Road Trip / Report

Can You Be Spontaneous if You Drive an EV?

I took an impromptu Tesla road trip to find out.

A common concern for those on the fence about switching to an electric vehicle is the range. Despite the vast majority of drivers having no issues with their daily commute, the mere thought of removing the spontaneity with road trips is enough to turn people off. As well documented on this site, I am a strong believer in planning out road trips.

With multiple EV road trips crossing the country, I have zero major issues to report. This is largely thanks to putting some thought into my routes. Still, planning does take a bit of effort and I can see how this would impact some decisions. With that in mind, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I took a weeklong Tesla road trip with little to no plan. Here are my takeaways.

Infrastructure Improvements.

This Tesla road trip was based around visiting friends in Calgary, golfing, and exploring British Columbia‘s interior, an area that has previously been lacking EV chargers.

Just last year, I made my way to Grand Forks and had to rely on my CHAdeMO adaptor and plugging in at a friend’s parent’s place. What a difference a year can make.

The EV infrastructure in British Columbia has made incredible strides as of late. Not only are there new Tesla Superchargers throughout the interior but BC Hydro and Flo chargers have popped up.

I was able to top up at the brand new (to me) Osoyoos Supercharger as well as the one in Creston. Thanks to Tesla’s navigation, routing is largely carefree meaning planning isn’t as much of a factor as it was just too short years ago.

Tesla Charging Dead Zones

That said, British Columbia is very much a green province committed to building EV charging infrastructure. Alberta, not so much.

Welcome to Alberta

On my third day, I crossed over the Alberta border. This is when I noticed that I was being routed by the Tesla navigation to a charger way out of the way. It had me going to Fort Mcleod even though I was heading north to Calgary. On top of that, Calgary still only has one Supercharger, and it’s north of the city and not convenient at all. This is surprising given Calgary is Canada‘s 4th largest city.

Again, welcome to Alberta.

Adaptors Have Unlocked the Road.

Thanks to the recent release of the Tesla CCS adapter, Tesla road trips through these Supercharger dead zones like this are largely a thing of the past. Using PlugShare, I was quickly able to find a FLO charger with CCS support in Blairmore, Alberta. This allowed me to cut out the extra 40+ kilometres from the suggested route through Fort Macleod.

On top of that, I was able to find CCS charging in Calgary at a restaurant near my friend’s place. This allowed us to have a meal while my car charged, making for an efficient stop and taking out a detour to the Supercharger north of the city.

Is Tesla Road Trip Planning a Thing of the Past?

With the expanding Supercharger infrastructure over the past couple of years, planning out a Tesla road trip is less of a concern.

Still, there are a few things that I would still plan to take to ensure bases are covered. This includes;

This goes the same for non-Tesla EVs. Plug Share remains a great resource in a pinch to find more convenient charging options. Also, A Better Route Planner is great for planning out big road trips.

To be as efficient as possible, I will still be speaking out accommodations with EV chargers. Also, I like looking for chargers next to sights and activities along my planned route. That all said, these can be done on the way and less in advance as EV charging infrastructure and range improves.

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*As of Sept 2021, Tesla has put a pause on referrals 😞 I will update if/when they reinstate it.

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