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Toronto - Ottawa Roadtrip experiences

Discussion in 'Canada' started by dj905, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. dj905

    dj905 Member

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    #1 dj905, Nov 25, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
    My 16 year old son recently received his Ontario G2 license, so - what better time to do my first roadtrip on public (or EV community) charging infrastructure on a visit to see my other son in Ottawa. Also, it gave my son the opportunity to have his first drive in the roadster.
    Our chosen route was GTA-Peterborough-Ottawa-Kingston-GTA.
    We left on Friday afternoon and had a smooth drive on the 407 and backroads (straight line route) to the Best Western hotel in Peterborough (Sun Country Highway 70A charger).
    Peterborough-20121123-00074.jpg
    For this leg, we had a very strong wind on our tail, and averaged a very economical 141 Wh/km.
    We could have continued to Ottawa, but we had already decided to stay overnight at the hotel, so we caught a movie in town, and had a great steak dinner at Berc's steakhouse which is the site of another Sun Country charger (30A).
    On Saturday, we set out at 8:45am, and arrived in Ottawa before noon averaging 155Wh/km. My son drove for part of the trip on Friday and Saturday, and as the results will show, he seems to be able to use much less energy than I do when I am behind the wheel.... It must be my lead foot!
    A big thank you to Doug G who provided access to a charger at his office while we went for lunch in the area. This gave us most of what we needed, but after driving back and forth between downtown and the west end of Ottawa, I decided to charge at the Ottawa City Hall charger in downtown.
    This is where things got interesting! As soon as the current started to flow from the Eaton charger at City Hall, the charging unit completely shut down, like a fuse had blown. We spoke to the security personnel onsite, and called the Ottawa 311 number, but there wasn't much that could be done on a Saturday night.

    Since my hotel (Brookstreet) only had a 120v/15A receptacle for charging,
    Ottawa-20121124-00088.jpg
    I really wanted to have a substantially full charge before the end of the evening, in advance of the trip back home on Sunday. To explore more charging options, we decided to check out the Museum of Science and Technology, which has another Sun Country 70A charger. In spite of the lonely and dark location on Saturday night, I was able to access the site without issue, and discovered that there is a Kelsey's restaurant less than 10 minutes walk from the Museum.

    By the time we had finished dinner, the roadster was fully charged once again. Choosing our target restaurant based on proximity to the charging station wasn't the initial plan, but worked out fine.

    Overnight, with the trickle charger, I gained approximately 50km in range charge mode.

    For the trip from Ottawa-Kingston, Doug G suggested country road #10, which was a beautiful and quiet route where we could drive at 80-85 km/h without any pressure from trucks or other cars. We had a headwind for this leg, and averaged 165Wh/km.
    Westport-20121125-00094.jpg
    We made it to Kingston by 11am, and were still in time for their Sunday Brunch. We charged for 2 hours at the Best Western Fireside Inn, again at 70A (A big THANK YOU to Kent and the Sun Country Highway team for making this possible).
    Kingston-20121125-00095.jpg
    After brunch, we walked to the nearby shops, and the time flew by. This put us back at full charge for the long stretch (258km) on the 401 from Kingston to Toronto Yorkdale mall. We knew that Cobourg and Oshawa were options if we felt that we were going to be short, but we didn't need either. With a combination of driving behind some slower trucks (90-100km/h) and 'normal' driving, we averaged 159Wh/km and arrived at Yorkdale mall with 80km remaining in Range mode.

    The security people in the parking garage were very helpful to move the pylons so that I could park close enough to the Tesla HPC and get a top up charge to allow us to finish the journey. We also took the opportunity to see the Tesla store again, and for my son to get a demo of the Model S experience.
    IMG-20121125-00096.jpg

    The return home was uneventful, except for a slight coating of freezing rain, making the roads just a little slippery.

    Overall, a great weekend. We really need one or more hotels in Ottawa (and other destinations) to have dedicated EV charging, ideally at 70A. I will encourage Brookstreet, based on my latest experience, and it would be ideal if there was a hotel downtown with charging as well.

    As expected, the roadster performed flawlessly. Looking forward to the next roadtrip!

    David
     
  2. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Great trip report, David! I'm glad you enjoyed County Road 10. It's a far more interesting drive than the 416/401, takes much less power, and gets you there just as fast.

    Funny how I did pretty much the same road trip, in reverse, last week. At least you didn't get a nail in your tire, like I did!

    Oh, and thanks for lunch. Great talking with you and your son. Feel free to drop by any time for some electrons. That goes for anyone here who might visit Ottawa.

    Doug
     
  3. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Great story and photos, dj905!

    I'm curious to know if these charging stations can be "reserved" ahead of time somehow. As I look forward to my Model S arriving, and start thinking about road trips like this, I wonder what I would do if I showed up at a planned charging stop only to find another EV in the middle of a multi-hour charge cycle?

    With so few EVs on the road today, the odds are low, but over time, and especially at peak travel times, this may become a problem. I can wait in line at a gas station if all the pumps are in use, but it's a different story with an EV.

    Just idle curiosity on my part :smile:
     
  4. dj905

    dj905 Member

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    Since I rarely encounter another EV on the road, it isn't much of an issue yet, however, I have observed contention for the J1772 charger in the TIFF Bell Lightbox building, and at the Sheraton center in Toronto. For roadtrips, I have been trying to make an effort to call ahead if I am depending on a charge at a certain time, but this is not a scalable solution once there are hundreds (thousands) of Model S' on our highways. We will need some kind of system to check availability, and have some way of doing reservations (perhaps up to 12 or 24 hours in advance?), or simply have more chargers available.

    The long time EV community in California had previously established some interaction rules regarding questions such as "Is it ok to unplug a car that is finished charging?", but now there are new questions emerging such as whether it is ok to unplug a "plug-in hybrid" to charge a "pure EV".

    I am hopeful that the number of charging sites will increase over time, and that we will be able to check availability online and even reserve a location in the not too distant future.

    For now, if I see another EV on the road or charging, I am quite happy. If someone puts in a charger at a hotel or restaurant, I am making an effort to frequent that location with my business, and tell others.

    David
     
  5. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I've seen things like this card, which could be potentially helpful.

    Some of the networks, like ChargePoint can show on an app which sites are open or in-use, and (if set up by the owner) can take reservations too. Not sure if the Sun Country network can or will work like that.
     
  6. Olivier007

    Olivier007 Member

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    To have a map that says which stations are in use you need the stations to have either wifi or 3g connection. As for now all our stations are free to use so we dont see a point of putting all this technology in the charger. We do have some stuff coming next year though. What i can tell you is that on the official map, which will be public as of december 21 st you will have all the coordinates of our partners so you can call in advance to ask if you can stop by and use the station or if its free at the moment.

    Thanks

    Olivier Delisle
    Business development
    Sun Country Highway

    Envoyé de mon iPad à l'aide de Tapatalk HD
     
  7. Olivier007

    Olivier007 Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Montreal
    To have a map that says which stations are in use you need the stations to have either wifi or 3g connection. As for now all our stations are free to use so we dont see a point of putting all this technology in the charger. We do have some stuff coming next year though. What i can tell you is that on the official map, which will be public as of december 21 st you will have all the coordinates of our partners so you can call in advance to ask if you can stop by and use the station or if its free at the moment.

    Thanks

    Olivier Delisle
    Business development
    Sun Country Highway

    Envoyé de mon iPad à l'aide de Tapatalk HD
     
  8. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Well, you can't beat free!
     
  9. sublimaze1

    sublimaze1 8Dec2012 / Leeroy Jenkins

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    I think these kinds of emails are great. I really enjoy reading about others' experiences and successes. Again, this one is very well written and a pleasure to read.
     

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