Returning to America



As I am nearing the end of my time in Canada, I’m getting the hang of crossing the border. When I first started regularly traveling to Canada, border crossings were often long, complicated, and slow. One of the best pieces of advice Randy had for me was to enroll in NEXUS. NEXUS is Canada’s version of Global Entry. It gives express access into Canada for people who are a part of the Trusted Traveler Program. Even if you travel to Canada every so often, Nexus pays dividends as it includes:

  • TSA Pre
  • Global Entry
  • Massive time savings at each border crossing.

As a bonus, it’s the cheapest of all the Trusted Traveler Programs and includes all the benefits. What’s the catch? You must complete an in-person interview inside Canada at one of the NEXUS offices.

Now, entering each country is a simple scan of a NEXUS card and letting the border agent know if we have anything to declare. Easy in; easy out!

Time in Canada is ending 🥲

I can’t underscore how much driving to Canada changed my perspective. I have flexibility. I didn’t have to worry about heading back to the States at a predetermined time, which is too familiar with air travel. After two weeks in Canada, Randy and I agreed there were adventures ahead for me on the trip. We had a fantastic time together exploring Whistler, working on motorcycles, and hanging out with multiple people around Vancouver.

Power at this charger was $0.20 US / kWh

I’d been across the US border several times this trip, but this departure was incredibly bittersweet. I had great unknown adventures ahead, but there’s always a tinge of longing when the long distance begins again in a long-distance relationship. That USA Border sign needed to highlight a place to visit. It meant I was going home.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to understand the charging landscape inside of Canada. All vendors, apps, and charting speeds are very different than in the United States. The good news is I had access to a conveniently located charger, and all the work was for naught. However, I wanted to ensure that my BC Hydro account did the job before leaving Canada. As with all things EV charging, it took a few bumps to get working, but with some finesse, my last few Canadian electrons slid into the truck.

As I return south, how cheap electricity is in Canada baffles me. Let’s compare rates!

As of this writing:

FeeBritish ColumbiaCalifornia
Grid Access Fee$4.50 / month$12 / month
Cost per kWh$0.06 – $0.10$0.28 – $0.59

British Columbia has extensive hydroelectric resources to generate electricity. Even the power company’s name, BC Hydro, highlights its hydroelectric resources. Electricity is plentiful and cheap throughout the province.

Charging at home in British Columbia is significantly cheaper than in California. The upcharge for that same electricity at a charging station in British Columbia brings it much more in line with what I paid on the northbound journey. BC Hydro is placing a premium on delivering electricity through charging stations. Reliability and availability in Canada are better, so hopefully, that money will be used well.

Pricing at charging stations in British Columbia is always per minute, as Measurement Canada hasn’t released guidance for how to charge per kilowatt hour. I initially thought, WTF -> we’ve been measuring power by kilowatt hours for over a century. On this trip, I realized that the cost per kilowatt hour is the cost to you. The time connected to the charger is the cost to everyone else.
In Canada, most chargers are slower fast chargers (< 100kw). In the United States, I ran across several fast, fast chargers (350kw). When these chargers are connected to slower charging cars, they block access to those needing it. Ultimately, the right solution is in the middle, where we charge per minute and per kilowatt.

As the infrastructure matures, charging stations that have chargers at different speeds would deny slower charging cars at faster chargers if a slower charger was available at that location.

With the Peace Arch in the rearview mirror, I’m really heading back to America and not just to receive packages for Canadians in Blaine.

I’m coming to America! Seattle here we go!



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