Geography & electric vehicles

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Electric vehicles are a better fit in warmer areas of B.C.

There's a greater availability of charging stations in the milder, more populous parts of B.C.

Where there are the fewest available public stations, notably in B.C.'s central and northern areas, cold winter temperatures can limit the effectiveness of electric vehicle battery packs and, in turn, how far you'll be able to drive between charges.

But that doesn't mean you can't own an electric vehicle in the north. You just need to consider that:

  • Your car's range in winter will be less than it is in summer
  • You'll need to be very strategic on longer trips requiring use of a public charging station
  • You'll need to invest in snow tires. An electric vehicle's low rolling-resistance tires aren't designed to be effective in the snow.

For many electric vehicle enthusiasts in the colder parts of B.C., a plug-in electric hybrid might be the best idea. Having gasoline as back-up power can extend your vehicle's range – pretty much a necessity on any longer trips through the B.C. interior.

A cold-weather driving tip

The experience of drivers in the north has also unearthed a valuable cold-weather tip. First-person experience shows that warming the interior of your car as you venture out in the cold can significantly cut your battery's range, as the battery is working extra hard to both power the car and heat the interior. The solution is to heat the interior for a few minutes while your car is still plugged into a charger, essentially pre-heating the interior for comfort and saving your battery pack for your car's electric motor.