“How far can it go?” is a common question EV owners get asked.
“How does it do in winter?” is another.
But you don’t often hear people asking, “What happens when the power cuts out at midnight for a few minutes, so your charging timer doesn’t start before a long drive to a Christmas gathering?”
It is a very specific question, but it happened to us nine years ago, when there was very little in the way of quick EV charging infrastructure and our relatively tiny lithium-ion battery was a third to a quarter the size of the larger EV batteries available today. On a cold winter day, our 120 kilometre-rated Nissan Leaf would be lucky to see 80 kilometres of battery range, making even some cross-GTA trips on a full charge nerve-wracking.
Modern EVs travel much further than ours did, with most now offering between 300 and 500 kilometres on a single charge. The Lucid Air just went as far as 800 kilometres in a real-world 112 km/h highway test done by Tom Moloughney of InsideEVs.
Despite modern ranges, an ever-expanding number of public chargers and lower fueling costs, there’s still an element of adventure for battery-electric vehicle owners. Some may call it unpredictability. Owners will post on EV groups about public quick chargers that are not working, are slower than expected or even have six feet of snow plowed in front of them.
Sites such as plugshare.com or A Better Route Planner are great tools for EV drivers to help avoid such adventures, as it crowdsources when chargers aren’t accessible or working, and can warn owners to find an alternate location.
As for our family, modern charging stations can now automatically restart upon charge interruption, which would have gotten us to our Christmas party on time. Avoiding such adventures is why we went with a plug-in hybrid in 2016, a time when there were still limited adventure-reducing EV options.
Michael Bettencourt bought his first EV in late 2011 and has followed the Canadian EV scene ever since. Follow him on Twitter @MCBet10court
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