The Northern Bolt
I'm one of those mythical North Americans who live in the country, far
from cities, in a northern climate, and actually have to drive. The
common disinformation out there is that EVs do not work for such people.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I bought my Bolt in October 2018. For that, I had to go 1,300 km away
from where I live in west central British Columbia, Canada (latitude 55
degrees, like the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle). No local dealer
wanted to even talk to me. I caught a ride to Vancouver, paid my money,
and drove away.
There was a bit of planning required to line up the few charging
stations outside southern B.C., but I made it home in two days, just
like I usually would. And I paid $0.00 for the 1,300 km.
At home, I had built a solar array of 36 panels. That produces on
average 28 kWh per day through the year. On really good sunny days it
goes up to 65 kWh/ day, while the panels make nothing at all when there
is snow on them. BC Hydro, our public utility, allows net metering. They
credit energy fed into the grid 1:1. That means that for every kWh I put
into the grid I get a credit of 1 kWh, over the whole year. There still
is a $7 monthly charge for the grid connection. So far it looks like the
solar system makes just enough for our household and the car. It's like
having an oil well, a refinery, and a gas pump out in the field. But
there is no noise, no emissions, and it's free once built. In 40,000 km,
we have paid less than $50 for fuel.
The car works very well in the winter. Of course there is less range,
but it's plenty sufficient. I can start the car remotely, while it's
plugged in, and it heats up immediately because it does not depend on
waste heat from an engine. It's excellent on ploughed snow and ice
roads, of which we have many. Due to its small wheels, it does not like
The fly in the ointment is the lack of public charging infrastructure
here in the North. Prince George is the nearest city with 70,000 people,
and it's 400 km away. There are only Level 2 chargers between there and
here. If I want to go at 105 km/h, that means that I have to spend a
good hour in Burns Lake or Houston. At least there is a nice coffee shop
in Burns Lake. There are plans to build Level 3 chargers here, but it
goes slow as molasses. Cities like Terrace and Prince Rupert have just
deplorable public charging - Prince Rupert nothing at all, and no plans
to change that. No plans of which I know exist to build chargers on the
highway to the north, even though a high voltage transmission line was
built up there by the public.
This might look different in a year or two, but it's frustrating right now.
Otherwise, all in, our family thoroughly enjoys driving the car (it goes
like stink), and the savings of $400 in fuel costs each and every month.