Ice storm: the patience of electric car drivers put to the test

The latest ice storm is testing the patience of some electric car drivers, while others are using them ingeniously.

Ice storm: the patience of electric car drivers put to the test

The latest ice storm is testing the patience of some electric car drivers, while others are using them ingeniously.

Hugo Duchaine, Le Journal de Montreal

"I'm ready to sell it," says Diana Trujillo, with a sigh of discouragement.

This is the second time in just a few months that she has found herself running to the charging stations for her Tesla SUV, after also losing power for several days over Christmas.

"It's a nightmare," she lamented, as she waited her turn in front of a dozen charging stations in Boisbriand yesterday.

In line, too, aboard a Tesla, Kyril Maatouk did not mind waiting about fifteen minutes.

“My wife had to go to four gas stations to get gas,” he explains.

Until Monday

Many motorists will have to take their troubles patiently, since Hydro-Québec estimates that some could have electricity only on Sunday or even Monday.

At the end of the day on Friday, nearly 300,000 subscribers were still without power, mainly in Montreal, Laval, Montérégie and Outaouais, two days after the passage of the violent ice storm.

The strong winds complicated the task yesterday, but the good weather announced during the weekend will allow the teams to increase the pace according to Régis Tellier, vice-president of operations and maintenance at Hydro-Québec.

Around 1,400 employees work in the field.

Noiseless, odorless

If drivers struggled to recharge their electric car, others like Guy Bonhomme in Gatineau, used it to good effect.

The 41-year-old managed to keep his food cold for more than 24 hours after losing power, using his electric car as a generator.

"It's odorless, pollution-free and noiseless," rejoices Guy Bonhomme. I have several neighbors who have gas generators and it is deafening, even disturbing,” he adds.

Owner of a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, he purchased an inverter, a device that he can plug into his vehicle's battery.

Inverters work on both electric and gas-powered cars and provide power to other electrical devices.

Guy Bonhomme points out that he had access to 1500 watts with the inverter. A limited amount, but of which he only used a tiny part to keep his refrigerator and freezer functional.

When power returned to his home, he was able to recharge his car.

– With QMI Agency

Having an electric car means learning to travel differently and to plan your journeys well. And a power outage can mean a few headaches, especially when you're a journalist who needs to be able to get from point A to point B quickly.

Clara Loiseau, The Journal of Montreal

Because in an electric car, you have to calculate, before long journeys, the energy you will need to get there and back. You must check that there are charging stations at the destination, if possible fast charges, to avoid having to wait 8 hours to be at maximum capacity. And we must also take into account the weather conditions which can affect the autonomy.

So when my boss asked me to go to Châteauguay on Thursday at noon to cover the flooding caused by the power cuts, the first thing I said to myself was: "will I be able to come back home ? ".

Because with the outage that plunged my neighborhood in eastern Montreal into darkness Wednesday through Friday morning, the battery was far from fully charged.

Terminals... without current

Difficult in addition to counting on the public terminals which were also out of service or taken by storm by other badly taken electromobilists, like me. And impossible to walk to a terminal to fill a can of electricity either if I break down on the road (laughs).

It immediately reminded me of my first reports with my first electric car which had a range of 117 km in winter and where I sometimes had to recharge myself three times on fast terminals to succeed in reaching all my destinations.

My little car was transformed, as for many journalists, into an office by the time I finally reached the number of kilometers necessary to allow me to go home and find an available terminal next to the house.

Despite everything, it is clear that I do not regret driving an electric car, especially when you see the price of fuel and that petrol stations have also had to close due to lack of electricity.