Owning an EV in Snow Country

Last Christmas and over New Year’s 2022, a friend’s daughter and her husband and dog drove from Banff, Alberta to Sarnia, Ontario and back in a Hyundai Kona EV. This was across the Prairies and Northern Ontario in the teeth of winter in the space of 18 days.

They made the trip with no undue problems. The Kona has excellent range for a smallish SUV and this demonstrates the real-world practicality of the current crop of Electric Vehicles.

To flesh out the EV story we asked Director Sandy Agnew for his experience with his EV which also happens to be a Kona. Sandy lives in the country in a very hilly part of Central Ontario known as the snow belt.

Below, in bullet form are his comments.

  • Vehicle description:
    • 2021 Hyundai Kona, took delivery August , 2020, range ~425Km summer,
      • 20% in winter
  • Daily trips
    • Locally Midland, Barrie, Orillia
  • Longest trips:
    • Numerous trips to Toronto, Uxbridge on one charge.
    • Longest to Ottawa, recharge on route, need to allow an hour or so. Sometimes have to wait for access to the charger. More charging station are becoming available.
  • Charging at home and on the road:
    • Have level 2 charging station at home, charges overnight, after 7PM for lower rates (~ $5 a “fill-up”)
    • Level 3 charges charge to 80% in 20 minutes, cost at level 3 charger has been about $15 to 80% charge.
  • How quickly the heater works:
    • Heater works almost instantaneously, heater and fan reduce range significantly but not a problem so far.
  • What do you like about it?
    • Very quiet, amazing acceleration , fun to drive
  • Distance on the clock:
    • ~35,000 Km, have a second car which we seldom use
  • Change in range from new?
    • May have dropped somewhat but hard to tell with cold weather .
  • Maintenance costs:
    • Very low maintenance so far, just changing to winter tires.
  • Insurance costs:
    • No reduction in insurance cost, but a significant reduction in second car (truck) insurance because it has much lower Kms driven
  • Most hated, most loved:
    • Barrie Hyundai dealer service dept. is (was) grossly incompetent, had problems with the 12 volt battery when car was new which they couldn’t seem to fix. Moved to Midland Hyundai who fixed it in one day. No issues since.
    • Hatchback design rear window gets dirty almost instantly along with backup camera lens.
    • Love how peppy it is. Love driving past gas stations when gas is $2/L.
  • Overall costs:
    • Paid about $50k, very low operating costs, don’t even notice the extra hydro charges.

“I haven’t got much experience in deep snow. The car is fairly low to ground so probably won’t be great. Front wheel drive helps.”

The bottom line on the subject of EVs is that they are practical now for the vast majority of drivers even in extreme conditions. In Norway, where conditions are even more extreme than in most of Canada, EVs currently make up over 85% of new car sales.

EVs are the best way to take a large chunk out of your carbon emissions so please make sure your next vehicle is electric. Also buy a vehicle that is smaller than the one you currently drive and keep it for many years before replacing it.

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