top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid

Trip report: Vancouver to Kamloops in an electric vehicle

Our family travelled from Vancouver to Chase, BC (just east of Kamloops) recently and decided to take one of Modo's EVs, the Hyundai Kona. It has a reported range of about 400 km and can fast charge to 80% in less than an hour. The trip was about 410 km each way, so we knew it would involve at least one stop for charging.

Charging the Kona in Kamloops

I think Lacey was a little nervous about the extra logistical complexity beyond packing, potential car-sick kids, etc. Prior to this, the furthest we've gone in an EV is 30 km to Coquitlam! So she had a point. But a little research and consulting with my sustainability-minded former colleagues over Slack convinced me we should do this.

We've done the trip before by train and found it especially painful. Unfortunately, rail travel in (Western) Canada is inconvenient, slow, and somewhat unreliable. It's also not all that sustainable, it turns out.

So how did the trip go? Here are some things we learned about EVs on long-distance trips.

The charger doesn't fit...

The fast-charge stations often have two connectors (CHAdeMO and CCS) but neither seemed to fit the Kona. It took some fiddling around before I noticed the black cap over the bottom part of the charger — I had to remove that before it would connect.

CCS charging port on the Kona — note the cap on bottom

It makes sense now that I'm aware of it. For regular charging, you just use the top part of the CCS connector. Fast charging uses the whole shebang.

There are lots of charging options

At first, I was just using the BC Hydro EV app to find charging stations because Modo cars come with a card to pay at those stations. The BC Hydro charger in Hope is advertised as 50 kW, but only gave us 18 kW. It was fine because we were eating breakfast anyway and it got us back up to almost 80%. After that, I realized we should look more broadly for charging stations and started using the Plug Share app.

When we got to Kamloops, I decided to try the Petro Canada and it was giving us 71 kW — we only charged for 10 minutes to give us enough confidence we would make it to Chase. Very smooth experience there (just make sure you park on the correct side of the charging station so the connectors will reach).

On the return trip to Vancouver, we made it from Chase to Hope on a 90% charge. This time, we tried the Electrify Canada charger just around the corner from the BC Hydro one and got 76 kW. Charging up for 14 minutes ($3.78) was enough to get us to Vancouver.

Here's a quick recap:

  • Vancouver to Hope: 100% → 59%, then charged for 50 mins at BC Hydro charger

  • Hope to Kamloops: 79% → 15%, then charged for 14 mins at Petro Canada

  • Kamloops to Chase: 35% → 27%, then charged for 71 minutes at BC Hydro charger

  • Chase to Hope: 90% → 29%, then charged for 14 mins at Electrify Canada

  • Hope to Vancouver: 44% → 10%, then plugged in for the next Modo member

Charging at Electrify Canada charger in Hope

Elevation gain affects range a lot

The car log reported an average of 17.1 kWh over the 415 km drive to Chase. But of course that varies a lot depending on several factors like speed, but especially elevation gain.

Naturally, climbing uses a lot more energy than driving on a flat road. The Coquihalla Highway goes up 1200 m, so you definitely need to factor that in. We left hope with an 80% charge and arrived in Kamloops with about 15%.

I didn't try to measure it accurately, but I think we lost an extra 10 kWh (or 15% battery) just from climbing. Some estimates I've seen online say you'll use an extra 0.5 kWh per 100 m you climb, but it will vary by vehicle.

There's a handy screen on the Kona that shows a live breakdown of what's drawing on the battery. It was always 98-99% drivetrain for us, but we weren't using heat or AC. I didn't notice this screen until I was later flipping through the manual — couldn't help myself.

Would we do it again?

Definitely. I suppose the main downside is the learning curve, but already after one trip, I would say we're mostly past that now.

Modo at our destination in Chase, BC

Two of our favourite aspects of car sharing are our vehicle improving over time (oh look, it's electric now!) and being able to choose the right vehicle for each trip. I can see us using the Kona for camping trips and even around-town trips, at least until Modo has more EV options. (Even though it's bigger than we typically need.)

Beyond not spewing carbon into the atmosphere, the 2020 Kona has a few other nice features:

  1. Smart Cruise Control - keeping distance from vehicles ahead is so convenient

  2. Regenerative braking - it's very satisfying to coast downhill and net a lot of extra range, and even the stop-and-go driving in the city made me feel like I could "go infinite" (but not really, of course)

  3. Lane Keeping Assist - I had mixed feelings about this one. It turns the steering wheel for you to keep you in the lane, which makes you naturally relax your grip. But then it may not detect your grip (safety feature) and turn off briefly 🤔

The scenery during the road trip provided plenty of reminders about why we chose an EV. Despite ongoing reconstruction efforts, there are still many washed-out bridges from the devastating November 2021 flood and sections of forest where last summer's heatwave-fuelled wildfires burned a path right across the Coquihalla. At least it led to some healthy discussions with the kids.

So thankful to have EVs available through Modo! Hoping to see many more in the coming years.

תגובה אחת

05 ביוני 2022

Great job!

bottom of page