A Tale of Two Journeys – Part One


In May I received an invitation to a workshop to help plan future deployment of Level 3 DCFC infrastructure in BC. The workshop was to take place in mid June in Vancouver and hosted by PlugInBC. The workshop was to include representatives from government, educational institutes, BC Hydro, various EVSE network service providers and several other EVangelists. I was invited to provide some perspective from outside of the Lower Mainland and was extremely excited about the prospect of attending. I immediately went into planning mode and floated the trip by Marley later that evening – I could either do the trip by myself, attending the workshop on Monday and getting home late Tuesday night (or heading straight to work in Trail on Wednesday morning), or we could move some of our holiday plans around to allow her and the kids to come as well… and of course we would have to do the trip in our EV! It would have been crazy to drive our gas car to attend a workshop on DCFC infrastructure – I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to explore the current state of Level 2 and DCFC infrastructure in the various regions of BC!  (click here for an explanation of Level 2 vs DCFC and visit PlugShare to explore what infrastructure is available in BC currently) Continue reading A Tale of Two Journeys – Part One

Electric ferries are in Europe, why not BC?

After the Coast, the Kootenays have the highest number of ferry routes in the province.  They also happen to be located in an area that is largely powered by renewable hydro-electricity.

What if we combined the two?  Sweden and Norway have already done so, and the results so far are promising.  Stockholm has retrofitted a passenger ferry that is 75 feet long and can carry 100 passengers.  It can quick charge in 10 minutes!  I can imagine retrofitting (or replacing) the Sea Bus in Vancouver with such a unit.

The newest and largest electric ferry that I am aware of is an 80 metre long unit in Norway running back and forth across a fjord over 30 times per day on a 6 km route.   It has about 900kW of power and stores around 1,000 kWh of energy.  It can carry up to 120 vehicles and 360 passengers, which puts it on size for the biggest inland ferries in BC (e.g. similar in size to the Osprey that runs from Balfour to Kootenay Bay).  The coolest thing is that they have addressed peak demand to the grid by having battery storage onshore that allows the ship to recharge faster, then have the onshore batteries recharge at a slower rate between sailings which helps to keep the size of the electrical servicing infrastructure lower.  (Update:  infamous Tesla Model S v-blogger Bjorn Nyland just posted a video about this very ferry, enjoy!)

For context, we have a similar sized ferry on a similar route right near Nelson – the MV Osprey 2000 running from Balfour to Kootenay Bay.  We took this ferry in June 2016 and made a video about it… would sure be nice to be on an electric ferry for this route sometime in the next 10 years.

One unit in Norway has been operating since September of 2013 and has completed over thousands of trips.  The size of this ferry is similar to the ferries that service Glade and Harrop-Proctor.  Somewhat ironically, Electrovaya is based in Canada… hopefully our ferry operators are already talking with them behind the scenes (and from this article in the Sun a few months ago, maybe they are…)

It would be a pleasure to travel on a vessel that does not vibrate, generate lots of noise or emit a terrible stench from diesel fumes.  I look forward to the day that our ferries are run on electricity, though I suspect neighbours of these routes would be even more appreciative!

Cost update – Feb to April 2015

The car just rolled over 36,000 km and it is 1 week away from owning the car for one year now – right about what I had estimated for kilometres.  Time for a cost report update!  (The first cost report I posted can be found here.)

The big news item in the intervening 3 months was the return of the Clean Energy Vehicle incentive, which for a Leaf is $5,000 off of the purchase price.  I have added a Leaf with this incentive added to illustrate what the incentive would have done, in my case anyways.

Continue reading Cost update – Feb to April 2015

Trip Report: Kelowna and back, Part 3 (and the last!)

This is the third and final part of 3 posts on my trip from Nelson to Kelowna and back in February of 2015.  Links to the earlier posts:  Part 1, Part 2.  Part 3 covers my journey from Kelowna back to Nelson.

Trip back home

The night before I was to leave for home, I started thinking about the other possible ways to get home. I had previously looked at different ways to the Okanagan based on the infrastructure available in the Okanagan valley in the summer of 2014. At that time I had ruled out the ‘middle’ route from Vernon to Needles/Fauquier (via Cherryville), it was just too far of a stretch at 355 km with only Level 1 charging opportunities along the route (that’s about 36 hours of charging!) However, the northern route looked potentially promising, especially after Sicamous added a Sun Country Highway EVSE at their new visitor center, and the Best Western added an EVSE in Revelstoke. That brought the “Level 2 gap” down to only 250 km between Revelstoke and Nelson, comparable to the gap between Osoyoos and Nelson of 265 km. Continue reading Trip Report: Kelowna and back, Part 3 (and the last!)

Clean Energy Vehicle incentive returns


Well, the Clean Energy Vehicle incentives have returned.  I am slightly bitter, since the program was cancelled ran out of funds in February of 2014 and I couldn’t buy my electric vehicle until at least April.  It was ridiculous of the government to sit on their thumbs for a year and put a few hundred early adopters at a future disadvantage in the used car market; but nonetheless, I think it is a good program to help EVs and PHEVs get on their feet so am happy to see it return.

Continue reading Clean Energy Vehicle incentive returns

Trip Report: Kelowna and Back, Part 2

This is Part 2 of my trip report from Nelson to Kelowna and back. Part 1 can be found here

Grand Forks to Osoyoos

As noted in Part 1, my planning seemed to be right on par, but a thought had kept bugging me while I was eating breakfast. My spreadsheet takes into account elevation gains and losses, but it does not differentiate between whether the hills are near the beginning of a route, in the middle, or near the end. Continue reading Trip Report: Kelowna and Back, Part 2