Tuesday, 14 March 2017

IKEA's EVCO Grant DC L3 Chargers Now Arriving

I happened to be at IKEA North York yesterday to buy new kitchen cabinets for my house and I have always loved making IKEA shopping trips because of the L2 Chargers they have available for free.

But I pulled up yesterday and what do I see? Both spots ICE'd?? Nope, there is a sign stating chargers have moved to the upper deck. OK, no biggie up I go.

I pull up and what do I see? These babies!

I can't use them yet because the Volt is only compatible with L2 charging, But I happily plugged into the L2 chargers while a Mitsubishi MiEV charged away on the shiny new L3s. 

The new chargers are CHAdeMO and CCS/SAE so whether I got Bolt or Model 3 I will eventually be able to hook up here.  

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Hands on with a Chevy Bolt in the GTA

I was lucky enough to attend a Bolt delivery event at my Chevrolet dealer tonight and I snapped a bunch of pictures. This is likely one of the very first Bolt to be delivered in the GTA. Not to mention one of very few, my dealer got 8 of them for the 2017 model year and that was apparently very high and not the average.

According to my salesperson if I wanted to place a deposit down to hold a spot in line, it would have to be for the the 2018 model year. It would be a $1000 deposit, the same as the Tesla Model 3.

As for first impressions, I would generally say that for what it is, it is a nice vehicle. Very utilitarian, average looks and it ultimately does not have the sexy factor of the Model 3. For that reason and combined with the lack of a charging network and the lack of greater than 50KW L3 charging I think I will be holding on to my Model 3 reservation and holding out until it arrives in Canada.

In terms of more specific observations here is what I noticed:

- Seats are very comfortable, back seat leg room is incredible, even the middle seat is comfortable.
- No frunk, engine bay is all motor and electronics.
- Trunk space is average for a car of this class, probably less than a model 3 from what I have seen in pictures, but then on the other hand this is a hatchback so it will be more utilitarian once the seats are folded down.
- Fit and finish feels good, lots of plastic, but it feels well put together.
- Rear suspension is not independent, I would have hoped for that on a 40K car.
- Cup holders seem a bit awkwardly placed.
- A tow hook is included in the North American version unlike with the Volt where it was not.

Thats really all I could observe looking at it in a showroom and not yet being able to drive on as this was a customer's car. I am waiting for my dealer to get a demo in a few months so I can finally take a test drive.

Got questions? Drop a comment below and I will do my best to answer and enjoy the pictures I took at the event below.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Spotted a Bolt in Oshawa!

I wasn't going to post this originally as it was not that interesting and I was kicking myself for not having my go-pro on my bike to show video, but I was out for the last motorcycle ride of the season not too long ago and I spotted a Bolt driving the streets of Oshawa!

I often ride to the dead end loop of Wentworth right beside the GM offices in Oshawa and on this last ride just as I was turning around I spotted it out of the corner of my eye! I of course in a totally non-creepy manner followed it to the highway and then as far as my exit to get back home. Watching it drive was pretty cool, on the streets it looks like a pretty nice car and its attractive enough in its own utilitarian hatchback class that I think it will have decent sales in Canada.

I myself am still holding out for my Model 3, but I have to say, seeing it in person makes it tempting!

Also interesting to note, this is a different colour than the one spotted in Pickering, so that means there are at least two test Bolts roaming the GTA.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Chevrolet Bolt Spotted in the GTA

WRVoltec on Facebook has spotted the first Chevrolet Bolt in the GTA! More specifically in Pickering! Even more interesting is that it has Ontario plates which means it is probably here to stay a while!

Have you spotted this beautiful blue Bolt yet? I know I am going to keep an eye out, especially as it's presence is gracing the GTA in Durham region where I live.!

Via: Imgur and Facebook

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Turn Up The Energy And Turn Down The Crazy

I have been working for the past few weeks on an advocacy post that has required a bunch of research and now learning some HTML. So it has been slow going and the blog has been quiet since, so I thought I would break through the quiet with a quick opinion piece I have been meaning to write for some time now.

I like to consider myself a fairly level headed EV advocate who believes and lives the fact that electric vehicles are the future of sustainable transport. I drive a Volt and I have a low numbered Canadian Tesla Model 3 reservation, but there are some who would consider me a hypocrite because of how my driveway currently looks:

So, what would some consider wrong with this picture?

1) The Volt - Some people look down on the Volt because it is a "Hybrid" and not a "True EV"  - I chose the Volt because I really wanted to go electric, but did not have deep enough pockets for a Tesla Model S and my commute was too long to allow me to purchase a Leaf or any of the other BEVs on the market. I drive it as close to like an EV as I can with my commute being 100% electric in the summer and approximately 70% electric in the winter.

I think any effort to move to a more efficient vehicle, be it an efficient gas car, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or early BEV should be applauded. I have a friend at work that drives 120km one way to work, he bought a Prius as it would use less gas overall than a Volt. Even a Model 3 might not meet his winter time commute needs so I think his choice of a Prius is equally as commendable as my purchase of a Volt or someone else's purchase of a Tesla, Leaf or other BEV.

The transition to fully electric vehicles will come in time, you aren't a horrible person if you have decided a BEV is not yet the right fit for you. Even the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt will probably not meet the needs or financial restrictions of 80% of the North American population. The vehicles that will, will come. After all the purpose of today's EVs and the EVs of the immediate future are, to paraphrase what Elon Musk said about the purpose of Tesla; to advance the adoption of Electric vehicles, not replace every gas car currently known to man immediately. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

2) The Aveo - "AKA. OMG THERE IS A GAS CAR IN YOUR DRIVEWAY!" - That is my wife's car, she is just as much behind an EV future as I am and also holds a Tesla Model 3 reservation; but she earns a bit less than I do and for now, that is the car we can afford for her. it gets OK fuel economy and at almost 200,000km on the clock it doesn't owe us anything. We hope in two years we will be able to afford being a two Tesla household, but for now we will keep that Aveo running and not draw on and additional unnecessary resources to replace it with a new gas car or a temporary electric car solution that we can't really afford.

Thats the reality for lots of gas car owners right now, a current electric vehicle might not tick all the boxes such as affordability, space (my Volt is pretty small and only seats 4), etc. Cars for those people will come and those that swear they will never own an electric car or that an electric car will never meet their needs will come around. Remember, there were people who swore they would never give up the horse and carriage.

3) The Motorcycle - I like riding, it is a fun, exhilarating pastime that helps me de-stress and gives me a gas engine vehicle to maintain and work on as I am still a gear head at heart. There is still something about a gasoline engine connected through a clutch to a manual gear box that brings man together with machine in an completely unexplainable way. I don't get that with my Volt.

Yes, it runs on gas, but I don't put a ton of mileage on it and it is great on fuel, I don't believe that people continuing to use gasoline in recreational pursuits such as motorcycles, ATVs and collector cars are going to destroy the planet, and compelling electric versions of these will come in time. Converting the majority of the commuting vehicles and trucks to electric is what is going to contribute to saving the planet.  I just don't think an electric future involves banning the gasoline engine, they will just end up as recreational toy vehicles for those who can afford it.

There are electric motorcycles out there, but A) I can't afford a $20,000 bike and B) Fast charging bikes don't exist yet taking away the majority of the freedom that comes with owning a motorcycle. I will convert one day, just not yet.

So moving on to the "crazy" I alluded to in the title. There is a subset of "fanatical" EV owners that I feel bring a bad name to the EV crowd. They put stickers on their cars like this:

And this:

And they run poorly formatted, impossible to read websites ranting about electric cars. I won't link to the one I am referring to as I don't wish to send them additional traffic, but they aren't hard to find.

Do the style of the signs remind you of these guys?

If they do, join the club. Unfortunately the few on the fringe tend to be the most visible and most vocal and tend to make the rest of us look like slightly unhinged fanatics when it comes to electric vehicles and in my opinion that only works to slow the advancement and adoption of electric vehicles by the masses.

So how can we turn up the energy on electric vehicle adoption while turning down the crazy?

- Talk, don't argue. AKA Don't feed the trolls. Share your experiences and educate others, but don't start fights and don't get defensive. There are those who you are never going to be able to convince until the day an electric vehicle is the only thing they can drive off the new car lot and there are tons of people for who an electric vehicle simply does not yet work. Most of us made a compromise or two to own the electric vehicle we currently own, we can't expect everyone to. Getting all bent out of shape and angry on internet forums and Facebook helps nobody.

- Lead by example. If you can afford one and can make the compromises necessary to own a current BEV or Plug In Hybrid and are on the fence, take the leap. We need to see more of these cars on the road and in the driveways of our friends and family to make EVs more commonplace and less alien. If you already on a BEV or Plug in Hybrid, take your friends, family and co-workers for rides, it is the least you can do.

- Realize that not everyone can own an electric car, yet. There are many valid reasons to not own an electric car or be planning to buy one in the next 5 years such as cost and functionality. The person who can only afford 5k used cars can't buy an EV right now, the person who needs to haul things in his F-150 for work can't yet buy an electric car and the person who drives most of the day for work and does not yet have convenient L3 charging options available to them can't yet buy an electric car. Vehicles that suit these people will come in time and more attractive looking vehicles will come before that for all the people who's hangup is the "look" of today's EVs. Don't look down on these people and remember the point above. Lead by example and be respectful.

- Push for Charging Infrastructure. Even if you don't own an EV yet, you probably will one day, so why not push for the infrastructure necessary to make EVs successful? Talk to your employer, the owners of the business you frequent and all levels of government in your life and push for them to install chargers on their property. This again plays into visibility that will makes others think that their next car could be an EV and helps others take that necessary "leap"

- Just don't be Crazy!. There is no need to accuse people of willfully poisoning children and destroying the planet. These things don't cross the mind of the average person; the only people we can maybe point that finger at are the coal rolling diesel truck owners and they are a special case.

So lets turn up the energy on EV adoption and turn down the crazy at the same time! Everyone is a future EV owner and we want them on our side, not trying to avoid eye contact with the slightly unhinged crazy guy rambling on the street corner.

Owning an EV without private parking in the GTA

Read the following article from the Toronto Star and get back to me.


OK, you are back and I trust you have read the article. If you haven't, in summary there is a Toronto resident who just purchased a Volt however has no private driveway and has faced numerous hurdles, including fines while attempting to charge his car while parked on the street out front of his house.

Now there is an argument that Todd should have waited to purchase a car until the infrastructure was in place and the car could meet his needs 100%. I will admit it was what I did, as bad as I wanted an electric car, I didn't make the purchase until I moved out of a downtown apartment and bought my own house with private parking in the burbs.

However on the other hand, it takes people like Todd to make the leap even when the climate is not yet 100% right and begin to force the hand of those in power to make the changes necessary, those change in this case is to address the issue of how residents without driveways in Toronto (there are a lot of them) can charge their electric vehicles legally and safely.

This is a serious problem for many potential future EV owners and it is clear from the article that the city is dragging their feet and not taking the issue seriously to a degree I was not even aware of.

I also planned to go more in depth on this with a post much further in the future, but seeing as the issue is in the news right now, lets see if we can give our leaders in Toronto a little push on Twitter to do something about it and not drag their feet and show that there are other EV owners out there that support this.

Retweet the below!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Ontario EVCO Grant Chargers Mapped

Below is a map of the planned EVCO grant chargers, pulled from the MTO website here. This is in relation to this post with a chart showing all the addresses and locations by city.

Yellow = L3
Green = L2 and L3
Blue = L2