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Report: Road trip range anxiety is a major barrier to purchasing an EV

VANCOUVER: A new BC Hydro report finds misconceptions about electric vehicle range for out-of-town trips is preventing the majority of British Columbians from purchasing one – even though most road trips are within the range of the latest models.

The report entitled Electric highway: Road trip range anxiety is pumping the brakes on EV adoption in B.C. [PDF, 350KB]  finds close to 70 per cent of British Columbians are hesitant to purchase an EV because they do not think it can be taken on out-of-town road trips. However, the majority of the road trips taken by British Columbians are less than 300 kilometres one-way – the range many of the latest most popular EVs can travel on a single charge.

A survey1 commissioned by BC Hydro found besides range, one of the main concerns for the seven in 10 British Columbians that would be hesitant to road trip in an EV is the availability of charging stations along the route. BC Hydro has a network of 58 fast-charging stations in the province – the majority within 300 metres of a major road or highway – that allow EV drivers to travel from Tofino to the Alberta border. The network also supports many of the most popular road tip routes in B.C., including Vancouver to Kelowna, Abbotsford to Whistler, Kamloops to Vancouver, Cranbrook to Revelstoke and Victoria to Tofino.

The survey found another top concern for some British Columbians around taking a road trip in an EV is having to stop and charge and thinking it would add significantly to a trip’s duration. However, there are over 270 fast-charging stations in the province, which includes those in BC Hydro’s network, that charge the average EV battery to 80 per cent in around 30 minutes. The majority of BC Hydro’s fast chargers are located within 50 metres of services such as food, washrooms or other shopping – making it convenient to charge while stopped for other reasons. Only seven per cent of British Columbians on a road trip of more than 300 kilometres in a gas-powered vehicle will drive as far as they can without stopping. Most on this length of trip will make stops in addition to stopping to fuel, including:

  • Over 75 per cent stop for bathroom breaks.
  • More than half stop to grab snacks or to have a meal.
  • Around 50 per cent stop to sightsee.
  • Close to 40 per cent stop regularly to walk around and stretch.

For EV drivers looking to take a road trip this summer, BC Hydro recommends these tips:

  • Plan ahead: map out the route and the locations of charging stations using a mobile app provided by a EV charging station provider. BC Hydro has a an app that lists all its fast-charging stations in its network.
  • Know when to charge: an EV should be charged when it reaches close to 75 per cent of its range to help ensure peace of mind and reduce stress if the unexpected happens.
  • Avoid unnecessary accelerating: cruise control is recommended when travelling on highways to help keep the vehicle at a steady pace as the more unnecessary accelerations, the faster the battery will deplete.
  • Control the temperature: keep the A/C at a low level or use it intermittently; blasting it can decrease the vehicle’s range.

For more information on how BC Hydro is supporting EV adoption in B.C., visit

1 Online survey conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of BC Hydro of 800 British Columbians from June 1 to 5, 2019.

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468