Imagine road-tripping across Saskatchewan and not having to rely on fuel stations to fill up your vehicle – instead, you recharge it. That’s slowly becoming a reality in Canada and yes – even here in Saskatchewan. According to Sask Power there are 93,000 electric vehicles in Canada and about 400 of those have made their home here in the province.
My mom and I headed out on a mother-daughter road trip in an electric vehicle in partnership with Federated Co-op to see what it’s like travelling Saskatchewan on a charge.
READ MORE: 3 Things to Do When Preparing for a Roadtrip
*This article on electric vehicles in Saskatchewan is created in partnership with Federated Co-op and the support of Your Next Ev Sales Ltd. But as always, all thoughts, opinions and experiences are genuinely my own.
Table of Contents
- Finding Electric Vehicles in Saskatchewan
- Where to Charge an Electric Vehicle in Saskatchewan
- How Far Can EV’s Drive?
- Road Tripping Saskatchewan in an Electric Vehicle
- How to Charge an EV
- Day Two Driving an Electric Vehicle
- How Much Does Charging an EV Cost?
- What to Do While Charging Your EV
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Finding Electric Vehicles in Saskatchewan
We planned our route to leave Saskatoon and drive to Moose Jaw for the night then hop over to Regina before returning back home. But first, we needed a car.
Currently, there are no rental agencies that provide electric vehicles in Saskatchewan, so I reached out to William Hale at Your Next Ev Sales in Saskatoon. He’s the only dealership selling previously owned electric vehicles in the province.
Passionate about pursuing renewable energy, his goal is focused on doing his part in the fight against climate change. He also wants to provide an opportunity for others to make that choice too. So he opened Your Next EV Sales in 2021. When he heard about our trip, he offered to hook us up with a loaner 2018 Chevy Bolt Premium to drive.
- Did You Know: The technology for electric vehicles is nearly two centuries old – the first one was built in 1832. EV’s were almost as popular as gas cars in the early 1900’s and a third of all vehicles at the time were electric.
Where to Charge an Electric Vehicle in Saskatchewan
Co-op has been building a network of fast-charging stations across Western Canada, including a corridor of 6 charging stations in 5 locations in the province along the #1 Highway from Whitewood all the way to Maple Creek – with plans for more across the province as the technology & infrastructure grows.
Additionally, PlugShare or ABRP app can point you in the right direction for EV charging stations and route planning.
How Far Can EV’s Drive?
Most EVs can travel 250km or more on a single charge while upper-end EV’s, like Teslas, can travel 600 kilometres. (More than enough to travel roundtrip between Regina and Saskatoon on a single charge.)
The Bolt’s range is about 380km so I knew our road trip plan was going to work. Moose Jaw is 230km from Saskatoon and we could fast charge at the Co-ops connect station on 9th Avenue. Being aware of highway speeds and headwinds is also key to making sure you’re optimizing your vehicle’s energy use.
- Pros to owning and driving an electric car? There are fewer moving parts with an electric motor which means they’re cheaper to maintain. The average 5-year cost on a gas vehicle is around $6000 and it’s a third less for EV’s at $4,250 (according to Sask Power).
Road Tripping Saskatchewan in an Electric Vehicle
Our first stop in Moose Jaw was a bite to eat on the patio at Rosie’s on River Street. We snuck in a bit of shopping downtown before our late afternoon trolley tour around the city. We learned a lot about the history of Moose Jaw including stories of a few colourful characters throughout the town’s past. Both mom and I would 10/10 recommend it and we’d love to head back for their ghost and true crimes tours. For supper, we stopped by Deja Vu Moose Jaw for their famous wings and milkshakes.
Before checking into our hotel for the night, we headed to the Co-op’s connect station for a charge.
How to Charge an EV
Co-op has both CHAdeMO and CCS universal connectors and charging an EV is quite simple.
I downloaded the Co-op Connect App and input my payment information. The app found my location and the station I was at. I plugged my car in, picked the ID of the charger I was at and tapped it on the screen to match (just like telling the gas attendant you’re at “pump 3” when you fuel up a vehicle – but on an app.)
It immediately started to charge.
Co-op’s charging speeds go up to 100 kW. The Bolt charges at 55kW and tapers the closer it gets to full. The Bolt can charge to 60% in 28 minutes, 70% in 43 minutes and completely full in 107 minutes.
We had 17% battery left when we pulled in and knew we needed a bit of range for our next day’s adventures. To get to 80%, we spent about an hour and 7 minutes charging at the DC fast-charging station.
Common courtesy is to let your vehicle charge for 30-40 minutes or about 80% full if others are waiting. It’s also good to know when your EV tapers its charging to maximize time and cost per charge.
Day Two Driving an Electric Vehicle
The next morning, Mom and I had two spots we wanted to explore before heading to Regina. First, we booked a morning tour at the Avonlea Badlands. I’ve wanted to see this spot for years! As it’s on private land you have to book a guided tour direct with the Heritage Museum in Avonlea. The badlands are totally unexpected to see in the middle of a field and it’s cool to spot and explore the hoodoos here.
After our two-hour tour, we backtracked to Claybank to visit the Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site and hike the Massold Clay Canyons. I was here earlier in the year and wanted to come back to show my mom around the interpretive centre and show her the gorgeous views from the clay pits.
How Much Does Charging an EV Cost?
Late afternoon we headed into Regina after logging a couple of hundred kilometres on the road. There are two Co-op charging stations in the city and we headed to the closest one in the west end in Harbour Landing.
We knew we had about 260km to travel back to Saskatoon so we wanted to make sure to top up the vehicle. We spent an hour and 14 minutes charging at a total cost of $24.43. This co-op station charges $0.33 per minute for fast charging.
What to Do While Charging Your EV
We charged at Sherwood Co-op which is a convenient location to pick up groceries while you charge. We also had WiFi so I hung out and did some work on my computer while we waited.
Most of Co-op’s charging stations are located at their gas bars and also happen to be near restaurants or stores so you can leave your vehicle to charge for half an hour while you dine and shop.
*A big thanks to Your Next EV Sales for supporting this trip with Federated Co-op.