2020 – finally the year of “Kootenay” EVs and PHEVs

It’s finally here, the year that prospective EV owners living in the Kootenays have been waiting for… outdoor-activity enabling electric cross-overs! (Or CUVs, SUVs, XUVs… whatever floats your boat for terms… [I made up that last one]). Ever since the dawn of the modern EV and PHEV, your choices have been sedan or hatchback two-wheel drive cars, with only a few exceptions. Go look at my “Available EVs in Canada” page (which I know needs a major update… coming!) and you’ll see what I mean.

But, that all changes this year with the introduction of no less than 4 new models!

Let’s start with what will likely be the best-seller of the bunch in 2020 (and for the foreseeable future):

Tesla Model Y

Yep, it is coming this year! In my “what did we buy” post in December 2018, at that time the forecast for the Model Y arrival in Canada was 2021; turns out Tesla has learned a thing or two from building a factory from scratch in China and churning out new cars in less than 1 year – they have been able to move forward the timeline of the Model Y by several months – it launched in the US in March and will likely follow pretty quickly to Canada.

The Y builds on the fantastic Model 3 (currently outselling pretty much all other EVs available in the US combined!) and adds all the touches that will make it appreciated for the Kootenays:

  • Clearance is increased to over 7″ along with standard full-time 4WD (one motor per axle)
  • Plastic trim on the body edges (e.g. skirt and wheel wells)
  • Hatchback design with probably double the cargo space of my Model 3 (therefore likely more than our previous Subaru Forester)
  • Available 5 + 2 seating if you find yourself transporting kids everywhere
  • Continued access to the Supercharger network (fastest and most stalls per site), plus access to the general DCFC network which is becoming denser every year in the Kootenays (through purchasing an adapter though)

Ford Mustang Mach-E

In a sign that some of the Detroit automakers are taking the EV revolution seriously, Ford announced the Mustang Mach-E in November 2019, and even recently paid big $$$ for an ad spot at the Super Bowl. Obviously they studied the Model 3 closely, as they have included many similar touches, but have also added their own. What makes it more suitable for the Kootenays? Similar to the Model Y:

  • Clearance is roughly 7″, and 4WD (dual-motor) is available on some models
  • Plastic skirting around the edges
  • True fast charging ability at 150 kW to enable road trips (this is much faster than the current crop of cars, which aside from the Model 3, generally top out at 50 – 75 kW; unfortunately the general DCFC network in BC is currently capped at 50 kW)

The Mach-E is slated for release in late 2020 – no word yet on whether the release will be simultaneous here in Canada, but they do have it on their Canadian website, so that’s a good sign.

Rivian R1T

Rivian is an EV start-up that I think has a decent chance of succeeding. They’ve actually been around several years, but until just a few years ago, were working under the radar. In 2019 though, they made a few big spashes with multi-billion dollar investments from Ford and Amazon. They are currently tooling up a factory in Illinois and production is targeted for later 2020 for their first vehicle, an adventure pick-up, the R1T.

The Rivian R1T might be the electric pickup truck of tomorrow ...

It is roughly the size of a Toyota Tacoma, but will be more capable both on-road and off. It even has an option where you can have a motor for each wheel! Tacoma’s are a dime a dozen around here, and this truck, or one very similar to it, likely will be as well in the next decade. (Maybe not right away, as the price is a bit up there!)

Toyota RAV4 Prime

Toyota has offered a hybrid version of the RAV4 SUV for the last few years, and now they have improved on that dramatically by offering a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version. Range on battery only can be as high as 60 km, which will allow most Kootenay residents to get their daily driving done from a nightly charge on a regular 120V outlet. Not all the details are out yet, but it should be very similar to the regular RAV4 in all the usual ways, but will offer improved acceleration, fuel economy and traction (it has a dedicated rear-axle motor for improved AWD).

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime photo gallery

Anything interesting for 2021…?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 4 months, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the Tesla Cybertruck, announced in November 2019 to a wide-range of opinions (to say the least!) The design is pretty polarizing, but the specs are pretty jaw dropping, particularly for the stated price ($35k USD). We’ll see if Tesla delivers on these specs in 2021.

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kootenay andrew

Andrew is an environmental engineer by day, "kid activity/school volunteer" by evening, and EV advocate / blogger in his remaining spare time. He is very passionate about the future of energy generation & usage. He prefers bikes to cars, but acknowledges that Canadian cities have been developed primarily with cars in mind, so if we're going to drive, let's make them all EVs! (But let's get EV buses and take those where possible first.)

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