This page includes a list of websites for different resources that I have found useful so far in electric vehicle (EV) ownership in BC specifically, and some general links.
Last updated March 2017.
Other Information/Advocacy Websites and Blogs
Accelerate Kootenays – “accelerate Kootenays is Canada’s first community-driven, collaborative strategy to build a clean transportation network. It is a 2-year, $1.5 million initiative of the Regional Districts of East Kootenay, Central Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary with support from Columbia Basin Trust, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Province of BC, FortisBC, BC Hydro, and Powertech Labs. The project, facilitated by the Community Energy Association, will create an electric vehicle (EV) charging station network so EV travel to and within the region is convenient and reliable.”
Emotive BC – “Electric vehicles (EVs) are here to stay. Charging stations are everywhere; music sounds better in EVs, road trips are more fun, and gas prices are a fading image in your rearview mirror.
We created Emotive to share the good news. Why not come see what all the buzz is about? Emotive is a campaign that raises awareness of plug-in electric vehicles in B.C. The campaign’s goal is to share with British Columbians how much FUN it is to drive an EV.”
VEVA – Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association: “The purpose of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association is to promote and develop a general interest in the use of electric vehicle transportation as an alternative to the internal combustion engine.”
Victoria Leaf Club – a club based in Victoria with a lot of information on owning an EV on the Island. Includes trip reports, member stories, region-specific news, a forum, and much more!
Canadian Leaf – a blogger based in Ontario, where the winters are much colder than here in the Kootenays. He has over 7 years on his LEAF and over 100,000 km. Also, he was the first LEAF owner in Canada!
BC Eventure – a blogger based in Vancouver, BC, she commutes out the valley every day in her LEAF. Like me, she also likes to push the boundaries of her car! Check out her blog for trip reports and other tidbits.
Mr Money Mustache – a Canadian now living in Colorado, Pete is notorious for his straight-shooting advice on fixing your money ills. He generally advocates for living locally and understanding the concept of ‘enough’. Recently he decided to buy a Nissan Leaf as an experiment, and he has a good post on his decision process, plus another page where he provides periodic updates on the car.
Incentive Program Info
Clean Energy Vehicles for BC – this program has been around for a number of years now, slightly changing along the way. It occasionally runs out of funding mid-budget cycle or isn’t renewed for a cycle (we bought our Leaf in such a lull). Typical incentive amount is $2,500 for PHEVs and $5,000 for BEVs. Check the website for details.
Scrap-it EV – if you scrap any car, you can get up to $3,250 on the purchase of a new OR used EV (from participating dealers, not private sales).
Note: both programs above exclude any car with an MSRP over $77,000.
Two other Canadian provinces also have incentives, Ontario (very generous!) and Quebec.
InsideEVs – currently my favourite way to procrastinate! The best website to keep current on all of the latest and greatest in the world of EVs. They include PHEV’s in their coverage as well. Generally a news website – you can check all of the coverage from your favourite brand and see when they might be bringing a PHEV or EV to market (come on Subaru, get on with it already!)
PlugInCars – this website provides a pretty good overview of each of the plug-in cars on the market; however, note that it is a US website, so they list some cars that are not available in Canada, so cross-check it against my list before you get super excited about a vehicle they list that isn’t available here. They also have a few cars that haven’t even been released yet, so pay attention to the “Availability” near the top right of the page on each specific car. They also have some great guides on EVs.
Consumer Reports – of course CR generally provides the most comprehensive reviews, but it is a paid website.
Charging Equipment and Networks
PlugShare – a crowd-sourced website for public EVSE’s all over Canada and the US. Great user feedback! You can create an account and share your own EVSE, or view other charging locations people have shared.
Flo – a great Canadian company that provides a subscription model for charging access (they also manufacture very reliable charger units). In BC, many of their EVSE’s are currently free to use, largely Level 2. There are also a dozen or so DCFC units in the Kootenay region. Important note: you will need to order a fob from them or download the mobile app to use their units!
Sun Country Highway – the EV-infrastructure company that started it all in Canada (way back in the early 2010’s they had electrified all they way across Canada with Level 2 chargers). Handy map showing where all SCH EVSE’s are located, plus they sell robust EVSE units for your home or public charging. Almost all are free to use and do not require a special fob or mobile app which makes them very reliable!
Greenlots – this company also uses a subscription model for charging access and currently runs the Level 3 chargers in BC. Important note: You will need to order a fob from them or download the mobile app to use these units!
Plug in BC – a website run by the government and the Fraser Basin Council. Go there for official news on Level 3 quick charger deployment in BC.
Tesla Charging Network – Tesla provides a map showing all Superchargers and High Powered Connectors. There are now a number of Superchargers in BC and more HPWCs being installed all the time. Important note: these locations are ONLY useful to a Tesla owner – “regular” EVs cannot charge at either a Supercharger or a HPWC.
EVSE Upgrade – this US company will upgrade the basic Level 1 EVSE that came with your car into a higher-powered Level 2 unit! Useful if you do not want to hard-wire a unit at your home, or if you travel a lot and want to have options for plugging-in (e.g. RV 50A at campgrounds, welder, dryer or range plugs at a friend’s house).
BSA Electronics – I purchased my Open EVSE unit from Brad. An even better solution than the EVSE Upgrade if you want an additional unit, because you can purchase a unit that will also draw up to 24A on a 120V/30A circuit (very common at campgrounds in BC) – something that the EVSE Upgrade cannot do (it can only pull up to 16A). The unit I purchased is programmable in 2A increments and retains separate memory for both 120V and 240V.
If you want to go on a road-trip in your EV, you will need to do some planning. You can use PlugShare to help you plan your trip, but it won’t tell you how far your EV can go. If you have a Nissan LEAF, I have developed my own fairly comprehensive spreadsheet that helps, but it needs a lot of user intervention at this point.
EV Trip Planner – an interesting website that will help you plan out your charging stops and route by telling you how much energy you will need to travel a given route. Designed for Tesla’s Model S, but also has some data for the Nissan LEAF. I have compared the data it generates against my spreadsheet and empirical data I have gathered, and it is fairly reasonable, but I would add 10% to be safe.
A Better Route Planner – this website is FANTASTIC! I now no longer use either my own trip planning spreadsheet or EV Trip Planner as I find ABRP more useful, once you get the hang of it.
Misc Interesting Links
Electric Cars: Past & Present – a summary page of the history of electric cars, with links to many sources. Also contains a synopsis of the movement back to EVs in the past decade, along with links to articles on their environmental impact, the concept of lifecycle impacts, and costs (though I disagree with their cost premise, I believe life cycle cost is already competitive if you compare like-for-like, particularly in Canada with our higher gasoline cost than the US.)
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How is your BSA holding up ?
Haven’t had any problems and I don’t expect to. The build quality is very good, and he put a lot of thought into sealing etc. I’ve used it several times now and expect it to last for quite some time 🙂
The trip planner spreadsheet (rev4) was totally useful to calm my nerves during my first EV experience – a 700km journey from a dealership in Victoria to home in Trail, in a snowstorm ! I was really impressed at how close the trip planner matched reality. I suspect what efficiency I lost due to wind/snow, I gained due to slower driving speeds. In the end – for each leg of my journey, the trip planner ‘battery used %’ was within 2% of actual !!
That’s great to hear Scott – what was your lowest battery state of charge out of curiosity?
The two big climbs:
– charged to 98% in Hope; still had 22% when I reached MPL.
– charged to 95% in Grand Forks. Dropped to 14% at the top of Strawberry Summit. Recovered to 16% when I got down to Trail.
I’ll email you my spreadsheet tab from the trip planner.