Wednesday, October 25, 2023

W-EVdnesday #2 Charging Stations

Today's post is about charging. Probably the biggest reason people tell me why they aren't getting an EV is that, "We aren't there yet," when it comes to the infrastructure needed to charge electric cars. However, what you have to wrap your head around is that unless you are going on a trip, or your apartment or condo does not have charging stations, rarely if ever will you need to go to a public charging station. 

It's true that if you get off the main highways here in Ontario, your chances of finding a fast charger take a nosedive. However, along the major ones, for example the 401, they are plentiful and fast, at every OnRoute rest area. The other thing to consider is that major highways go through or very near major cities, and not far into a major city you will find fast chargers. We look for Canadian Tire stores (these are hardware, outdoor, home and garden major department stores) where Electrify Canada (our preference) and Flo chargers are.
One of our several free charges we’ve had over the past  1.75 years. I posted it on Instagram with a thank you any tag to Electrify Canada and they responded☺️

Not all Canadian Tire stores have EV chargers, but many do. Last year when we travelled to the Catskills, we found that Walmart had several Electrify America chargers in their parking lots. This makes such sense to have chargers at shopping centres! You plug in, head into the store, hit the washroom, grab something to eat or drink, and by the time you get back to your vehicle, it's probably about ready to take off again.
Fast chargers are 50 kW and up. If you look at the screen, you'll see we were getting 132 kW here. There are some 350 kW chargers, but the majority are 150 kW. We've had several freebies from Electrify Canada too! I love that they randomly do this. When was the last time you randomly got a freebie at Petro Canada or Shell, etc? Also, in the 1.75 years we've had our Ioniq 5, the price per minute at Electrify Canada hasn't changed: 57c per minute. The most we've paid to charge at a public station since we've owned the car (MacGyver gets the receipts by text) is $12.45. It cost us $10.82 to get from home to Port Perry last week, 382 km. Gas for a similar size crossover vehicle would be about three times that.

Another comment I have heard, and I actually read this from someone CBC interviewed in Vancouver who owns an EV is that she detests having to wait so long in line to get to the charger. This past trip that we did, a just over 1400 km round trip, we had to wait in line for an available charger for the first time ever. We waited less than ten minutes, and then it was our turn. My daughter Brianne regularly takes her entire lunch hour to leave her workplace, drive to Costco, and wait in line for, on a good day, a 40 minutes to get to the gas pump. Many times she's had to wait even longer than that. We have a new gas station open on the other side of Leamington on First Nations land where the gas is a similar price to Costco, and people are regularly lined up ten deep waiting at the pumps. So this complaint doesn't hold water.

Remember the bulk of your charging will be done at home unless you live in an apartment building or condo that doesn’t have a charging system. More and more of these dwellings are putting in charging systems, however.  In the year and nine months that we’ve had our Ioniq 5 the charging stations have increased exponentially. In our little town, the Pelee Island Winery for which Kingsville is well-known, has a Level 3 charger which is 150 kWh (kilowatt per hour! For $5/hour you can charge your car. And before you jump to conclusions that it takes an hour to charge, nope, our car which has an 800 volt charging capability would take about 20 minutes to charge up to 80% if you started at around 20%. This would cost you $1.67 ($5/3). While you’re charging, you’d pop in for a bottle of wine most likely, right? Lots of businesses are finally starting to catch on to this way to bring in customers. This summer when we were in Montreal, we thought they were way ahead of their time, at least in our travels in North America, because they have charging stations just like parking metres along the street downtown on many streets. Park your car, plug-in, charge while you run errands or shop.
Downtown Montréal this summer

Not all EV charging capabilities are created equally. Charging capability means how fast your battery can accept a charge. MacGyver says that currently the European and Asian manufacturers have superior charging capabilities than those here in North America. Your manufacturer will have the specifications for your battery. Charging capabilities are separate from the size of the battery. For example, a Mach-E battery is 91 kWh and an Ioniq 5 battery is 77kWh,  (think of it like the size of a fuel tank) but the Ioniq 5’s charging capability is much faster than the Mach-E. This means you will spend less time at the charging station. Think of it like using a fatter hose to pump gas.

One interesting personal anecdote: at an Electrify Canada charging station in Oshawa last week, where we waited in line that first time ever, there was a Volkswagen ID.4 charging, an Audi e-tron, a Polestar, a Ford F-150 Lightning, and a Porsche Taycan. I thought it was so cool to see all those different makes at the one station! We got to chatting, which is something we have been also quite enjoying at many of our charging stops. The ID.4 people absolutely LOVE their car. They had wanted an Ioniq 5 but the waiting list was so long, so they ordered the VW. The Porsche Taycan owner LOVES his; he rarely uses a station unless he's doing a longer drive, which he was with his entire family. He uses his EV as a commuter and said his work is where he does the majority of his charging as they have stations for employees. The Ford Lightning guy said it’s the best vehicle he’s ever owned and he is a truck dude.
Here you can see our setup in the garage. The Grizzl-E is on the wall and the thick black cord, similar to a  pump hose is plugged into the charging port of the car. The car takes care of the rest! Looks like we need to take care of giving ours a wash😉

Again, remember that 95% of your charging is done at home, so charging capability is not as important as battery size. Battery size will give you more range. Capability means how fast it will take a charge. I'll talk more about range next time, as it is quite a different way to look at transportation.


Kate in the comments mentioned about the lack of charging stations between Tulsa and OKC. This is an excellent point because it reminds me of something I just do: I DuckDuck (Google) "charging stations in ____" enter name of city or province or state. 

The second hit told me that there are 322 stations in Tulsa alone! That hit is on an app that shows you where stations are worldwide. However, it is also a website, though the app is better and has more information. I went to the actual site and took a couple of screenshots which you see above. 

MacGyver uses a combo of the app and the EV stations app built into our car. You can zoom out and remove the Tulsa filter, type in Oklahoma Turnpike and it will show you there are 8 plugs and 30+ networks. Go ahead and type your location into plugshare and you may be pleasantly surprised as to how many there are that you had no clue about. Also of interesting note is that Hyundai has entered into an agreement with Tesla to use their chargers, which are ubiquitous, and will be providing car owners with an adaptor plug.

Also of note since I posted, is the fact that several car companies, which include the big three (Ford, GM and Chrysler) here in North America are starting to build their own charging stations networks as they see another opportunity for income. 


  1. How much supporting infrastructure there is in the US is really dependent on where you live. Not only do I live in the midwest/midsouth, I live in oil country. EV has been really slow to catch on here. I saw charging stations had been added to the new midway gas station on the turnpike between OKC and Tulsa, but there are only 2 or 3. I didn't see any at the older midway point on the trip from Tulsa to OKC, but I also didn't go out of my way to look for them. If they were there, it wasn't obvious.

  2. I love this series. I am really thinking about it for my next car, although I fall into the don't have a charger at the garage we park at in Portland ME. I will be contacting them to see if one is coming. There is one at the grocery store we frequent, and I doubt that we would need it more than once every other week unless we are doing a lot of driving!

  3. Hi Sandra! I love this series! I noticed after a visit to the hospital last week, that they have several chargers at the ready. I'm fairly lucky to live naer a good size city but charging overnight would not be an issue for me. This is getting me excited for my next car. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne