It’s not unusual to see Teslas and other electric vehicles pulling off the highway into Hope.
After all, there are now more than 30 charging outlets in town, ranging from single and double outlets on city streets to large Superchargers stations.
The newest to come online were the 12 Tesla Superchargers at the Silver Creek Travel Centre, which have been operating for about a month.
The other big centre is the Tesla Supercharger station downtown near Dairy Queen, which has 10 outlets. The rest are spread around town in smaller lots with one or two outlets, including one outside the municipal hall, and two at the recreation centre.
Still, that hasn’t stopped a bit of local congestion when car clubs make their way to Hope to “fill up” for day trips. And a photo recently was shared on social media showing a long line of Teslas all down Fraser Avenue, waiting for their turn at a charger. Some said the line up was about two and a half hours long, and blocked some traffic from accessing local stores.
While the traffic jam was a reality, although somewhat rare, Rich Teer, president of the Tesla Owners Club of B.C., says it was taken on Canada Day. That was just prior to when the Silver Creek Travel Centre opened their Superchargers.
Claire Walker, general manager of the Silver Creek Travel Centre, said that they were happy to put in the V3 (250kw) Tesla Superchargers, partly to help alleviate traffic in the downtown.
“In the summertime, the ones in Hope can get pretty overwhelmed,” she said.
Teer’s Tesla club had a special meet up in Hope on Saturday to celebrate the new amenities. It’s a big deal for Tesla drivers, he said. Superchargers “fill up” a Tesla really quickly compared to a home outlet or other regular outlets available through providers like BC Hydro.
The Superchargers at Silver Creek offer up to 250kW, and the ones downtown offer 150kW, while other “destination chargers” such as in Chilliwack and Harrison Hot Springs offer up considerably less power, at only 13kW or 16kW.
“Hope is a very convenient place to stop,” Teer said, whether in an electric vehicle (EV) or a gasoline powered one. And for EV drivers who love road trips, or travel for work, knowing where to stop is essential.
“The mass majority of your charging you do at home,” Teer said, especially if you only drive short distances to work, stores and recreation.
“But for road trips, this is where Superchargers come in handy,” he added.
There are three levels of charging for EVs. Level one is the 120V socket on the wall at home, which “will do in a pinch,” he said. Level two are the 240V sockets that are available in homes and within communities, which can bring you from empty to full in eight hours.
Then there are the level three chargers, the Superchargers. Some of them offer up to 350kW and can fill an EV within 10 or 15 minutes. That’s a lot of driving, and there’s one on every highway leaving Hope, including in Sunshine Valley (Hwy. 3) , Coquihalla Lakes (Hwy. 5) and Boston Bar (Hwy. 1).
While the Tesla club was in town, several of the members took the time to explore places like Othello Tunnels and Kawkawa Lake.
Owning an EV changes the mindset of the car owner, Teer said. Part of that is finding things to do while your car charges up (which is charged to an online account). So rather than fill up and then running inside to pay, EV owners can plug in, and then take a walk around a town, sit at a cafe, or shop nearby.
Teer regularly stops over in Hope when he travels from his home in Kelowna to visit family in the Lower Mainland. He’s thrilled the community has embraced the chargers over the years, and only sees demand rising.
“My understanding is that B.C. actually has the highest per capita influx of EVs in Canada,” he said. The next thing he would like to see is more charging stations at hotels and shopping centres, making travel even more enjoyable as people learn to ditch their gas vehicles for electric.
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