My cross-country road trip report continues with by far my favourite stretch, the Icefields Parkway. Not only was it ridiculously scenic, but also provided a bit of a challenge. With range expectations shot on my last two legs and limited charging options between Canmore and Jasper, I approached this one with caution.
And now, my Calgary to Jasper EV road trip report.
What To Do While You Charge in Calgary?
We rolled into Calgary midday and found a parkade downtown with free charging. From there we grabbed brunch at Greta Bar, a cool space with plenty of games and eats.
On my last trip through Calgary, I took in the Calgary Tower, something I hadn’t done since I was a kid. Although it’s dwarfed by newer buildings, it’s still impressive and gives a nice view of the city.
After brunch, we made our way to the Calgary Olympic Hill for some luge karting. This is hilariously fun and, although I am no stranger to speed with the Tesla, I swear I almost broke the brake stick off that cart. 😂
After dropping off my friends at the airport I checked out the nearby Flight Hanger Museum. If you’ve been following along you will know that I am an airplane nerd, having already visited the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa on this trip. This museum is much smaller but still has plenty to see including a DC-3 that was based out of my hometown in Northern Canada.
Where to Stay and Charge in Calgary
While in Calgary I stayed at the Hyatt Regency. This hotel is steps from the Calgary Tower and the restaurants and bars on Stephen Avenue Walk. Best of all, it has EV charging (Tesla and J1772) free with parking.
Calgary to Canmore
Before departing Calgary I spent a couple of days visiting friends. I didn’t bother plugging in there because I needed to top up in Canmore anyways. Now even though Canmore to Jasper is only 309 KM, I was worried about elevation change and colder temperatures. The past couple of legs also saw me get less than expected range and the NAV system was acknowledging this. As such, I charged to 100% for only the second time since I took ownership of my Model Y. Even at that, I was slatted to arrive in Jasper with just 11% remaining. 😬
Now, Superchargers are fast between 20& and 80%. Anything beyond that and it’s trickle charging. As such, I ended up having plenty of time to kill in Canmore. I made my way to Rocky Mountain Flatbread for a bite before grabbing a coffee and heading back.
Note: There are two Supercharger stations in Canmore, one is rated to 150kW and the other 250kW.
Canmore to the Columbia Icefield
Once on the highway and driving between 90-100 km an hour by range drastically improved. Less than 10-minutes out from the Canmore charger and I was now getting an estimated arrival charge of 28%. With this more realistic range I was able to relax and took a short detour to visit Lake Louise before I made the turn onto the Icefields Parkway.
Keeping my speed conservitve is not something I’m used to but, better to be safe than sorry. This wasn’t a big deal as I found myself stopping at every other turn. The Parkway is ridiculously scenic to say the least.
Highlight stops includ Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, and Waterfowl Lakes where I took in the views of at the foot of Howse Peak from the water.
I also stopped in at Saskatchewan River Crossing, more or less the halfway point between Canmore and Jasper. Here you will find the only gas station and motel along the way. Interestingly, it also has an EV charger.
I was doing good on my consumption with projections drastically improving. I was now set to arrive in Jasper with 31%. As such, and because the EV charger here runs off of diesel, I decided against using it. Definitely nice to have the option but it kind of defeats the purpose don’t you think?
Another 52 km down the road and I arrived at the Athabasca Glacier with 46% remaining.
Athabasca Glacier to Jasper
The Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield are known as “the mother of rivers,” as it feeds several major rivers in North America. At this stop in the Parkway, you can pretty much drive right up to it.
I parked and took a bit of a stroll but didn’t have much time because I booked tickets for the Columbia Icefield Skywalk. I drove the six kilometres down the road only to find that there is no parking lot there. You have to take a shuttle bus from the Icefield Center, back where I came from. It was a good thing I was being conservative on the drive up to this point as I had to fly back to make my bus departure.
Columbia Icefield Skywalk
I made it back to the visitor centre just in time to catch my bus. Back down the road, I went.
The Columbia Icefield Skywalk is impressive, to say the least. Suspended 918 feet over the valley floor, it offers jaw-dropping views and a thrilling experience. There’s also a self guides tour on the pathway to the Skywalk explaining the natural history of the area along with the story behind the construnction.
After a few laps around the Skywalk, I made my way back to the visitor centre, grabbed a coffee at Canada’s highest Starbucks, and was back on the parkway. Just past the Skywalk, I stopped at Tangle Creek Falls which are cascading right next to the road.
Another 65 kilometres and I was at Athabasca Falls. Although the falls are not the highest or widest, the mountain backdrop and the canyon leading to Athabasca River is well worth an hour or so to explore.
As I was pulling into Jasper I came upon another Model Y. It was the first EV that I had come across since turning onto the Parkway. I smiled at this thought but then realized there are only four EV chargers at the Parks Office in Jasper…and it was getting late. Not wanting to be stuck without a charger I was put in a self-induced race.
After passing some folks stopping to take pictures of elk on the side of the road, we came to a railroad crossing where the lights were just starting to flash. I rolled the dice and took a right, racing down a side road along the tracks while the other Model Y waited. I came upon another crossing and was rather impressed with my savageness…only to arrive at the Parks office to find all chargers empty. 🤦
In the end, I arrived with 29% percent, a full 18% better than my initial predicition. Keeping my speed between 90-100 km/h was key to this and gave me my best efficiency of my whole trip across Canada. As such, the top up to 100% wasn’t needed at all was nice to have the peace of mind, especially after the last two legs. I would stick with 90% next time and top up in Saskatchewan Crossing if absolutley needed.
This drive is one of the best in Canada and it’s so cool that you can do it in an EV. With Tesla Supercharger’s now up and runing in Jasper and Edson, this trip will only be easier going forward.
Jasper to Vancouver, the last leg of this trip, is up next.
Calgary to Jasper EV Road Trip – Charging Costs
So what did this 413 km Calgary to Jasper road trip cost me in charging fees?