Looking to skip the airport lineups but still have a vacation? Take a look at the “New to EVs?” road trip guide, grab your favourite charging app and see just how far and wide Canada’s public fast charging network can take you
Whether you are looking for a summer getaway or a winter adventure it’s time to take the plunge in your electric vehicle and explore how far Canada’s publicly funded charging network can take you.
Electric Autonomy Canada has put together the top 10 Canadian road trips to take in an EV whether you’re driving from coast-to-coast or making a shorter jaunt in between.
Each of the following road trips is supported by public EV chargers with speeds of 50+ kW and which support all vehicles.
Montreal to Quebec City
If this is your first EV road trip, a gentle run with plenty of public fast chargers, gorgeous scenery and decadent food may be just the thing.
The corridor between Montreal and Quebec City offers public charging stations every few dozen kilometres along the highway — one of the most densely populated EV charger routes in the country.
Mostly run by Hydro-Quebec’s Electric Circuit network the chargers are fast and powered by 100 per cent renewable hydroelectricity.
Plus, you get to pass by and give a tip of your hat to Bécancour, Quebec — one of the focal points of Canada’s EV battery supply chain.
Canmore, Alta., to Vancouver
If more dramatic views are your preference and you have no problem pausing to accommodate a moose or bear crossing the road, the drive through the Canadian Rockies is a fantastic EV adventure.
On top of driving through Banff National Park, one of Canada’s natural treasures, you will do so noiselessly and emission-free, which is a good thing for the local wildlife.
Chargers are situated just before Banff in Canmore and then just over the provincial border in Field, B.C.
Once you make it that far, it’s a smooth ride all the way to Vancouver. Chargers are placed conveniently along the highway, and if you feel like making a detour — there is ample coverage in the off-highway communities.
Saint John, N.B., to Digby, N.S.
This EV road trip not only involves touring some of the prettiest spots in the Atlantic region, but you get to try out another form of transport: a car ferry.
Starting in Saint John, you’ll be able to spend a few days touring the bedroom communities and sites around the city (the Bay of Fundy is not short of wonders to see). When you are ready, take your final charge in town and then board the ferry for a relaxing two hour crossing to Digby, N.S., where you can take in the Bay (and delicious seafood) from the N.S. side.
Feeling more ambitious? From Digby, push on to Halifax. The charging network is so built out you can comfortably loop the entire peninsula.
Prince Edward Island coastal drive, P.E.I.
Maybe you’ve always been a fan of Anne of Green Gables, or maybe you can’t get enough of red earth and sandy beaches. Either way, with the ring road around Prince Edward Island now fully electrified it makes an ideal road trip destination.
Whether you start the loop from Charlottetown, pick up the bridge from New Brunswick or take the ferry crossing from Nova Scotia, there are chargers available along Routes 1 and 2, as far east as Souris and as far north west as Unionville ensuring that you will be able to see the island end-to-end.
Summerville and Charlottetown have a surprising number of public charging stations (relative to EV adoption). So your primary concern when you’re downtown will be where to find the best lobster rolls, not charging stations.
If you haven’t been to Quebec’s Gaspé peninsula, you may want to think seriously about adding it to the top of your list. The peninsula offers stunning ocean vistas, quaint rainbow cottages, magnificent cliffs and some of Canada’s most gorgeous hikes. Gaspé will make you gasp, eh?
While the public chargers are more spread out along the peninsula’s road than the well-covered Montreal-Quebec City artery, they are there at regular intervals and often enough that you can get around the entire peninsula.
Feel free to add the Gaspé leg once you arrive in Quebec City (the drive along the St. Lawrence River to the peninsula is well covered by public charging infrastructure). It’s roughly another seven to eight hours north, but worth it.
Channel-Port Aux Basques to Gros Morne, N.L.
Newfoundland and Labrador is a unique province. With rocky ground as far as the eye can see, an excellent music scene and a wicked sense of humour any road trip on the island would prove equal part challenging and fun.
If you are a slightly more experienced EV driver and feel confident in your vehicle’s range capabilities, why not push the envelope and take a run either from the ferry docks at Channel-Port Aux Basques (where the boat from Nova Scotia drops you off) and take the scenic tour up to Gros Morne National Park? A public charging station awaits you in the park and the road in between has adequate if not overwhelming EV charger coverage.
But once you get to Gros Morne a billion-year-old cliff awaits, along with a stillness unparalleled in Canada’s other national parks and all the hiking trails you can want — all enhanced by the silence of your zero-emission ride. Just watch out for moose on the road.
Ucluelet to Tofino, B.C.
Follow the sea-ravaged shoreline up the western edge of Vancouver Island between Ucluelet and Tofino and you will spend 34 minutes seeing some of the most breathtaking scenery Canada has to offer.
While the highlight of the trip is undoubtably the coastline, the challenge is getting to Ucluelet. Unless you are lucky enough to live in the shadow of the ancient cedar forests in between Ucluelet and Tofino, you will have to make a not unambitious drive from Victoria to get there.
The road up to just past Nanaimo is very well covered by EV chargers — no
problem. Once you get off Highway 19 and start heading for Port Alberni, however, things get a little more sparse.
There are still more than enough charging opportunities to get safely there and back, but if you are a new EV driver who suffers from range anxiety, perhaps save this trip until you are a bit more confident in your EV’s range.
Saskatoon to Cochin, Sask.
If you’ve been told that all there is in the prairies is flat land, big sky and wheat, you’ve been misled. Did you know Saskatoon is named “The City of Bridges” (it has eight stunning bridges that span the South Saskatchewan River)?
Cochin is a resort town on the shores of Jackfish Lake, a popular fishing spot.
It’s an easy EV run to take a tour between Winnipeg and Cochin, with a break mid-way in North Battleford. There are no EV chargers in Cochin, so North Battleford is the last EV charging stop on the route.
While Saskatchewan is getting a reputation for its slow EV adoption rates and inconsistent public charger coverage, this particular Saskatoon-Cochin corridor has more than enough charging infrastructure to ensure a smooth trip.
Winnipeg to Brandon, Man.
Winnipeg is another province that sometimes gets a raised eyebrow for its EV adoption numbers (or lack thereof). The major complaint is that charging coverage stops north of Selkirk (in fairness there is one station in Dauphin — definitely the province’s most northerly fast charger) and otherwise EV drivers are confined east to west driving along Highway 1.
Well, the numbers don’t lie and that criticism is not unfounded. Manitoba does have limited charging if you stray at all off the beaten path; however, all the more reason to bring EVs to the province and show there is a demand for more infrastructure.
Winnipeg is a pulsing cultural epicentre, while Brandon is the seat of a lot of the province’s history and industry. A trip between the two cities will bolster EVs’ presence and you will definitely learn a great deal about Canadian culture while you are at it.
Victoria to St. John’s
Crossing Canada is a trip every Canadian should do at least once and an EV means you’ll be able to enjoy enormous cost savings while not compromising on that grand tour experience. So, stay on the Trans Canada highway the entire time or jog through the smaller back roads, the public charging networks have provided a robust blanket of coverage that will support many different varieties of The Great Canadian Road Trip.
You can do the trip fast, you can do it slow. East to west, or west to east. Driving from Victoria to St. John’s can take five days or it can take two weeks.
The beauty of the trip is that you can set the pace and the planned charging stops will give you ample time to absorb and appreciate the sites. Recharge the car, recharge yourself.