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Day-trip: Nelson to Fletcher Falls and Ainsworth Hotsprings

I’ve decided that I should be adding more posts of regular trips that my family embarks on around the Kootenays themselves, since most of the EV “adventure” posts have so far been about longer journeys outside of our region.  I also will be adding a Page in the near future that will serve as a database of local trips that includes real data that I have collected so the growing collection of EV owners in our region have real data to work from!

Anyways – Marley’s mom is here visiting from Hamilton, Ontario this week, and with the beautiful fall weather, we thought a day-trip up the lake to see Fletcher Falls, with a soak in the Ainsworth Hot Springs on the way home, was just the ticket for her last day in BC.

Nelson to Fletcher Falls (notice Ainsworth Hotsprings just south of FF)

Nelson to Fletcher Falls (notice Ainsworth Hotsprings just south of FF)

I plugged the distance and elevation values into my trip planner spreadsheet and saw that we would be cutting it a bit close to do the trip in one charge (97%!).  However, I was pretty certain we would make it, since my experience so far is that my tool is on the conservative side.

Estimated energy usage

Estimated energy usage

I emailed Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort ahead of time to see if they might have an available outlet for use to pick up ~ 10% while we were at the hot springs.  They had a look and responded that I would be able to try plugging into the outlets on the back of pillars that are near each of the motel rooms.  I was thinking these sounded like block-heater plugs, and for reasons unknown to me, block-heater outlets don’t seem to typically work for the trickle-chargers that come with EVs (update June 2017: Ainsworth now has a Level 2 charger!).  I was pretty certain we could make the trip on one charge, so we decided to go regardless.  My plan was that if we got to Fletcher Falls with about the predicted % remaining, I would just drive slower on the way home, since reducing your speed is the easiest way to gain range (see my final leg of a journey home from Kelowna for a dramatic example where I got 180km of range, despite well over 1,000m ascent/descent and a lower starting town!)

We preheated the car, and loaded up the 3 adults and 2 kids.  As a side note, with a car seat, booster seat, and one adult in the back, it was a bit cramped for the adult in the centre.  Especially in the shoulder area.  We suspect that once both kids are in boosters it will be better, then it should be totally fine once at least one kid is out of a booster.

The journey out to Fletcher Falls was very nice and relaxed, and with the beautiful weather we pulled over for photos a few times, then once the road became too narrow we had to be content with snapping photos through the car windows.  We encountered some construction just south of Ainsworth, so that brought our average speed down, and hence lowered our consumption.  We arrived at FF having only used 40% of our battery rather than 50%, so I knew we would be fine for the journey home.

For all the photos in this post, click any of them to enlarge

Fletcher Falls was amazing, and I look forward to seeing it again in the spring when the creek is roaring!  The beach was gorgeous and deserted today, so we spread out our picnic and soaked up the October sun.  It was also full of fantastic skipping rocks, so Cedric and I spent quite a bit of time skipping rocks 🙂

After the sun went behind the mountains, we started to get chilly and were looking forward to the hot springs.  A short 15 minute walk back to the car, then a 10 minute conversation about the car with a couple from Saskatchewan, then an even shorter drive, and we were there!  I went inside to the lobby and was directed to the outlets.  I tried plugging in, and the outlets didn’t work – the ‘ready’ light did not come on for the charger.  Neither did the ‘fault’ light either, so I’m not sure if they were even powered up yet?  Maybe I’ll try again in the winter.  In any event, we didn’t need a charge today, so all was fine.  I did suggest in my email that they look into obtaining a dedicated Level 2 charger for guest-use.

After soaking for a number of hours, we headed back to Nelson in the fading evening light.  A successful day-trip in our all-electric Nissan Leaf, for a total travelling energy cost of ~ $1.65 (instead of over $11 in gas for our Forester).

We used less energy than I had estimated

We used less energy than I had estimated, I think largely due to less heater use than I had expected

Estimated energy usage

Estimated energy usage

kootenay andrew
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5 thoughts on “Day-trip: Nelson to Fletcher Falls and Ainsworth Hotsprings”

  1. Maybe it is time to work with smaller municipalities to install a 30 or 50 amp plug at their municipal offices. These are usually in the midst of town, and would be an inexpensive step until they see the value of installing a level 2 charger. While this would require users carry a personal EVSE, I feel this a small cost to avail of cheap plugs on various journeys.

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