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Four EV road trips showcase fast charging options in B.C.

A pair of kayaks on a lake by the Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast boasts calm, scenic paddles, ocean and lake swims, and – for the avid EV road-tripper – the option of taking the ferry to Vancouver Island from Powell River.

Extended range of newer EVs, fast-charging along highways, make it easy

The days when fast-charging stations in B.C. were few and far between are gone. BC Hydro's network now includes fast-charging stations not just in major cities and towns, but also along most major highways in B.C. – and there are more on the way.

There are also a few changes – including an upgrade to the BC Hydro EV app, and a change in how the cost of your 'fill-up' is calculated – that will make it even easier when you head out on an EV road trip in B.C.:

  • As of May 1, you're no longer being charged by the minute at BC Hydro stations. Instead, you're charged by the energy that goes into your vehicle, in kilowatt-hours: 34.79 cents per kWh at all fast chargers, and 28.65 cents per kWh at Level 2 chargers.
  • There's now also an "idle fee" that promotes EV charging etiquette. Once your vehicle stops charging, you'll have five minutes to disconnect before a 40-cents-per-minute idle charge kicks in. Learn more about EV etiquette.
  • An upgraded BC Hydro EV app that adds features such as alerts when chargers are free to use, searches for available chargers near you, account balance auto reload, and charger traffic graphs that help you plan for less busy periods.
  • More stations, and faster stations, on the network, including faster 100-kW or 180-kW stations at 25 locations in B.C.

What's it like to embark on an EV road trip in B.C.? We have four examples, in four different vehicles, for road trips powered by clean and renewable BC Hydro electricity. Please note that the recommended charging stops and charging time estimates are based on averages and assumptions. Real-world results often vary, based on the specifics of your vehicle, how you drive, outside temperature, and other circumstances.

Abbotsford to Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island loop

Hiker poses in front of a giant Douglas fir at Cathedral Grove at MacMillan Provincial Park
Giant Douglas firs at Cathedral Grove are the big draw at MacMillan Provincial Park, a 20-minute drive west of Qualicum Beach.

Distance round-trip: 665 km

Vehicle: 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 extended range AWD (610 km maximum range)

Charging stops: 2

How it’s done: We're going off the beaten track for a family holiday that's all about fun in, on, and near saltwater. We're exploring the Sunshine Coast, hopping on a ferry to Comox, then settling in for some glamping and other highlights on Vancouver Island before catching the ferry back to the mainland from Victoria.

We start by taking the drive in from Abbotsford to Horseshoe Bay to catch the ferry to Gibsons, where the fun begins with a hike up Soames Hill for a jaw-dropping view of the ocean, followed by brunch in Gibsons at The Mad Hen, raw oysters, halibut fritters, or crab cakes at Smitty's, or lunch a little further down the road at The Gumboot Café in Roberts Creek. Your pre-booked cottage or cabin is your base to explore the coast, possibly kayaking at Sechelt (day-camp lessons for the kids at Peddles & Paddles?) Consider booking a boat-access-only bucket-list stay at strangely tropical Savary Island, which boasts white sand beaches and the warmest waters north of Mexico.

For peace of mind while exploring the Sunshine Coast, top-up your Ioniq at BC Hydro's charging station at Madeira Park on your way to Powell River or Lund. Using the 50 kW charger, it'll take about 30 minutes to go from 50% to 80% and cost about $9 at our new per-kWh charging rate. If you do lots of exploring, you can always top up at either the 50 kW or 100 kW charger at our Powell River station.

The ferry from Powell River gets you to Comox and the start of your Vancouver Island adventures. Camp right on the beach at Kitty Coleman Beach Park, try some local craft cider or wine while in charming Comox-Courtenay. Head south for rustic cabin or camping destinations such as the Doighouse Earthship, or with camping at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. Marvel at 800-year-old Douglas firs at Cathedral Grove, spend hours in the tide pools at Rathtrevor Beach Park, visit the Old Country "Goats on the Roof" Market at Coombs, camp and hike at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, get your cheese fix at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, or do some spelunking (caving) at Horne Lake Caves. Top-up the Ioniq in Nanaimo, then spend a night or two with a jam-packed schedule in Victoria before grabbing the ferry back to the mainland at Swartz Bay.

Abbotsford to Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island loop

Quesnel to Revelstoke in a Ford Lightning pick-up

Mother and son on a hiking trail in Revelstoke
A recreational paradise, Revelstoke offers hiking and biking on wildflower-strewn trails in the high alpine or shorter hikes with views looking down on the town. Reload at one of Revelstoke's fabulous eateries, ranging from sushi to steak, tacos to butter chicken.

Distance one way: 616 km

Vehicle: 2022 Ford Lightning Lariat pick-up (515 km range)

Charging stops: 1 to 2

How it’s done: Driving from Quesnel in your 2023 Ford Lightning Lariat pick-up, you stop for a bite and a top-up in Cache Creek. While your battery is recharging from 20% TO 50% at the BC Hydro fast-charging station, walk a couple minutes to Hungry Herbie's for a Monster Burger if you dare (two patties, cheese, mushrooms, bacon). Topping up your pick-up from 20% to 50% will take about 25 minutes on the station’s 100 kW charger, about 50 minutes using the 50 kW charger, and cost about $13. On the road again, go through Kamloops to stop for coffee and a top-up at Chase before your stretch run to Revelstoke. Kids in the truck? Take the scenic route away from Highway 1 to Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge (and maybe a glimpse of grazing bison at Turtle Valley Bison Ranch) before looping back onto the Trans Canada. Once in Revelstoke, check-in to a hotel or campground, then top-up for day trips. Enjoy hiking the alpine, mountain biking easy trails or the bucket-list Frisby Ridge, visiting the Revelstoke Dam Visitor Centre or Revelstoke Railway Museum, or taking a wild run down the Pipe Mountain Coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

Quesnel to Revelstoke in a Ford Lightning pick-up

Vernon to Vancouver in a Volkswagen ID.4

TELUS Science World, Vancouver skyline at dusk
Summer's the time to visit Vancouver. And could there be a Canucks playoff game to take in at Rogers Arena into May or (dare to dream) into June?

Distance one way: 442 km or 858 km with return loop via Hope-Princeton and Highway 5A

Vehicle: 2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro (410 km range)

How it’s done: Good friends want you to visit them in Vancouver, and you jump at the chance. Maybe you can catch the Canucks on a long playoff run, Lionel Messi playing the Whitecaps on May 25, or see a concert or dine on sushi. With your 2024 Volkswagen ID.4, you'll get there with a single stop, 'fuelling' up in Hope or, if the food truck is open, at the BC Hydro EV fast charging station at the Britton Creek rest stop on the Coquihalla Highway. While your ID.4 is charging at Britton Creek – it should take less than 45 minutes to go from 25% to 70% and cost you about $13 – stretch your legs and grab takeout samosas from the food truck.

After your stay in Vancouver, top up to 80% for your return trip home, taking the Hope-Princeton highway to fit in a hike and recharge the ID.4 in Manning Park, before heading to Princeton and a loop back to the Okanagan Connector via scenic Highway 5A. Stop for a swim or a night of camping at Allison Lake Provincial Park. Your last top-up will be after coming down the Okanagan Connector hill to West Kelowna.

Vernon to Vancouver in a Volkswagen ID.4

Bolt to the beat: from Victoria to three Interior music fests

Crowd enjoying a DJ set at Bass Coast electronic music and art festival
DJ sets are the focus at night at the Bass Coast electronic music and art festival in Merritt on July 15, 2024. Or top up your EV in Merritt en route to a rock fest in Kelowna or the Roots & Blues Festival in Salmon Arm. (Photo courtesy

Distance one way:
Victoria to Merritt: 362 km one way, 1 charging stop
Victoria to Kelowna: 481 km one way, 1 to 2 charging stops
Victoria to Salmon Arm: 552 km one way, 1 to 2 charging stops

Vehicle: 2022 Chevy Bolt (410 km range)

Charging stops: 1

How it's done: Folk and blues? Electronica? Rock? Depending on your tastes, Merritt is either your destination or your EV top-up point. Merritt’s Bass Coast electronic music and art festival is set for July 15, the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival is slated for July 26-28, and Kelowna's Rock the Lake is back August 9-11.

Getting to Merritt from the southwest corner of B.C. is easy, with BC Hydro EV stations sprinkled along Highway 1 all the way to Merritt and then on to Salmon Arm. Here are sample road trips, based on the range of a 2022 Chevy Bolt, to get to the three festivals.

Victoria to Merritt for Bass Coast

With a full charge from your Level 2 home charger, you’re on the ferry to Tsawwassen, and in the right conditions, you might have enough range to get you all the way to Merritt. But why chance it? Top up from 50% to 80% in Chilliwack at the BC Hydro fast-charging station in town – a charge that will take about 25 minutes and cost about $7. If corn is in season, pick up some Triple Sweet corn at one of the two Sparkes Corn Barn locations in Chilliwack.

Victoria to Merritt for Bass Coast

Victoria to Kelowna's Rock the Lake

One 35-minute charging stop, in downtown Hope, will get you to Kelowna. Topping up at BC Hydro's 50 kW charger in Hope from 35% to 80% will cost you about $10, and if the Hope station is busy, you'll still have plenty of battery power to get you to the charger at the Britton Creek rest stop on the Coquihalla Highway. If you stop in Hope, grab a quick lunch at Blue Moose Coffee House. Try the soup of the day or perhaps a chicken and cranberry quesadilla. Check your car's computer for your range estimate before climbing the Okanagan Connector between Merritt and Kelowna, and consider a top-up at the BC Hydro station at the tourist info centre at Merritt. You'll use a lot of energy going up the hill, but the Bolt's regenerative braking will recharge your battery on the steep hill heading down to Kelowna.

Victoria to Kelowna's Rock the Lake

Victoria to Salmon Arm's Roots & Blues Festival

Sarah McLachlan is one of the headliners at this year's festival, and you're a fan. Top-up from 35% to 80% at the BC Hydro fast charger in Hope – it should take about 35 minutes – and follow with a quick top-up just off Highway 1 in Kamloops.

Victoria to Salmon Arm's Roots & Blues Festival