Chevy Bolt EV: a review from rural BC

A few days ago I had the chance to see a Chevrolet Bolt EV (brand new to Canada, and EPA range of 383 km!), courtesy of Kalawsky Chevrolet here in the Kootenays (in Castlegar, BC).  Terry Klapper is the resident Bolt EV (and Volt) sales guy and he was happy to show me the car’s features and let me take the wheel for a short, but representative, test drive.  (A short drive through town, then across the mighty Columbia River following Highway 3 up the first big hill on the way to the Bombi Summit allowed me to get a sense of town driving, merging, hill climbing, highway speeds, and descending with regen.)

First Bolt in the interior at Kalawsky Chevrolet

Continue reading Chevy Bolt EV: a review from rural BC

The New West EV Family Goes to the Great Wolf Lodge

In late March 2016 during spring break, the New West EV Family made the trek south of Olympia, WA to the Great Wolf Lodge all the way from New Westminster, BC. Great Wolf Lodge is a hot and humid indoor water-park and thematic hotel in the middle of no-where Washington state. There are a dozen or more of these monstrosities across the US and this one is perfectly situated, equidistant from Seattle and Portland, for frazzled parents to whisk away their kiddos for some distraction in the middle of the gloomy winters. For us Canadians it was a welcome escape from our cool, damp, and grey winters. We had really wanted to get someplace like Palm Springs or San Diego for some authentic sunshine but since our loonies and toonies don’t go as far these days the artificial tropics of the Great Wolf Lodge was just what we needed and what the pocket book would accept. Continue reading The New West EV Family Goes to the Great Wolf Lodge

Dear Tesla: Suggested features for the Model Y

Dear Tesla Motors:

My family lives in a mountainous region of BC, Canada called the Kootenays.  The venerable Subaru is kind of the unofficial car of our region for a number of good reasons.  We in fact own a 2011 Forester as our 2nd car for all the journeys that our electric Nissan Leaf cannot do.  It has a good AWD system, decent ground clearance, and can traverse any gravel road we encounter on our way to remote lakes and mountain hikes.  In the winter, the AWD and clearance makes the drive to the ski hill a non-event.  And, for a small SUV, it gets decent gas mileage.  However, after driving an EV for a few years, driving the Forester feels archaic.

We would love to replace our Forester with a Model Y in the next few years, and while on a recent road-trip in our Forester, we thought up a list of features we would like to see in your next take on an SUV.

(For blog readers unaware, Tesla will be making a SUV/CUV vehicle after the Model 3, and it will be based on the same platform and called the Model Y; similar to how the X is based on the S platform.) Continue reading Dear Tesla: Suggested features for the Model Y

Day-trip: Nelson to Crawford Bay area

Our neck of the woods near Nelson is a really beautiful part of British Columbia.  The roads along the lakes, valleys and over the passes are amazingly scenic.  You can drive a little slower with the windows down and really enjoy the scents and sounds of the mountains, or you can tighten your grip on the wheel and enjoy the twisty roads (safely of course!)

On this day-trip from Nelson, we head along the North Shore of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake to Balfour, where we catch the longest free ferry in BC across the lake to Kootenay Bay (this ferry, and several others, should be converted to be electric!)  From there, we hop over a small ridge to Crawford Bay, a very neat village with a dense collection of artisans.  After browsing and shopping for a few hours, we decided to head north on the east side of the lake to check out Riondel, and then south of Kootenay Bay onto Pilot Bay Peninsula to visit the restored lighthouse.  (Data about the drive from a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle point of view is at the end of this post.) Continue reading Day-trip: Nelson to Crawford Bay area

Winter driving in the Leaf up to Whitewater

Last year, I posted about one of our first trips up to the Whitewater Ski Resort, near Nelson, BC, with our electric vehicle (EV), a 2014 Nissan Leaf SL.  We went on to drive up to the hill many many more times over the course of the winter, and the weekend ‘pilgrimage’ has started again, as of early December 2015.

For those more into video, I filmed portions of the drive up and down on a recent sunny weekend.  I kept a running commentary on different topics (see below), interspersed with time-lapse portions with music.

Continue reading Winter driving in the Leaf up to Whitewater

New West EV Family Goes to the Zoo – Part 2/2

Hello again from the New West EV Family!

This post is the third in a series and discusses the second half of our Seattle Zoo trip in our 2013 Nissan Leaf. My first guest post was an introduction and review of charging requirements for the trip. In part one of my trip report we discussed the drive plan and our trip south from New Westminster to the Seattle area and our stops for charging along the way.

On my last post we ended day one enjoying a nice meal at the Cheesecake Factory while charging to 100% on L2 at the Bellevue Square mall. We returned to our hotel in Everett with 73% remaining and 7 battery temperature bars while Leaf Spy showed the battery temperature to be nearly 40 degrees C. Now for most of you in California or Arizona this isn’t an uncommon temperature but we barely saw 6 bars this summer, 5 is normal, and we will probably see 4 bars all ‘winter’. Regardless, the battery cooled to about 24.5 C overnight on this trip. (note: the ambient temperatures I am guessing were ~12 C overnight; high battery temperatures are something to be minimized over the long term). Continue reading New West EV Family Goes to the Zoo – Part 2/2

An intro to electric vehicles and the Nissan Leaf during my work commute (video)

Some time ago, I came across a YouTube Channel from an electric vehicle (EV) owner in Norway where he filmed his drives around scenic Norway, talking about various EV topics, though primarily related to the Tesla Model S (Bjorn Nyland).  I enjoyed a number of his videos, and many others seem to as well, so I thought I would try my own! Continue reading An intro to electric vehicles and the Nissan Leaf during my work commute (video)