. In all, the trip will require four stops of about an hour at express stops to recharge the car to 80% of its capacity, as well as three stops of less than 30 minutes, so you give yourself a little room until it’s time for your next meal stop.

Energy cost for the trip: $67.14 including taxes for 4 hours and 41 minutes of connecting to express stations. By comparison, a petrol-powered compact car with 7 liters per 100 kilometers would use $124.67 of gasoline (at $1,372/liter) for the same trip.

Finding these stations is very easy. Several smartphone applications are displayed on a map, in real time, those available nearby, and those in use. The Electric Circuit app also provides a route that shows where to stop and how many minutes to stop. The scheme takes into account the model of the vehicle used, the level of battery charge, as well as the slope of the road, road conditions and the excess weight transported. It turned out to be surprisingly accurate throughout the flight.

  • The interface of the fast charging stations is fairly easy to use, but requires the installation of the Electric Circuit app that is compatible with the Flo network of stations.

    Photo by Tristan Belokin, the press

    The interface of the fast charging stations is fairly easy to use, but requires the installation of the Electric Circuit app that is compatible with the Flo network of stations.

  • The circuit network of public payment stations, operated by Hydro-Québec, now has approximately 450 of these 50 kW stations.

    Photo by Tristan Belokin, the press

    The circuit network of public payment stations, operated by Hydro-Québec, now has approximately 450 of these 50 kW stations.

  • Fast charging stations can charge more than 80%, but the charging speed slows down significantly beyond this limit, in order to avoid deterioration of the battery due to its high temperature.

    Photo by Tristan Belokin, the press

    Fast charging stations can charge more than 80%, but the charging speed slows down significantly beyond this limit, in order to avoid deterioration of the battery due to its high temperature.

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The app, which is used to activate and pay for recharge, also allows you to find and use Flo Network stations ($14 per hour load), which is operated by Quebec-based AddÉnergie, which has a strong presence in Ontario. Maritime Provinces and the United States.

Once you leave Quebec, the circuit program becomes less useful. free apps ChargeHub (Quebec product) and Plugshare More efficient in public display kiosks, especially those at PetroCanada gas stations, many of which offer express kiosks ($15 an hour).

Usually ugly stations

Photo by Tristan Belokin, the press

In Borden, Prince Edward Island, just off the Confederate Bridge, all you need is a quick 20 or 25 minute refuel to comfortably reach the Souris ferry at the east end. From the county, with good driving leeway in the Magdalen Islands.

Admittedly, loading stations are, in most cases, far from being rural places. They are generally placed at the end of concrete parking lots at gas stations, providing little or no shade to keep the vehicle cool while charging (fortunately, the air conditioner can be run without drawing power from the battery during the charging process). .

Ideally, a picnic table invites you to stop by for a meal or snack. Gourmet notice: restaurants in the area are definitely not included in Michelin Guide. Along the highways, fast food reigns … to the delight of children.

Even in the middle of the construction holidays, the express stops we used were free upon our arrival. We had no trouble getting them to work, except for PEI, where our cell phone couldn’t connect to the mobile internet to allow charging. However, the gas station employee allowed us to use the WiFi in the store to start the process.

Photo by Tristan Belokin, the press

On the Île du Havre Aubert, in the Magdalen Islands, a free Flo network charging station offers a great view of the ocean.

Crossing it with a Tesla on the Quai de Souris, where the ferry takes travelers to Cap-aux-Meules, Alain Bourdages described an experience quite similar to ours. “It was my first ride over such a long distance. I stopped five or six times for 20 or 25 minutes to reload. None of the ports were occupied. It was a very interesting experience,” he said.

Once in the archipelago, we even found a public station with a capacity of 7.4 kW – completely empty – offering a view from above on the ocean and the green hills of Havre-Oper …

Departure from Montreal

Illustration by Julian Chung, Press

The battery is 100% charged

1He is Stop: Levis (circuit)

Duration: 16 minutes

Cost: $3.20

2NS Stop: Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (circuit)

Duration: 41 minutes

Cost: $8.28

3NS Stop: Dégelis (circuit)

Duration: 58 minutes

Cost: $11.68

4NS Stop: Meductic, New Brunswick (Petro-Canada)

Duration: 65 minutes

Cost: $16.06

5NS Stop: Moncton, New Brunswick (PetroCanada)

Duration: 68 minutes

Cost $16.76

6NS Stop: Borden, Prince Edward Island (FLO)

Duration: 24 minutes

Cost: $8.05

7NS Stop: Souris, Prince Edward Island (Flo)

Duration: 9 minutes

Cost: $3.11

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