road through mountains with beautiful view of sunset

How to Travel Across Canada in an Electric Vehicle

17/11/2020

Are you one of the millions of people worldwide planning to take a road trip? There's really nothing quite like it. The changing landscape, the convenience store snacks, the singalongs, and the memories. Flying is certainly the fastest way to get to your destination, but for various reasons, more and more North Americans are choosing road trips over other modes of travel.

EV roadtrip graphic through Canada

Road trips are one of the most popular ways to travel. Why not take one that lets you travel across Canada, the world's second-largest country? Better yet, why not take one in an electric vehicle? While it used to be challenging to travel in EVs because of their limited range and the scarce availability of charging stations, that is no longer the case in today’s modern climate. Electric vehicles are more popular than ever, especially with increased comfort and range. Don’t own an EV? No problem! Most major rental car companies have them now!

In response to the increasing popularity of EVs, Canada has majorly stepped up support initiatives. For example, Petro-Canada created an "Electric Highway," a network of more than 50 charging stations situated along the Trans-Canada Highway between Victoria, B.C. and Stewiacke, N.S. Couple that with the fact that several Coast Hotels throughout the country have charging stations, and you have the makings of a perfect "Coast to Coast" road trip.

New wave of electric vehicles in Canada

Originally, electric vehicles were marketed primarily to people who had long commutes. They were touted as being no-frills vehicles that would get you from Point A to Point B and back again — several times — before needing to be recharged, a much more economical and environmentally-friendly option than gasoline-powered cars.

electric parking areas

Thanks to technological advances, EVs have come a very, very long way. They're more stylish and comfortable, and they can drive considerably further on a single charge. While there are some variances depending on model, most electric vehicles can drive about 160 kilometers (100 miles) before needing to be recharged. The Tesla Model S has a range of nearly 400 kilometers (250 miles). Following Tesla's lead, many automakers have promised to double the range of their EVs.

Finding a charging location was also a serious undertaking. Thankfully, matching vehicle advancements, electric car travel in Canada today is much easier and more convenient. There are over 5,000 EV charging stations throughout the country, including more than 4,200 Level 2 stations and about 800 DC fast stations, also known as Level 3 or 3+ stations. In most cases, each charging station includes DC fast charging and two types of universal standard connectors (CCS and CHAdeMO).

Planning is everything when traveling across Canada

Electric vehicles are more than capable of taking you and your families on a road trip, but it does take more careful planning. In a gas-engine car, you can call for help if you run out of fuel, or you can walk to the nearest petrol station. That is not the case with EVs, so you need to plan ahead and know where charging stations are located along your route.

Using resources such as PlugShare and ChargeHub, you can map out a route that provides plenty of charging opportunities. Remember to choose locations no further than 160 kilometers apart and make a note of some backups that are much closer than that just to be safe.

Another aspect to plan for is the time you'll spend at each charging station. While many DC fast stations can charge a typical battery to about 80% in under a half-hour, Level 2 stations may require a few hours. It's also largely dependent on your individual vehicle; those with smaller batteries will fully charge significantly faster, and some (but not many) EVs are not equipped for fast-charging at all. Taking this into consideration, instead of simply waiting around while your vehicle charges, plan a fun activity or meal nearby. Most charging stations have text notification services, so you'll know when your car is ready.

Although you'll need to put more thought into your EV road trip and it will take a bit more time traveling between destinations, it will be well worth it. Think of it as an opportunity to experience even more new places!

woman out the window on road trip

Where to stay throughout Canada

No matter what route you take as you travel across Canada by car, Coast Hotels makes it easy with numerous locations throughout Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, and Yukon. Several of them have EV charging stations on-site and there are plans to install more in the near future.

 

Coast Bastion Hotel

The Coast Bastion is for those guests who want to have ocean views and be within walking distance of the ferry and several restaurants and shops.

  • Two EV charging stations
  • Pet-friendly

Coast Victoria Hotel and Marina by APA

This oceanfront hotel between Fisherman’s Wharf and the inner harbour allows visitors to explore the very best of historic Victoria.

  • Two EV charging stations
  • Complimentary downtown shuttle

Coast Tsawwassen Inn

Tsawwassen is a sunny and pleasant seaside community with easy access to Vancouver Island and the U.S. border.

  • All-suite property
  • Complimentary breakfast buffet

Coast Coal Harbour Vancouver Hotel by APA

This is the choice for those looking to experience all that downtown Vancouver has to offer. It's also one of Vancouver’s greenest hotels.

  • Two EV charging stations
  • Extensive private health club onsite

Coast Chilliwack Hotel by APA

Chilliwack is a paradise for outdoor lovers and this hotel puts you in the heart of it all with sweeping mountain and river views.

Coast Oliver Hotel

In the heart of the famous Okanagan Wine Country, this pet-friendly hotel sits right along the river and is within 20 minutes of 40 wineries.

  • Two EV charging stations
  • Complimentary breakfast buffet

Coast Prince George Hotel by APA

Tourism Prince George awarded this property its Excellence in Hospitality award for going above and beyond in this northern BC city that's a hub of art and culture.

  • Two EV charging stations
  • Exceptionally pet-friendly, providing bowls, treats, and toys

Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel by APA

This upscale, full-service hotel is in the heart of downtown Edmonton and features an indoor saltwater pool. It's also one of the most pet-friendly hotels in the city.

  • Two EV charging stations
  • Complimentary downtown shuttle

Coast Nisku Inn & Conference Centre

All guest rooms are newly-renovated at this hotel near the Edmonton International Airport hotel. There is also a large atrium with an indoor swimming pool and water slide.

  • Free 24-hour airport shuttle
  • Pet-friendly

Coast Swift Current Hotel

Swift Current, Saskatchewan, is one of the sunniest places in Canada and is also known for its deep-rooted hockey culture.

  • Complimentary breakfast includes make-your-own waffle bar
  • Free parking with available block heater plug-ins