My 7,455 km winter 2022 odyssey in an electric vehicle

Posted on September 02, 2022 | By David Brake | 0 Comments


“February 7, 2022: I took delivery of one of the first Ioniq 5s in Canada.” – David Brake


I bought my first electric car in 2020.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was one of fewer than 200 owners of fully battery powered cars in the whole of Newfoundland and Labrador. Still, it wasn’t until this year, when I replaced my second-hand 2017 Nissan Leaf with a brand new Ioniq 5, that I really had the chance to test the proposition that an electric vehicle (EV) can work as your only car.

Though purchase price is often a deterrent to EV ownership, I fortunately bought mine just before global supply chain issues really started to bite. I also deliberately chose a relatively modest car with modest specifications: no all-wheel drive and no extended range (at a claimed 352 km, it already had twice the range of my previous EV). Including provincial and national rebates, it cost me $42,500 plus tax. It’s not cheap, certainly, but the closest gas-powered SUV in the same stable, the Tucson, would have been only $10,000 less, with fewer comfort and safety technologies. Plus, I expect to save thou-sands in the long term on gas and maintenance.

A few days after I took delivery in mid-February, I thought, “why not learn about my new car by driving it from St John’s to Toronto and back?” I hadn’t seen my family there since the start of the pandemic, and one of the reasons I bought my car was to cut down on flying (living on an island, flying is a big part of my personal CO2 budget). If successful, my road trip could be a life changer.

Driving from YYT to YYZ (and back), in temperatures as low as -20… through snowstorms in a car I had only been driving for two weeks… along a route I had not taken before… relying on unfamiliar EV infrastructure in five provinces, much of which had only been in place a year or two… what could possibly go wrong? Well, as it turns out, quite a bit.

(Spoiler alert: I made it there and back without once having to get towed.)


LEFT: “The charger at Doyles marked on this map never existed. I should have checked Plugshare which is usually reliable.” RIGHT: “My charge indicator when I plugged in at North Sydney: this was my lowest battery level for the entire trip. I don’t recommend it.”

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