[upbeat music playing] [Charlsie] Marketplace is going electric. A light that came on that said, “Check electric vehicle system.” And I started thinking, like, “Well, the whole car is electric. What is that?” [Charlsie] Hitting the road and testing the range. Battery’s all topped up. Let’s see how far we can get.
Are EVs right for you? We’ve got a lineup of cars waiting for a charge. Or will the challenges of charging change your mind? “Please unplug.” Like, this is ridiculous. Are you happy with how fast we’re moving? Consumers are not. I want us to move faster, of course.
[Charlsie] This is your Marketplace. ♪ We’re in an electric car on the way to Ottawa. It’s fast, sleek, and with all the latest tech. But inside the cabin, the anxiety is real. So there’s another warning. “Stay below 105 km/h to reach destination.”
Range, the distance you can travel on a single charge, is a big deal for EV drivers. And you tell us your cars are sometimes coming up short. The mileage in the winter drops quite substantially. He drives slow, and we can’t turn on the heat
Because then our miles will disappear like that. [Charlsie] EVs are here. And eventually, we’re all expected to make the switch. With the Feds doubling down on their plan to see all new car and truck sales be zero emission by 2035.
So we’re taking on range, charging and repairs to see if we’re on track for an all-electric future. Let’s start with range. We’re taking a winter road trip to see how far we can travel on a single charge.
Range is central to the automaker’s pitch, and the number is based on standard testing that combines simulated city and highway driving. But there’s no specific range info for cold. For our test, we picked the most affordable model
from the biggest name in EVs, the Tesla Model 3. Fully charged, our car’s range today is 425 kilometres. Okay, so let’s punch in our destination. And we pick a route. This Tesla Supercharger in Pickering, Ontario, to the CBC building in Ottawa.
That 410 kilometres distance is within our range. Okay, battery’s all topped up, let’s see how far we can get. Right off the bat, we’re told we’re not going to make it. But just minutes later, things change. So there’s a warning on the screen already
Saying, “Stay below 100 km/h to reach the destination.” But on a highway, really? So we keep going to see what happens. While our Tesla rolls along, let’s shift gears to our second test. Charging. We’re checking on fast charging stations
from leading brands, Flo, ChargePoint, Ivy and Petro Canada, visiting three for each. But first, we visit Tesla’s network. Experts say it’s the largest and one of the best. There’s no issue with the charging station. It’s all good. [Charlsie] But even this network
has its moments. So what are the chances that we are here today? There’s a technician here from Tesla that’s working on a couple of the pumps. So he’s saying they’re not actually broken, but in order to diagnose the problem, he has to shut them off.
So you can’t charge while he’s working on them. We’ve got a lineup here of cars waiting for a charge. So there are four cars now in line that have showed up waiting for a charge since we’ve got here. Out-of-service chargers are a common complaint,
so we want to see if the ones we visit actually work and if we come across any other problems along the way. It’s charging up. We only visit locations the companies say are working. At this Flo location. Oh, here it goes. So it’s working. It’s working.
We’re charging. And at this Ivy machine. We are charging. Did you hear a click? But not every visit goes smoothly. Like, am I doing something wrong, though? It takes multiple fails with Petro Canada’s app. Okay, we’re in. Like, what am I doing wrong? Okay, go.
Before we try a different machine using a credit card. And then success. [whispers] Seriously? [laughs] But we’re not so lucky at this ChargePoint location. Come on. No, nothing. The app won’t start the charging session. It is not going. Marianne Abella and her family
know all about charging challenges. They experienced them while taking their week-old Nissan Leaf on its first road trip. So we were really excited. My daughter was very excited to sleep in a tent for the first time ever. Still new to the world of EVs,
she and her husband Google a route that includes fast chargers. We thought, “Okay, there’s one, there’s one, there’s one. And what could go wrong?” [Charlsie] Like most EV drivers, they typically charge at home with a level two charger. It’s cheap, but takes hours.
On the go, level three, or fast charging, will top you up quickly. -Problem is… -The fast charger was disabled. [Charlsie] They can’t find one that’s working. We try to connect our vehicle to it, and there’s an error message. [Charlsie] After four stops, they’re desperate for a charge
and make a tough call at a slow charger. So I said to my husband, we’re going to have to sleep in the car because it’s going to take seven hours to charge it. [Charlsie] Marianne and her daughter head to a hotel.
It took us all day trying to find a charger and then finally giving up on a night of camping to stay in a hotel room, you know, the kind of hotel where people either live there or can, you know, pay by the hour. I can’t imagine with a young daughter
That this is, like, an ideal situation. Yeah, it really wasn’t, and so… it was clear that we weren’t going to get anywhere. [Charlsie] Back with our charging test. This Ivy machine works. Charging. Okay. This Petro Canada station looks promising, too.
But it gives out before the session actually starts. We share our results with George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association. If you’re deploying electric charging infrastructure, it should be to match the convenience and ease… Okay. …of the gasoline -“charging” infrastructure. -Sure.
Overall, we visit 12 locations. At seven, we have challenges with charging, including two locations where we can’t charge. You should be very far away from finding any failures. -Okay. -I mean, we expect, you know, if you’re placing a cell phone call or filling up with gasoline,
You expect, I don’t know, 99.9-plus reliability. [Charlsie] Now, when it comes to cost, prices are all over the map. Some say per minute, some say per hour, and the energy output can differ, too. But only one location we visit bills
by something called the kilowatt hour. That’s the charging equivalent of by the litre for gas powered cars. Experts and many EV drivers agree, saying this should be the standard across the board. It ensures you’re paying for the energy you get,
not the time it takes to charge. To get a better sense of what you’re paying for when you charge, we do a price check across the four companies to get a kilowatt hour comparison. So we’re going to charge this car for 20 minutes
And see how much charge we get when we’re done. We started our charge at 20 per cent battery. Let’s see where we get. We do the math for the locations we visit. At ChargePoint, it’s about $0.25 per kilowatt hour at Flo, $0.42.
At both Ivy and Petro Canada, it’s $0.50 per kilowatt hour. Our final bills range from $5.20 to $10.09. The brands don’t always set the prices, but you could be paying up to twice as much
for the same charge, depending on where you go. We share our findings with all four companies. ChargePoint says they have fixed some of the issues we’ve raised and independent owners set the prices. Flo adds it’s often the same at their stations, too,
and their machines work more than 98 per cent of the time. Ivy says they’re one of the first to adopt kilowatt hour pricing, and they’re committed to improving their processes. And Petro Canada says they’re working to meet the needs of customers
And they provide pricing that’s competitive in each province. Back with our cold weather range test. We’re just about halfway through our trip, but here’s the thing. Our car is telling us we don’t have enough range left in order to travel the distance we still need to go.
But we’re not giving up just yet. Running out of road. I’m really nervous that we’re not going to make it. When we come back, we ask who exactly is taking charge? We visited 12 locations. We had challenges charging at seven. It’s still an emerging sector,
So of course there’s going to be wrinkles. Get more Marketplace. Sign up for our weekly newsletter at cbc.ca/marketplace. [Charlsie] This is your marketplace. We’re going electric. Looking at the cars in your future and challenges you’re facing today. With range…
You can see now the car is telling us that we actually will get to where we’re going with two per cent battery. And charging. It took us all day trying to find a charger. [Charlsie] We’re driving to Ottawa, to see
how far we can get on a single charge when it’s cold. Okay, so this just popped up on our screen. It’s a battery low warning. It says, “There will be significantly less energy available from your battery if it gets colder, we recommend charging now.” So we are not going to make it.
We only have 77 kilometres of range left on the vehicle, and we have 129 kilometres left to go on our trip. We are not going to get to Ottawa. Not a surprise to George Iny, who doesn’t buy the range estimates promoted by automakers.
We would like to see something called effective range that would bear in mind the technical limitations of the batteries, and the reality that what you really care about is highway range and not a combined range. He and other experts are also calling
for more transparency when it comes to winter driving. Well, a cold weather range would be helpful, but extreme cold, say -20 standardized with a test cycle that would consider the loss of range because the batteries can’t… -Sure. -…function optimally and also because you’re heating the cabin.
[Charlsie] Batteries don’t perform as well in cold weather. Research has found range can be cut nearly in half. Tesla also warns that cold weather can increase energy consumption. So we end our range test here, about 70 per cent of the way.
When we share our range test results with Tesla, they provide no comment. Once again, charging up to head home doesn’t work out so well. So we’ve just attempted to charge the car twice and both times it has failed. Charging failed. That’s the third time it’s failed.
We hit a Tesla Supercharger to get us back on the road. Now it’s time to tackle electric vehicle repair. I don’t get an update unless I go in and ask. [Charlsie] Meet Chad Barnes. In September 2022, he’s on his way to work
when he gets a warning from his Hyundai IONIQ. A light that came on that said, “Check electric vehicle system.” And I started thinking, like, “Well, the whole car is electric. So what is that?” [Charlsie] After work, he heads to the dealership.
They can’t figure it out, and his car has to stay. So I went home for the weekend and didn’t hear anything back until probably about the middle of the next week. And they called me and told me that Hyundai Hi Tech said, “Yeah, you need a new battery.” A new battery?
A new battery. The battery is basically the lifeblood of the vehicle. -The battery is the car. -Fast forward… we are over a year later. -Where are things at? -About the same. Uh, so I contact the dealership regularly, and they just keep giving me a new date
As to when it’s supposed to be here. So what is happening? To me, it seems like nothing. -With the car sitting there. -The car is sitting, yeah. [Charlsie] They give him a rental, but still, it costs him. Like, I’m putting gas into it because the rental I got
Is, like, a gas powered car. [Charlsie] Hold on. You have an EV so that you can save money on gas. It’s been in the shop for over a year. And you’ve been paying for gas that entire time? Yes. Is that at your own expense? That’s my own expense. So just to be clear,
You have been in contact regularly with the dealership, but you have reached out to Hyundai Canada. Have they given you an official response about what’s happening? No. -Nothing? -Nothing. Like, they did tell me to– that I should speak to the dealership. I don’t envy the manufacturers.
[Charlsie] Mechanic Emily Chung says the supply of parts is just one of the repair issues causing headaches for EV owners. I know that they have issues with their supply chain, and I think it goes to the whole issue -of supply and demand, right? -Right.
You don’t have a lot of these parts. You don’t have a lot of them built in the aftermarket either. [Charlsie] Her biggest concern, she says, automakers aren’t sharing enough information. What’s really challenging about it is that every manufacturer can do it differently. There’s no, like, standardized,
“Here’s how we’re going to design this EV.” Oftentimes right now, we don’t have a lot of information in terms of how the system operates, or, you know, what the information I’m actually looking for, available to us. [Charlsie] She’s not the only one sounding the alarm.
There’s a bill calling for more access before the House of Commons. Number one, we won’t know how to fix it. Number two, we also won’t be able to train our technicians to fix them. So if you don’t have that many providers, your cost is naturally going to go up.
So the consumer is going to have to pay more. 100 per cent. And does it seem fair that you should have to take your EV to a dealership? I will ask you this, I’m a licensed technician. Is it fair that I take my vehicle, that I’m a licensed technician to another shop
For another licensed technician to fix? To me that’s incredible that I need to do that. [Charlsie] We reach out to two industry groups that represent the manufacturers. Both the Global Automakers of Canada and the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association say
there’s a voluntary agreement in place for sharing information and mechanics have what they need to make repairs. Back with Chad. We’re at the Hyundai dealership for an update on his car. Chad, you just walked inside. Tell me what the latest is.
The latest is the battery has arrived and they’ve installed it in the car. -You have a battery? -I have a battery. [Charlsie] But he can’t take his car home just yet. So now they’re waiting for that to come in, a new coolant warmer. Do you even want this car back?
I’m not confident I want the car back. I want to make sure the car is 100 per cent. [Charlsie] And those gas receipts from his rentals. I’m going to hold on to them and at some point, I’m hoping somebody’s going to compensate me for them.
Like, I bought the electric car for a reason and, you know, I spent 15 months putting gas into another one. [Charlsie] We reach out to Hyundai Canada about Chad’s case. They referenced supply chain issues, but acknowledged Chad should have received a new battery sooner.
And they’re working to ensure he’s satisfied with next steps, including covering his gas expenses. Are we putting the proverbial cart before the horse here? Do we need to have the infrastructure in place before we can all be driving these cars? You would need public charging at a reasonable price,
Widely available, and with 2035 technology, not today’s. The charging infrastructure is currently a weak link if you want 100 per cent adoption. [Charlsie] The Feds want us all driving EVs. But is there a realistic plan to get us there? It’s time for us to ask
environment minister, Steven Guilbeault. So we visited 12 locations. We had challenges charging at seven. We have to work hand-in-hand with provinces and territories and/or companies, utilities, deploying charging stations to ensure that not only do we have charging stations, but that they are working.
But do you think that’s really working right now based on the problems that we encountered and what other people are reporting? Your sample is a very small one. But there are problems. There are problems and we’re working to address those problems. But what does that say about
How well the system is working for Canadians? By and large, EV users are very, very happy. It’s still an emerging sector, so of course there’s going to be wrinkles and things we need to ensure are done better. [Charlsie] And when it comes to pricing… Why not have one consistent way of billing
So that people can compare prices and also have some transparency? Well, I think transparency is key, certainly. And– and those– those systems are known. And hopefully, and I think it is possible, we will end up agreeing that we should all use the same system across the country. Using a kilowatt per hour system
Would be the best and most efficient system. [Charlsie] We also asked him about adding cold weather range information so consumers can make a more informed choice. And I’m sure you would agree that cold weather impacts these cars. It’s widely accepted. The impact on the battery,
The impact of the cold, is much less now than it was four years ago. There’s still an impact. Absolutely. Okay, why not then help everyone out? Post a cold weather range on the vehicles with those EnerGuide stickers when people are car shopping. Wouldn’t that help people make a more informed choice? Um…
Not something– First time I hear about this. I would certainly talk to the minister and ministry responsible to get their views on– on the feasibility, and what would be the advantages of doing that. But are you happy with how fast we’re moving? Because consumers are not. We’re–
I want us to move faster, of course. [Charlsie] We’ll be keeping our eyes on the road ahead, too. ♪ [no audio]
Charging. Repairs. Range. We’re putting EVs to the test, revealing an unreliable and unregulated landscape despite the plan to go electric by 2035. CBC Marketplace hit the road with electric cars — a Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 — testing challenges such as charging infrastructure and range. And we hear from experts who say electric vehicle manufacturers should be providing customers with cold-weather range data and sharing more information for independent mechanics to make repairs.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news
#ElectricCars #EVs #CBCMarketplace
1:51 – Testing range (part one)
3:10 – Testing charging and price
11:17 – Testing range (part two)
13:24 – Testing repairs
18:26 – Speaking with Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault
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FIRST BROADCAST January 26, 2024
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