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Transportation, Urbanized

Road trip 'range anxiety' key barrier to electric vehicle purchases in BC: survey

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DH Vancouver Staff Jun 14, 2019 12:31 pm

While an increasing number of BC drivers are switching – or considering switching – to electric-battery vehicles, a new survey from BC Hydro has found that “misconceptions” about electric vehicle range for out-of-town trips is preventing the majority of British Columbians from purchasing one – even though most road trips are within the range of the latest models.

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The report, entitled: ‘Electric highway: Road trip range anxiety is pumping the brakes on EV adoption in BC’ found that close to 70% of British Columbians are hesitant to purchase an EV because they don’t think it can be taken on out-of-town road trips.

In addition to range, the survey also found would-be electric vehicle drivers have concerns over availability of charging stations (or lack thereof) along their chosen travel routes.

However, the report noted that the majority of the road trips taken by British Columbians are less than 300 km one-way – within the range many of the latest most popular EVs can travel on a single charge.

In its response to the survey, BC Hydro noted that it has a network of 58 “fast-charging” stations – among the 270 that are available in the province  – “that allow EV drivers to travel from Tofino to the Alberta border.” These stations, it noted, charge the average EV battery to 80% in around 30 minutes.

Still for EV drivers planning a trip this summer, and looking to get the most out of their vehicle, BC Hydro has offered up some tips:

  • Plan ahead: Map out the route and the locations of charging stations using a mobile app provided by an EV charging station provider. BC Hydro has an app that lists all its fast-charging stations in its network.
  • Know when to charge: An EV should be charged when it reaches close to 75% of its range to help ensure peace of mind and reduce stress if the unexpected happens.
  • Avoid unnecessary accelerating: Cruise control is recommended when travelling on highways to help keep the vehicle at a steady pace as the more unnecessary accelerations, the faster the battery will deplete.
  • Control the temperature: Keep the A/C at a low level or use it intermittently; blasting it can decrease the vehicle’s range.

Last month, the BC Government officially passed the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act (ZEVA), which requires all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in the province to be clean energy vehicle models by 2040.

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