Road trip range ‘misconceptions’ keeping B.C. drivers hesitant to go electric: BC Hydro

A new report outlines the reasons why British Columbians are hesitant to buy electric vehicles. Jeremy Keefe / Global News

A new report from BC Hydro says a majority of British Columbians are hesitant to buy an electric car over needless concerns about range.

According to a survey conducted for the power company, 70 per cent of B.C. residents believe electric vehicles are not suitable for road trips.

But BC Hydro argues such fears are unfounded, with the majority of road trips being less than 300 kilometres, well within the range of popular newer models such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt and Hyundai Kona.

READ MORE: Legislation introduced to require all new cars sold in B.C. to be zero-emission by 2040

In addition to range, BC Hydro said respondents who were hesitant to go electric were concerned about the availability of charging stations along their planned routes and the amount of time they believe it would take to power up.

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However, the Crown corporation described those concerns as “misconceptions,” touting its network of 58 fast-charging stations that it said can charge an average EV battery to 80 per cent within 30 minutes.

Travel ranges on a single charge for popular new-model electric vehicles. BC Hydro
“Many of these [charging stations] are located on those popular routes that many British Columbians are taking anyway on their road trips. For example, Vancouver to Kelowna, Kamloops to Vancouver, Victoria to Tofino,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Tanya Fish.

“They’re located in stops that are around shopping centres and food stops and all of that.”

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The report argues that an additional 200 privately operated charging stations are also positioned along key routes throughout the province.

The survey comes as more British Columbians than ever before are choosing electric vehicles.

First quarter EV sales by province.
First quarter EV sales by province. Electric Mobility Canada

According to Electric Mobility Canada, electric vehicle sales in the first quarter of 2019 nearly doubled from those in the first quarter of 2018, with total sales second only to Quebec.

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Electric vehicle retailers in B.C. have also reported a boom in sales this spring, spurred in part by new federal incentives that, when combined with provincial rebates, allow buyers to save as much as $10,000 on the price of a new vehicle.

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