Three years after Petro-Canada launched its Electric Highway, it’s using lessons learned and user feedback to take the network forward, emphasizing greater reliability and enhanced communications
This article is Sponsor Content presented by Petro-Canada
In December 2019, Petro-Canada™ celebrated a milestone in our continued evolution of keeping Canadians moving — the opening of an electric vehicle charging station in Victoria, B.C. The event marked the completion of Canada’s Electric Highway™, the country’s first coast-to-coast network of ultra-fast EV chargers.
Our goal with Canada’s Electric Highway was to continue to enable mobility for Canadians as their energy needs evolve. With access to more than 50 charging locations along the Trans-Canada Highway, EV drivers could have the confidence their next adventure is only a charge away.
We knew this wouldn’t be easy. Being first in a market that is developing quickly comes with a lot of challenges. But by listening to our valued customers and working with industry leading partners, we were up for the challenge.
We understand and appreciate the frustration among EV drivers as we continue to grow and learn from our network. You are pioneering the EV space, helping define the industry as it develops. Rest assured: you have been heard. Petro-Canada is on a mission to keep Canadians moving. Today, that includes creating the infrastructure to support low-carbon energy alternatives and Canada’s Electric Highway is just the beginning.
What we’ve learned
Just like EV drivers, Petro-Canada was an early adopter of a new technology. Technology that was new not just to us, but also the entire industry. It meant we needed to develop new capabilities and work with new partners that could adapt quickly to the evolving world of electric vehicles.
Making matters even more challenging, the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe shortly after we celebrated the completion of Canada’s Electric Highway. Supply chains slowed to a crawl. Parts became difficult to source. Travel restrictions limited our ability to send skilled technicians where they were needed to diagnose problems and repair equipment.
All these factors contributed to instances where we, along with many other EV charging networks, faced difficulties in meeting the expectations of EV drivers. But we are working through the issues and remain committed to EV drivers and enabling mobility across Canada.
Where we’re headed
First, we’d like to thank all of you who shared feedback on your experiences. On-the-ground comments from EV drivers and our partners are informing our efforts to identify and respond more quickly to issues and build in new features that will drive a great customer experience.
Our immediate priorities focus on refining the reliability of our chargers — including hardware and digital capabilities — and enhancing communications with EV drivers. This will improve the network today and prepare us for expansion as we add new stops to Canada’s Electric Highway.
It’s a big job and there’s a lot of work ahead, but we hope that you — as EV drivers — will continue to grow with us and keep sharing your experiences and suggestions. We are beyond thrilled about striving to play a key role in Canada’s energy future and look forward to sharing more news with you soon.
For updates on Petro-Canada and Canada’s Electric Highway, please visit our website.
I have used the Aldersyde, AB chargers 2 times both times hitting 90 kWh charging rate. My Ioniq 5 is capable of 250 kWh charging. I have heard that other Ioniq 5 owners are also getting a slow charge rate. My 2023 model has battery conditioning also. Have these chargers deliberately been throttled down? I know the relationship between charging rate and temperature.
I have stopped using Petro Can because of the unreliability. Numerous times I have tried to charge only to have the machine tell me to phone the number attached to the machine. When I finally get to talk to someone they say sorry nothing we can do but thanks for informing us of the problem. At Electrify Canada when there has been a problem with the machines they have been able to fix it over the air.
Are you also going to ensure that the stations are not placed in a low spot so that users have to stand in a puddle when setting up to charge? Are you planning to increase the number of stations at closer intervals?
Had to take my shoes a socks off to wade into the water to and from this charger unacceptable
I really hope Petro Canada can fix the issues, but right now I never plan to use a PC charger and if I can’t avoid it half the time it doesn’t work.
I used to go to the Nanaimo chargers regularly as they were well situated and quick charging. They then broke down and were offline for months. Due to this I have shifted over to the Electrify Canada chargers which have yet to let me down. Unreliability lost you a customer.
I am 1 of the very few EV owners in NW Ontario. It has been very difficult depending on Petro Canada. We have averaged 50% of the time, that the chargers are not working. Hopefully you are true to your word and get the chargers to be more dependable. Once i was told by the help desk, dont worry, we will be there in 3 or 4 days. Not what you want to hear when you are travelling long distance.
There are a disappointing number of inoperable Petro-Canada charging points, and it appears that maintenance is practically non-existent.
I think that ultimately EV drivers want you to put as much priority on a broken EV charger as you would a broken gasoline pump. There is a clear sense that the priority isn’t equal and while there may well be contributing factors to this – all EV drivers want is dependable, reliable, quick and cost-effective fast-charging access throughout their journeys.
Oh, and how about some better snack or beverage options while waiting, and garbage/recycling/compost bins beside the chargers as well!
Want to laugh, check out the comments on Plugshare for the Moncton NB PetroCan chargers. Absolutely brutal.
I have used the PC chargers often. I have had generally good experience. Occasionally awesome and a few times bad.
All in all – the situation is as described: nascent and improving.
The first step towards perfection is to begin – and correct course along the way.
By the way –
The Petro-Canada app is rather awesome.
I have to say my experiences with the PetroCanada Superchangers is always disappointing and frustrating. I often find the PetroCanada super chargers in SSM, Ont, unreliable and slow to charge. Often maxing out @ 98kw/hr. When I call to report a problem, the customer service is always unable to help or apathetic. I find this is an epic fail. But I do find it interesting that a major Petro company is investing in electric infrastructure, but it does not work……..makes one go “hmmmm????” I have used charger stations throughout Michigan and from other providers in Ontario and they have always performed as advertised.
Can’t claim to be fully coast to coast unless Newfoundland has at least 1 charger.
The “coast to coast” network is just embarrassing here in the East… No PC chargers anywhere in Newfoundland or PEI. And in Nova Scotia… the Halifax site, presumably the one that could be busiest, has been broken for a year!
I get the feeling that Petro Canada would rather we have bad experiences charging and switch back to gasoline powered vehicles. The problem with that is that we love our cars and we dislike this terrible service.
Building EV stations is one thing, keeping them working is another thing. The federal government should impose a guaranteed up-time on EV chargers for those companies who seek any kind of subsidies from public funds. Other than the Tesla Superchargers, most of other brands are still so unreliable. I would not be confident to go on a long trip if I were not driving a Tesla.
Well, like everything it takes time. Give them credit on starting the process. Stop in at other “gas stations” and how are their chargers working. Yeah that’s right. They are clinging to gas only till it finally dies out. Then they might start putting in chargers. And you poor people only getting 98kwh. And complain. Move to PEI or Newfoundland where we don’t have their coast to coast.
My overall experience using the PC Abbotsford BC charger a few times recently was good. Our car doesn’t charge in triple digits anyway so I can’t complain about level of charging. I love PC for acknowledging that they’re people carrying cars not just a fuel user. Windshield washer, a garbage can, snacks and a bathroom are all things that I expect in my gas car experience which are lacking at most EV charging stops. I hope more companies follow Petro Canadas lead on this especially as hybrid cars use both fuel types. I expect more investment in environmental power infrastructure like wind and solar and having big oil share the monetary benefits seems like a win/win to me.
Reliable EV charging is a problem with every company but I suspect it was like that in the beginning with gas too.
I had one successful charge in 2 years at PC. Otherwise, they don’t work. I once contacted the ‘help’ folks and asked why Moncton, NB shows as 2 available when they are both dead with a black screen. Their reply was to send them the charger info and what the screens said. Huh?
The PC charger in Meductic, NB is normally ICEd by a PC employee who feels entitled to park by the building block a stall. Read PlugShare sometime to gain a better understanding of this gem.
If drivers can’t find accurate availability statuses with your own app, your help people cant help, your staff block the stalls, you don’t promptly fix defective stations, and you overprice your rate (now 50 cents /min, twice the 25 cents/min at eCharge 50kW stations), people will continue to avoid PC and use other DCFCs, if and when companies realize Canada continues past Quebec and expand East.
Good to hear you acknowledge your reliability issues. My experience with PC chargers have not been a positive one, similar to the many comments here. I hope that you also have plans to provide more chargers at PC locations, as the current ones are few and far between
I don’t regret using this system. During the pandemic chargers broke in two ways: non-functional and providing charge for no cost. After speaking with customer service and trying to identify the PC VP in charge I happily took free charging sessions when the chargers were broken. There are just two stations in the GTA, nothing downtown just Scarborough and Vaughan. Now the price hike of 50%.
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