I used an electric car-share vehicle for travelling Vancouver Island and everything went fine

In August of 2022, I needed a vehicle for a couple of work trips between Courtenay and Victoria. I used an electric Hyundai Kona from the Modo Co-operative. It made for a cost-effective, fun, and hassle-free EV commute.

Modo does not have vehicles based in Courtenay, where I live, but fortunately I was able to pick up the vehicle in Victoria while on a trip for other business. There was no problem accessing it using the Modo fob. Modo secures parking spaces with dedicated chargers for their EVs so I was able to start with 80% charge. I drove from downtown Victoria to a meeting in Langford, then got onto HWY 1 and headed north, back home to Courtenay.

A brief charging stop at Electrify Canada in Nanaimo.

Island EV Commuting

The Kona EV is rated for 415 km of range, though many users report higher actual range in good conditions. Victoria to Courtenay is only 220 km, so I would have been able to drive home without stopping to charge. At that time, however, I did not have a home charging station and knew that I would have to return to Victoria in a couple of days. So I elected to stop at the Electrify Canada site in Nanaimo for about ten minutes to get a partial recharge. Using the basic charging cable at home (110v), I was able to get back up to full before my next trip to Victoria.

I made two trips to Victoria with the Kona and was surprised by its range and efficiency. In the hot summer conditions, using AC and fully packed with boxes of equipment, the Kona was nearly able to make the round trip without stopping to charge. I am confident it could have done so, but the battery would have been almost depleted and I did not want to rely entirely on basic charging at home to recharge between trips. That’s why I decided to stop for short, partial charging sessions en-route. I used BC Hydro chargers, Electrify Canada and the Chargepoint station at Snaw-Naw-As Market. All the stations worked and were easy to activate using my BC Hydro EV app or credit card (the BC Hydro app works at Flo and Chargepoint stations).

Charging stations at Snaw-Naw-As Market, Lantzville.

The Kona EV and Modo

The Kona is a notoriously fun, snappy crossover EV with great maneuverability in the city and impressive range on the highway. They are very common on Vancouver Island. The Tesla Supercharger network does not currently extend north of Nanaimo, whereas public chargers span the whole island, and the the Kona makes for a cheaper alternative to a Model 3 RWD.

I was able to fit all of my event supplies including the pop-up canopy pictured below, but would not have been able to fit a passenger as well. The Kona is a small crossover and gets the job done, but the Tesla Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach-E that I used on other work trips were definitely roomier.

When I made these trips, there were no other options for renting EVs on Vancouver Island. Even the Turo peer-to-peer rentals that I would otherwise use were fully booked. I am grateful that I could access an EV from Modo, and that it was cost effective as well. I had the vehicle for two weeks and the Modo booking was far less costly than a traditional rental, plus I only spent around $10 on fast-charging and less than $5 on home charging.

I hope that Modo is able to continue adding EVs to the fleet and look forward to seeing more options in Nanaimo or even an expansion further up-island to Courtenay.