When I started volunteering with EmotiveBC a few years ago, we spent a lot of time explaining electric vehicle basics, and demonstrating that the technology really did work. Today, the conversation is more about specifics; people aspire to go electric, but want to know how an EV will fit their lifestyle. Fortunately, there are a few key websites/apps that help answer common questions for those ready to dive in. Whether you are thinking of buying an electric vehicle, or have recently bought an EV, these are your must have tools:
PlugShare: Use this to find public charging stations. There are several station-finding tools out there; however, PlugShare seems to be the most popular. You can see a map of charging stations, search by location, and filter connection types. The app will indicate when a station is in-use and provide details about activation, power levels, etc. Plus, you can check-in when using a station, leave feedback for other users, and view comments. So, if you are wondering about charging stations near you, or on your favorite road-trip route, use PlugShare to find out.
Tip: If you are shopping for an electric vehicle, it’s important to know about the different types of charging ports and charging stations. You can make a PlugShare account and designate any vehicle that interests you as “your vehicle.” Then you can filter charging stations based on what your vehicle can use.
A Better Route Planner: I’ve done a lot of electric road-trips over the past couple years, but I can’t speak to every example that people ask me about. Fortunately, A Better Route Planner lets you select your chosen EV and simulate trips. It accounts for elevation changes, road conditions, temperature, extra weight and more. Use this tool to quickly calculate the charging time and cost for your chosen trip.
Tip: If you really want to take advantage of this tool, there’s a new option to sync the app with an OBDII reader (a device that plugs into you car’s diagnostic port) and get real-time calculations.
Geotab’s EV Battery Degradation Tool: Switching gears a bit, people often ask me about battery life. They are worried that their vehicle’s battery will have to be replaced, incurring a huge expense. Geotab is a telematics company that studied battery health of 6,000 electric vehicles using on-board trackers. Then, they put that information into a tool that lets you select a vehicle and see the battery degradation. Spoiler: It’s not much, especially when you look at newer vehicles with better battery management.
Geotab aslo wrote a summary of their findings, with tips for taking care of your battery based on the data they collected.
Tip: Electric vehicle batteries are covered by OEM warranties. Typically, they will be covered for 8 years or ~160,000 km (whichever comes first) and will be protected against a specific amount of degradation. For example, a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus has a warranty for 8 years or 160,000 km, whichever comes first, with minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity.
Do you have a favourite tool for living the electric life? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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