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Old Posted Apr 12, 2016, 9:38 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Electric Car Infrastructure in Metro Vancouver

Thought I'd start a thread about Electric car infrastructure in Vancouver.

I was surprised to see that there were over 90 charging stations around Vancouver! http://carstations.com/

Did anyone else plop down $1000 on a Model 3?

How soon do you see electric cars taking over in Vancouver?

Will the new $5K BC rebate make a big difference in sales?
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2016, 9:47 PM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
Thought I'd start a thread about Electric car infrastructure in Vancouver.

I was surprised to see that there were over 90 charging stations around Vancouver! http://carstations.com/

Did anyone else plop down $1000 on a Model 3?

How soon do you see electric cars taking over in Vancouver?

Will the new $5K BC rebate make a big difference in sales?
Thanks for the link, I have used plugshare.com in the past to take a look at EV charging facilities (and cost, etc.). I didn't put down $1000 for the new Tesla, but I will be interested around the time it debuts. I "told" my wife our next vehicle will be an EV, so it needs to be something that is capable of road trips, meaning a Model 3 or better. A GM Bolt is a possibility depending on how their quick-charging infrastructure rolls out.

IMO BC is a prime spot for EVs, since we have relatively cheap, clean electricity, and very expensive gas. The $5k rebate helps, I think this incentive for charging station is as important to promoting usage, some details here:

http://pluginbc.ca/
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2016, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
Did anyone else plop down $1000 on a Model 3?
No, because I'm not an idiot who will give Tesla an interest-free loan for the next 2+ years.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2016, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
I was surprised to see that there were over 90 charging stations around Vancouver! http://carstations.com/
Those are mostly Level 2 stations. There are very few DC fast chargers in BC. To charge a Tesla with one of those is ~10 hours.

The city really needs to figure out how to roll out level 2 chargers en mass. A few on every block. DC fast chargers should be located in a few key places to supplement.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 12:13 AM
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IMO BC is a prime spot for EVs, since we have relatively cheap, clean electricity, and very expensive gas. The $5k rebate helps, I think this incentive for charging station is as important to promoting usage, some details here:
There are some things working against EV ownership in BC though: Mountains and vast distances between communities.

I was looking at getting an EV, but the selection is too limited for my taste at the moment, and I would be far too worried about driving to the Okanagan or further in one at present. Even if I can make it between communities on the trip, I still feel like I would lose a lot of time by having to charge (at locations I might not necessarily want to stop at but would have to). Having to stop multiple times on my way out to Banff could make it more than a comfortable 1 day trip.

Having to stop for a 30 minute charge isn't bad if you like the place the charger is at. Like if there was one at interesting stops like D Dutchmen, I would be a happy camper. But typically they are at city halls or libraries (outside Vancouver), not exactly hot spots. And most are still J1772 plugs, so you will probably have to hang out a closed city hall for a few hours while you charge.

There is also the complication of getting a charging station in the parking garage of my strata. The cheapest rough estimate I could find would be at least $6000 which starts to make the EV completely uneconomical. For the same total cost of ownership (car+fuel), I could have a much more comfortable ride for those long trips.

I'm also worried about the limited infrastructure if it actually succeeds. Imagine showing up to a gas station, and all the pumps are full, but no one is around. All the people started fueling their cars and then went to work 8 hours in their office, or are having a lunch date or gone shopping. That's pretty much what's happening the the Tesla Superchargers in some places.

And superchargers are proprietary. Imagine not being able to hit the lone gas station in a town because your car can't take Esso gas.

If you need a car primarily for commuting, you can install a charger at home, and your family has a second vehicle for long distance trips, then yeah, an EV is a great buy at the moment. I look forward to the day I can get an EV, but if you want to live a life with only 1 car, and you leave the city, I don't think an EV fits right now.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 12:25 AM
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Blah blah...

If you need a car primarily for commuting, you can install a charger at home, and your family has a second vehicle for long distance trips, then yeah, an EV is a great buy at the moment. I look forward to the day I can get an EV, but if you want to live a life with only 1 car, and you leave the city, I don't think an EV fits right now.
Just buy a Volt.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 1:12 AM
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Just buy a Volt.
Why be such a dick? I was basically in agreement with you that there aren't anywhere near enough fast charging stations.

I sat in it and didn't really like the feel. I don't really want to sit in a car for hours that I don't like. Which was one of my points, there isn't enough choice yet.

It only goes 85km on an electric charge, that's either a lot of stopping or a lot of using the gas engine. Plus, you can buy a lot of car for $40,000. I could buy a Honda Civic with a CVT and over 4 years it would end up costing about the same all in.

And buying a car with a motor, even if it's as a backup generator kind of defeats the whole allure of buying an EV: not having to deal with the expensive mechanical components that need constant maintenance.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 1:18 AM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Originally Posted by Alex Mackinnon View Post
Those are mostly Level 2 stations. There are very few DC fast chargers in BC. To charge a Tesla with one of those is ~10 hours.

The city really needs to figure out how to roll out level 2 chargers en mass. A few on every block. DC fast chargers should be located in a few key places to supplement.
L2 only makes sense at home and at work IMO.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 1:22 AM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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There are some things working against EV ownership in BC though: Mountains and vast distances between communities.

If you need a car primarily for commuting, you can install a charger at home, and your family has a second vehicle for long distance trips, then yeah, an EV is a great buy at the moment. I look forward to the day I can get an EV, but if you want to live a life with only 1 car, and you leave the city, I don't think an EV fits right now.
Tesla already has that problem solved unless you are going somewhere really remote. More can be done to increase infrastructure of course, but installing chargers is orders of magnitude easier and cheaper than rolling out gas infrastructure. It will come quickly.

I'm planning to buy around the time I can realistically get a Model 3, which is probably around 2020. Whether I get the Tesla specifically is not set in stone, I expect the landscape will have changed by then.

Buying a new gas car today or in the next few years could look like a terrible mistake by 2025.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 1:55 AM
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Alex Mackinnon Alex Mackinnon is offline
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Why be such a dick? I was basically in agreement with you that there aren't anywhere near enough fast charging stations.

I sat in it and didn't really like the feel. I don't really want to sit in a car for hours that I don't like. Which was one of my points, there isn't enough choice yet.

It only goes 85km on an electric charge, that's either a lot of stopping or a lot of using the gas engine. Plus, you can buy a lot of car for $40,000. I could buy a Honda Civic with a CVT and over 4 years it would end up costing about the same all in.

And buying a car with a motor, even if it's as a backup generator kind of defeats the whole allure of buying an EV: not having to deal with the expensive mechanical components that need constant maintenance.
Only to the portion that you actually use the gas motor. I've had mine for 2 years and it still hasn't needed any maintenance other than a couple of odd warranty items on the running gear.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 1:58 AM
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Originally Posted by WarrenC12 View Post
Tesla already has that problem solved unless you are going somewhere really remote. More can be done to increase infrastructure of course, but installing chargers is orders of magnitude easier and cheaper than rolling out gas infrastructure. It will come quickly.

I'm planning to buy around the time I can realistically get a Model 3, which is probably around 2020. Whether I get the Tesla specifically is not set in stone, I expect the landscape will have changed by then.

Buying a new gas car today or in the next few years could look like a terrible mistake by 2025.
Can you make it from the Supercharger in Hope to the Supercharger in Kamloops on one charge? How does climbing the Coquihalla affect the range of a Model S? If you have the CHAdeMO adapter you can stop at the 1 DC station in Merrit (which is in town and not on the highway and hopefully not in use), but even then it's not like a 5 minute layover to top up a tank of gas.

Also, what's the etiquette surrounding unplugging someone else's car if they aren't around and you really need a recharge?
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 1:58 AM
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L2 only makes sense at home and at work IMO.
If chargers were as ubiquitous as parking meters then it wouldn't be an issue except during long trips. L2 should cover up to 10kw charge rates.

DC chargers are much more expensive since they need a transformer and they also age the batteries due to the faster charger rate.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 2:56 AM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Can you make it from the Supercharger in Hope to the Supercharger in Kamloops on one charge? How does climbing the Coquihalla affect the range of a Model S? If you have the CHAdeMO adapter you can stop at the 1 DC station in Merrit (which is in town and not on the highway and hopefully not in use), but even then it's not like a 5 minute layover to top up a tank of gas.

Also, what's the etiquette surrounding unplugging someone else's car if they aren't around and you really need a recharge?
200 kms? Easy. As for the rest, I don't have all the details. But the car will be gaining range when you go downhill.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 3:06 PM
Kisai Kisai is offline
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There are some things working against EV ownership in BC though: Mountains and vast distances between communities.

I was looking at getting an EV, but the selection is too limited for my taste at the moment, and I would be far too worried about driving to the Okanagan or further in one at present.
I have a relative who owns a Tesla S, and says they can make it from the Thompson-Nicola area to the Tesla factory in California. So that's not the problem. The problem is people hogging the Supercharger stations, because people will park their car at them and then leave for hours.

The main obstacle to to owning an EV in Canada is road conditions/quality. EV's are heavier than equivalent gasoline car, and thus winter is very harsh on cars not produced for climates that get snow.

Metro Vancouver doesn't have any superchargers, there is one in Hope, Whistler, Kelowna, and Kamloops. Seems like a huge oversight to me when the closest one is in Burlington. Likewise if you look at the map, they just stop when you get to Red Deer along Highway 1. If you wanted to make a Cross-Canada trip you can't, you'd have to go along highway 90 in the US.

If you filter in "destination charging" there is the Metrotown Hilton, Art Knapp South Surrey, Inn at the Quay (New West), 7 hotels in downtown Vancouver and one at Jordans.

The main adoption problem in North America is the 120V system. European vehicles have onboard chargers that work with the 240V system's over there and can basically do a L2 charge at home/work. Over here you can't effectively charge a EV without spending 12 hours at a charging station, which means you have to charge it at home AND at your destination.

http://www.ceati.com/files/ev/BC%20E...Guidelines.pdf
Apparently in 2009 it costs about 2300$ to install a L2 charging point in a residence.

Last edited by Kisai; Apr 13, 2016 at 3:23 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 3:09 PM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Metro Vancouver doesn't have any superchargers, there is one in Hope, Whistler, Kelowna, and Kamloops. Seems like a huge oversight to me when the closest one is in Burlington. Likewise if you look at the map, they just stop when you get to Red Deer along Highway 1. If you wanted to make a Cross-Canada trip you can't, you'd have to go along highway 90 in the US.

The main adoption problem in North America is the 120V system. European vehicles have onboard chargers that work with the 240V system's over there and can basically do a L2 charge at home/work. Over here you can't effectively charge a EV without spending 12 hours at a charging station, which means you have to charge it at home AND at your destination.
Superchargers are not located in cities because they are meant to satisfy the requirement for a quick charge on a long road trip, not for daily re-charging. I agree that time spent blocking a charging location for other vehicles when yours isn't charging is a problem, and should be addressed.

With respect to 120V vs 240V, yes we have a few more hurdles to install L2 charging, but depending on your daily usage, 120V may be plenty.

I find the main opposition to EVs is by people pointing out the 2% of use cases where they have a problem, not the 98% of the time that they are superior. Plugging in when you park in your garage is far simpler that having to refuel at a gas station.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 3:49 PM
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The problem is people hogging the Supercharger stations, because people will park their car at them and then leave for hours.
This is a minor problem in parts of California, not so much in Canada. I've driven by many of the Superchargers along the Trans Canada corridor and (much to my disappointment) have yet to see a single Tesla charging.

Quote:
Metro Vancouver doesn't have any superchargers, there is one in Hope, Whistler, Kelowna, and Kamloops. Seems like a huge oversight to me when the closest one is in Burlington.
Tesla's 2016 'future' map does show one planned for Metro Van.

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Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post
There are some things working against EV ownership in BC though: Mountains and vast distances between communities.
I don't get that. Yes, it does depend on which EV you get and your budget, but right now you can buy a Tesla that gets nearly 600km at highway speeds. That's better range than my gas-burning SUV. Also, unlike an internal combustion engine, electric motors don't degrade in performance at altitude. My SUV does struggle up parts of the Coq. Finally, EVs regenerate power when descending, so you do actually gain back some power when you come down the mountain pass.

One thing working greatly in favor of EVs in BC: cheap, clean electricity.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 3:52 PM
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Superchargers are not located in cities because they are meant to satisfy the requirement for a quick charge on a long road trip, not for daily re-charging.
Exactly. The vast majority of charging is done overnight at home. Park the car, plug it in, and it's ready to go the next morning. You only need a high capacity charger when you're driving beyond the range of where you live, which for most people is a small percentage of their trips.

Quote:
I find the main opposition to EVs is by people pointing out the 2% of use cases where they have a problem, not the 98% of the time that they are superior.
...and this is why the Volt is such a good solution - you get an all-electric vehicle for the 80+% of trips that you make close to home and for the remaining trips you don't have to worry about chargers.

Unfortunately, I'm really disappointed in the form factor of the new Volt - it has a horribly cramped rear seat and awful rear visibility. I was once planning to buy one, but now I'm going to keep my Prius C for the longer trips and wait for the Chevy Bolt EV for a car to take on local trips. And who knows - perhaps in a few years' time the charging infrastructure will have been built out enough for me to ditch the Prius C and use the Bolt EV for longer trips too.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 4:52 PM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Unfortunately, I'm really disappointed in the form factor of the new Volt - it has a horribly cramped rear seat and awful rear visibility. I was once planning to buy one, but now I'm going to keep my Prius C for the longer trips and wait for the Chevy Bolt EV for a car to take on local trips. And who knows - perhaps in a few years' time the charging infrastructure will have been built out enough for me to ditch the Prius C and use the Bolt EV for longer trips too.
I'm not sure a Volt/PHEV is the way to go, too complex for my tastes. But I'm waiting 2-3 years in the hopes that a pure EV will make sense, financially and otherwise (like the Model 3 appears to do so far).

The Bolt dimensions are close to the Spark, so I'm not sure it will meet your space/size needs.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 4:57 PM
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I'm not sure a Volt/PHEV is the way to go, too complex for my tastes. But I'm waiting 2-3 years in the hopes that a pure EV will make sense, financially and otherwise (like the Model 3 appears to do so far).

The Bolt dimensions are close to the Spark, so I'm not sure it will meet your space/size needs.
The Bolt is almost 40 cm longer than than the Spark and 10cm wider. It's more like a Ford C-Max in size.

Keep in mind the flat floor means that the cabin can extend to the corners of the vehicle and is way more efficient for packaging than is possible with gas cars.
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Last edited by Alex Mackinnon; Apr 13, 2016 at 5:31 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2016, 5:53 PM
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Tesla is in active discussions to land a large supercharging station downtown Vancouver.

Their network of chargers is only going to grow and grow, especially with the success of the model 3.
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