VW ID.4 driver sets road-trip-charging world record in Canada
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Aug 10, 2023
Mehanaz Yakub

The Guinness World Record trip involved travelling over 7,000km from St. John’s to Victoria and making 18 charging stops

A Volkswagen ID.4 driver has set the Guinness World Record for the fewest number of charging stops in an electric car crossing Canada. Photo: Rainer Zietlow

The Guinness World Record trip involved travelling over 7,000 km from St. John’s to Victoria and making 18 charging stops

A Volkswagen ID.4 driver has set the Guinness World Record for the fewest number of charging stops in an electric car crossing Canada.

Rainer Zietlow, accompanied by cameraperson Elric Popp, started the journey in St. John’s on July 25th and concluded in Victoria on August 1.

The Volkswagen ID.4 had a 400 km range and a 77 kW battery. The pair travelled 7,133 kilometres in seven days and made only 18 charging stops along the way. This is the fewest number of charging stops made on the coast-to-coast journey.

“What I’m doing here is to tell people who are not into electric, that even such a big country — the second biggest in the world — can be crossed in an electric [car],” says Zietlow in an interview with Electric Autonomy.

Zietlow is the founder of CHALLENGE4 GmbH, a Germany-based agency that specializes in planning and executing international long-distance tours, often aiming to break records. This achievement marks Zietlow’s sixth Guinness World Record.

His motive for this trip, however, extends beyond breaking records — it’s about bringing awareness to EVs and charging too.

“There is no need to have fear. You can drive smoothly, there’s no hassle of reducing the speed too much or waiting for the chargers that people block,” says Zietlow.

“It’s really nice you can now drive from west-to-east or east-to-west.”

The trip was sponsored by Volkswagen Canada. Now that the model is available to purchase in Canada, the automaker wanted to show off the vehicle’s range and capabilities.  

Zietlow is now embarking on another cross-country journey in the opposite direction, making stops at all 145 Volkswagen dealerships across the country.

Canada charging infrastructure

After driving across Canada in an EV, Zietlow has a unique insight into the reliability of charging, the speeds available and various aspects of Canada’s charging network in each province.

The most significant challenge during the trip was striking a balance between speed and driving efficiently.

During the trip, Zietlow made stops at several major national and regional charging network operators in Canada, including FLO, Circuit Electrique, Petro Canada, Canadian Tire, Ivy Charging Network, Co-op Connect, BC Hydro, and Electrify Canada.

“The interesting thing about Canada is that there’s not one system dominating everything. I like that we have this competition,” says Zietlow.

Along the way, Zietlow noticed that areas like the west coast in B.C. and Quebec had more than enough charging stations. But availability became scarcer between Thunder Bay, Ont., and heading west through the Prairies.

“I can understand that charging companies that they say, ‘Hey, why should I invest in chargers in Saskatchewan or Manitoba because there are not many EVs driving’,” says Zietlow.

Nevertheless, he says expanding the charging availabilities in these provinces is essential for overall network improvement.

Zietlow also suggests boosting the prevalence of 100 kW chargers since the current standard in Canada mainly focuses on 50 kW chargers.

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