EV, an honest review
This weekend we were heading up to Whistler for their annual food and drink festival: Cornucopia. It occurs every year in between their seasons, as a way to bring visitors up to the mountains. A series of food and drink seminars, workshops, tastings, and dinners held at Whistler’s Convention Centre.
Equipped with the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge for the week, this would be our mode of transportation up and down the mountain.
I am aware electric vehicles are the future and renewable energy is something we all need to be working towards, but this is my honest and true account of having an electric vehicle for the week, and heavily relying on it for the weekend. As always, this is a first blush review, no research was done. I am not a professional driver or someone with a heavy knowledge of Volvo vehicles. I am just a regular woman and an every day driver giving you a account of what happen from my lens.
Truth be told, I am not a fan of electric vehicles only because the need to charge it, the time it takes, and the limited options to do so gives me anxiety. The ticking time bomb of juice is similar to the battery life on your cell phone. Once it hits red you are dead. So already I walked into this with apprehension.
As a forewarning: What is a mere 2 paragraphs of summarized work below, was hours of fussing, obsessing and fretting. The anxiety and headache were enough to have me looking for alternative transport. However, two of my EV owning friends encouraged me to try the ride, citing that there are enough super chargers around and that it shouldn’t be a problem getting to one. So, this is what followed.
In preparation for the drive up, I had taken into account the picking up of two friends; and thus, had to calculate whether or not the slow earned 54% battery life the C40 had at the start of the trip was enough to get me where I needed to be. Not only to go out of the way to chauffer them, but to get us all safely to Whistler after.
The kilometers to battery life are not listed on the vehicle dash, but a quick google online determined the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge to be good for 366km with a full battery life. And it had the ability to recharge the battery with every stop and restart. Within the city, this would have been most helpful, but breaking and stopping is not something I got to do a lot of while cruising up and down the sea to sky highway. But I did notice it was very helpful for fuel economy within my everyday Vancouver commute, ideal for anyone using the vehicle as a daily driver, grocery getter, or family wagon.
After an elongated back and forth, with plans to stop and charge briefly at a few stops, we threw all those plans out the window and hoped for the best. To be able to get to Squamish to charge there, while we had lunch.
After 2 failed attempts to charge due to a registered super charger actually being slow charging, and the other station out of service due to an error, we eventually plugged in and found a charger that actually worked. We weren’t registered for any of the chargers, but a quick scan of the QR code had us easily signed up for payment via credit card. The machine worked, but the app did not, so we walked away hoping for the best, but honestly anticipating that we would return barely scraping the barrel with juice. Thankfully we were pleasantly surprised and after 55 minutes of charging we drove away with 54% more battery life to the 34% we started with. This was more than enough to get us to Whistler and back, and at a minimum cost: under $15. Worth noting is that we thankfully we found an excuse to stop and pause. Otherwise, waiting in the car for the charge to fill would have seemed like an eternity, but more on that experience later.
As for the way the car handles, it drives heavily, and you feel like you have to push it forward with your body to propel. Similarly, it moves stiff on the curves of the Sea to Sky Highway, and I found it like driving a brick. A lack of agility that was further put to the test with the narrow parking stalls within our hotel’s parking lot.
When in close quarters the Volvo C40 sounds with a warning alarm, individual sounds depending on whether the obstacle is at the corner or the side of the vehicle. And as a result we were blared with a collection of beeps in loud warning, which left me as the driver second guessing my abilities, and outright stopping out of fear.
As for the sedan’s cosmetics, the ceiling is a pane of glass. It does not retract as a sunroof and cannot be shielded with a shutter. Something I have yet to see anywhere else. I found the car was kept colder as a result, which does ends up being a detriment to the vehicle as the cold drains the battery of an electric vehicle more. Although I was also told that the temperature within the cabin doesn’t affect the battery.
Within the cabin, the vehicle is outfitted with several Harmon Kardon speakers that engulf the front seats with surround sound. Said seats are firm with protruding lower back lumbar option. Thus making this another driver-friendly, comfortable long distance vehicle.
Original onto itself are the plastic geometric panels that line the doors and the dash in design. Dyed in a tonal black, they reflect and seem to glow in the dark. I found the visual cartoonish and that they reminded me of a topographical map depicting mountain elevations. Although this I was informed was made from recycled materials and meant to highlight the fact that the car is eco-conscious.
Other than that, I was happy that the car got us safely to Whistler and then back home to Vancouver 2 days later. We stayed at Whistler’s Pacific Rim Mountainside, just outside of the village gondola. The hotel is equipped with a view of the lightly white capped mountains at the distance and all the tobogganers taking advantage of what snow and ice they had in the forefront.
The hotel was a convenient 5-minute walk to Whistler’s convention centre, where all our scheduled activities were held. We were pleased to be “upgraded” to the 5th floor, although found out the suite was set up much like all the others on the floors below. The room is designed with entertaining in mind. A set up like a place to lounge around in with a fold-out murphy bed, full kitchen, dining room, and living room with gas fireplace.
We even had a balcony that overlooked the courtyard and heated outdoor pool of the adjacent hotel property. Our murphy bed was surprisingly very comfortable, I shared the queen with a friend, and we had plenty of sheets and sprawling room between us.
Our schedules in Whistler were packed so we weren’t in our rooms much. Therefore, we did not get a chance to take advantage of our own hotel’s outdoor pool and hot tub, or the gym. But did utilize the in-suite fridge and tea kettle for complimentary tea. And noted that the kitchen was fully equipped with dishes, pots, pans, cutlery and even toaster. There was also a coffee maker with liners, but I am more familiar with the pods.
In the bathroom there were Aveda brand hair and skin care products and plenty of hotel quality towels. The toilet and shower sounded loudly upon use, but I chalked it up to the age and eventual wear and tear. Overall, nothing out of the ordinary and the room offered a pleasant and comfortable stay as we ran around in Whistler for play.
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside
4320 Sundial Crescent, Whistler, BC V8E 1G6, Canada