Aside from record-setting temps testing my air conditioning, my first post provincial restriction trip to Tofino was an easy one. My second trip deep into British Columbia’s interior, not so much. From broken Superchargers to dusty back roads, here are my takeaways from this West Kootenays trip report.
Vancouver to Princeton
As noted, on my trip plan post for this West Kootenays route, this trip was out of the norm for me. Typically, I plan for stops around sights and activities while charging. In this case, I was pretty much driving from A to B. Still, things did shift a bit as we opted to leave on a Saturday morning instead of Friday evening. This gave us a bit of time to explore along the way.
The first charge was at the lone Supercharger on Highway three in Princeton however, once again, the battery outlasted our bladders. With a detour to stop for a bio-break in Hope, I decided to charge there instead. This was squashed as the Supercharger was lined up 7 to 8 cars deep. With that, we proceeded on to Princeton.
We arrived in Princeton with a 13% charge, 2% lower than predicted however we did detour briefly to Hope. We charged for a little over the 20 minutes required to continue on just so we had a bit more for our destination. After coffee and some great lemon squares from Cool Beanz Coffee House, we continued on.
Princeton to Grand Forks
There are no charging options in Grand Forks itself where we were staying, so I decided to top up a bit in Greenwood. This Boom-to-bust mining town has one BC Hydro CHAdeMO charger next to the city museum.
We strolled the main strip while charging, taking in the old storefronts and interesting history along the way. The Copper Eagle for butter tarts and coffee is now a must-stop for me going forward on this route.
We left Greenwood at 57%, leaving us with 50% in Grand Forks instead of 32%. This was to get us through a couple of days of camping and touring the area. Interesting to note, when looking at my BC Hydro app to get look at what this cost me, it is not listed so I don’t think I was billed.
Grand Forks and Christina Lake
With temperatures pushing 40°C, we opted to sleep in the car for two nights while visiting a friend. To offset the battery loss for continuously running air conditioning, I plugged in at night to the house’s 110 V plug. I would’ve left it plugged in during the day, however, when I watched our friend’s father get the outdoor stereo going by adjusting a finicky outdoor lightbulb, I questioned the wiring of the home and didn’t want to test the load. ?
I drove out to Christina Lake following a day of boating so our friend could pick up their truck and trailer. At the visitor centre, there is a Tesla destination charger and a BC Hydro CHAdeMO. The loan Tesla charger was in use so I added 25% while grabbing a coffee at the cute little coffee shop inside. Again, when I checked my BC Hydro account I did not get billed for this…
The next day we did a river float down the Gramby before packing up and heading home. This is where things got interesting.
After 25 minutes at the Greenwood BC Hydro charger (again, no bill for this charge?) we continued on to Osoyoos. The plan was to stop at a winery for a tasting however, an accident heading into town had other intentions.
To avoid a two hour plus delay, Tesla NAV routed us north through Oliver. This was ~60 km of gravel road, something I would have cringed at however my recent PPF install gave me the confidence to continue. Although dusty, it shaved about an hour off of the trip delay.
Once on the other side of Osoyoos, we made a stop at Twisted Hills Cider for a sample. This lovely building is super cool and worth a stop, cider fan or not.
Thanks to the detour, I decided to top up at a BC Hydro charger in Keremeos. The stall was occupied when we showed up and, not wanting to block another spot, I parked across the street while we went and checked out a produce stand.
When we came back, there was a car parked in the other spot waiting to use the charger. Turns out, what I thought was two stalls was really just one with two adapters. When I tried to explain to the person now trying to charge that we were actually there first, it didn’t go over well. Despite literally being parked next to the charger he couldn’t wrap that around his head and I didn’t want to fight about it. I didn’t necessarily need the charge to get to Princeton as it said we were going to arrive with 9%, it’s just it would’ve been nice to have a bit of a buffer based on how our day was going. Instead, we pressed on.
Kereneos to Princeton
Our Princeton charge experience didn’t prove much better. I rolled in to find only one stall available. After connecting, I was only pulling around 5 kW which, there’s nothing super about that.
After talking to other drivers I found out that the two of the stalls had issues. Thankfully, there was a BC Hydro charger across the lot. Rather than wait for another stall the free up, I charged at the BC Hydro spot while grabbing a bite to eat at the Little Creek Grill, a Greek restaurant around the corner. The food was just OK.
After 40 minutes, our charge was only at 40%. This charge did register and cost $8.50. Thankfully, a spot opened up at the Supercharger and I was able to get 150 kW as expected.
Princeton to Vancouver
The remaining trip was largely uneventful minus the backed up traffic all the way to Hope. This added another hour to our trip at least. In total, this trip took 10 hours versus the six and a half as planned. Still, we arrived home with a 20% charge so no issues there.
The return on this West Kootenays trip was definitely an interesting one. With the challenges thrown in, I definitely came out with some takeaways. Mainly:
- Superchargers are getting very crowded. Thankfully, expansion is on the way!
- CHAdeMO adaptor is a necesity for trips like this.
- If you are waiting for a EV charger, stay close by.
- PPF is great for unplanned road conditions from detours!
West Kootenays Road Trip – Charging Costs
So what did this 1,040 km West Kootenays road trip cost? Thanks to the lack of billing from a few of the BC Hydro stops, around $32. Not bad considering I would be well over $140 with my old Jeep!