After 20 years driving a very reliable Saturn, Ellen Horsman needed a new vehicle. That’s when her son came to her rescue with the gift of a fully electric Nissan Leaf. “I had an interest in getting an electric vehicle (EV) and my son had good things to say about his experience.”
Ellen drove her electric vehicle home from her son’s place in Ontario in 2017, having done her homework on the charging network in place at that time. Today Ellen rates the New Brunswick charging network as very good in comparison to what she found on that first trip. She uses locator apps to find charging spots along her routes and depending on the type of charger she uses it can take between 20 minutes to one hour to be ready to get back on the road after a stop.
My environmental conscience told me it would be the right choice.
“I drive less than 100Km per day, on average, so my car can easily be recharged in my garage overnight using a regular plug,” says Ellen. “But I do head off to Sussex to ski whenever conditions are good, and I visit my daughter in Halifax. A drive to Halifax would have taken me about 3 hours in my Saturn; now it takes me about 4 hours, with 1 stop to charge and have a coffee along the way. I’ve never had a problem.”
Lots of people stop to chat and ask questions when she’s at charging stations. Her advice to people is to do their homework. “If a full EV is your sole ride,” says Ellen, “you need to get a vehicle with a strong battery.” The right choice also depends on a person’s needs, including the person’s total amount of driving and the typical distances driven.
Ellen feels that the initial higher price tag is the biggest hurdle for EV adoption right now. But she hopes that talking about her experience will encourage buyers to look at the total lifecycle costs of EV ownership and learn about the prevalence of high-speed chargers around New Brunswick.
Bob & Darwin Burgess
|Grand Bay - Westfield|
|Chevy Volt and Chevy Bolt|
Betty and Veronica are not rivals in the Burgess household. These nicknames were given to the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV) and the Chevrolet Volt plug in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) that carry Bob and Darwin Burgess wherever they need to go.
These two electric vehicle enthusiasts are genuinely passionate about their choice, having taken the plunge with their hybrid a few years ago. They followed that purchase up with a fully electric Bolt more recently, after realizing that they had only spent $1000 in gas after five years with the Volt.
Bob’s interest in the hybrid was piqued when he became convinced that he needed to do something to reduce fossil fuel use and promote renewable, non-emitting energy. He felt it would be a good first step to reduce his own reliance on gas power for personal transportation.
In the beginning our biggest challenge was figuring how to choose a vehicle.
They found their Bolt through an online trading app and drove it home from Ontario in 2018. Now that the provincial charging network is more advanced, they say they have never had a problem with their full electric Bolt or the original Volt.
The Burgess’ typical daily commute is about 50Km round trip, costing about $1 per day. The vehicles are quiet, more than adequate for highway speeds, and easy to drive when relying on their batteries. In 2012 when the Burgess’ odyssey began there were few charging stations. Contrast that with today when high speed charging stations are relatively easy to find and increasingly easier to access.
These two enthusiasts take every opportunity to promote the benefits of electric vehicles and charging stations to other drivers as well as to business operators like car rentals, hotels and restaurants. As far as they’re concerned, EVs have already arrived and they’re just waiting for everyone else to discover them.
Maurice Brun is a man with a plan. He knew he needed a solution when he realized the fluctuating price of gasoline made monthly vehicle operating costs too hard to plan for in retirement. He spent 3 years researching how an electric vehicle (EV) operates and has now been a very happy owner for 3 years.
When his search began Maurice found that choices were not plentiful. But after some research on his part he tested a few new and used options and decided that a new, fully electric Nissan Leaf was the right choice for him. “The gas savings were impressive, and I love the quiet ride.”
If I had known more about EVs long ago this would have been such an easy decision.
Maurice drives about 85Km per day and has put approximately 86,000Km on his vehicle. He depends on his smartphone to help him locate charging stations, but he cautions that it’s still wise to keep a close eye on the battery indicators just to be safe. His average range is 180Km, but 200Km is possible. If he pulls up to a fast charge station, he can be at 80% within 15 minutes.
A slower charger can take 3-4 hours to top him up if he’s almost empty, or less if he still has some battery life. He can get a full charge on a regular plug at home overnight, even if the battery is almost completely depleted.
Maurice would never go back to a gas-powered vehicle because the savings are too good. He says his car needs little service and there is no downside now that charging stations are popping up everywhere. Plus, he reports, there are financial incentives to offset the upfront cost of the vehicle.
“I see a bright future for electric vehicles,” says Maurice. "Prices are coming down and the driving range keeps going up. They’re quiet, handle well, and are very cheap to operate. What’s not to like?”