Anyone who drives an EV in Canada has heard of Sun Country Highway. Its EV chargers are pretty much ubiquitous in many areas of the country. Just how well developed is the network? Well, Sun Country Highway just wrapped up its E-Mazing Race contest, in which electric cars traversed the country on the Saskatchewan company’s charging infrastructure. Yes, indeed, you can get from St. John’s to Victoria in British Columbia on electricity!
The latest announcement is nothing short of jaw dropping, though. Over the last three years, the company has launched 1,000 charging stations, but over the coming year, it intends to double the size of the network, adding an additional 1000 chargers! That is roughly three chargers every day of 2015! This is going to enable a lot of intercity commuting with electricity, and will help facilitate longer-range trips.
Kent Rathwell, the president of Sun Country Highway, further estimates that in 24–36 months, it will be possible for Canadians to travel anywhere on much faster Level 3 DC chargers. I know, personally, that I’ll continue to make good use of its network. My previous road trip was enabled by a Sun Country Highway Level 2 charger, and would have been made even more convenient if there had been Level 3 infrastructure available.
According to Rathwell, the single largest hindrance to EV Adoption in Canada is something that might surprise you: Lack of vehicles available for sale. I can attest to that. When I went looking around and comparing EVs, most dealerships simply had none available for sale. Apparently, selling a Nissan LEAF requires special training for the sales and service departments, and my local dealership opted not to do this. Ditto for Mitsubishi and the i-MiEV, and once again my local dealership didn’t complete the EV certification program. I had to travel to neighbouring cities to secure test drives.
Imagine all the people who show up at that Nissan dealership, who might be the least little bit interested in a LEAF, and can’t even test drive one before settling on a Sentra or an Altima? My experience is that if you can convince someone to get into an EV and test drive it, they love it. EVs are a blast to drive!
I think this is a pretty interesting position for an EVSE company to take as well. You think it would see the problem as being one of not enough charging infrastructure, or at least it would have a bias towards that. That it sees an issue with the manufacturers is pretty interesting. I think as EVs continue to expand in sales, more and more dealerships will start offering these great cars for sale.
As Sun Country Highway continues its mission to roll out awesome infrastructure in Canada, we’ll continue to support its efforts! When you have to buy a new EVSE (charger), consider a purchase from Sun Country Highway!