First by train, then vehicle and now electric car, Canadians have a new way to travel coast-to-coast.
When the Last Spike was driven into the Canadian Pacific Railway on Nov. 7, 1885, marking the first efficient way to travel coast-to-coast, it would have taken a Jules Verne-like imagination to predict that 127 years later you would be able to make the same trip in a personal vehicle run on electricity.
But that day is here, as evidenced by Kent Rathwell’s trip from the shores of Newfoundland to the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Victoria in his electric Tesla Roadster.
Rathwell drove the length of the Trans-Canada Highway, juicing his car along the way at charging stations installed across the country by his company, Sun Country Highway.
Rathwell stopped at one of those charging stations in Colwood just before Christmas. The station at the Royal Bay Bakery was installed in March. Bakery owner David Grove owns a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and had the station installed so that he and customers could “fuel up”.“The inspiration has come really from talking to EV owners across Canada,” Rathwell said during the local stop. “The way that you guys have spread the word has made it easy for us to get this done. It’s a pleasure being in Colwood, definitely one of the leading communities in the country and probably North America, for that matter.”
Rathwell left on his trip from St. John’s, Newfoundland on Nov. 17. He took his time, stopping in communities along the way to talk about his journey and, of course, to recharge the car.
The Tesla Roadster can travel 245 miles per charge, about 394 kilometres. A second electric car was towed in a trailer for the trip as a backup, but it was never necessary. Rathwell always managed to get to a charging station in time and the little car managed to make it through any weather thrown at it.
“Somebody needed to take it and get it done, it’s been waiting way too long,” Rathwell said.
“Why not have Canada become the leading country? We’re recognized in this country as caring people and with one of the most difficult climates and geographies to conquer and if we can do it here, we can do it anywhere.”
Fred Wissemann, Leaf Club president, welcomed Rathwell to the bakery, along with Mayor Carol Hamilton, Coun. Judith Cullington and electric car vehicle owners from the Victoria Leaf Club. The Leaf Club presented Rathwell with it’s newly created 2012 ECO Award in recognition of his accomplishment.
“People had the vision to put a railroad to connect the country,” Wissemann said. “And then they paved a road right across the country. And now we have a man that has a vision to do the same with electric cars. … He created the world’s longest green highway and we’re very happy and excited about his accomplishment.”