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Exploring North America in an electric car

Exploring North America in an electric car: Story of a summer getaway

In summer, what could beat climbing behind the wheel and hitting the road to discover new landscapes? The freedom to stop whenever you like and set off again when you please—it doesn't get better than that! But is driving hundreds or maybe even thousands of kilometres outside Québec and even in the US with a 100% electric vehicle actually that easy?

But what’s it really like to go on a road trip in an electric vehicle?  

Our neighbors to the south have lots of different charging networks. Signing up for multiple subscriptions, learning about the different payment systems, finding compatible and available terminals . . . it’s all a bit nerve-wracking!

We figured that July would be the perfect time to take a road trip across the border to test the effectiveness of the Electric Circuit’s partner networks across North America. In our electric Mustang, we enjoyed a round trip of over 1,400 km from Montréal to New York City, with a side trip to Boston on the way back.

The verdict? A trip in an electric car outside Québec, including the US, is just as enjoyable as a trip in a gasoline-powered vehicle. It’s footloose, it’s flexible . . . and it’s definitely more economical!

One subscription, 100,000 charging stations at your fingertips

Electric Circuit members can set off on adventures with complete peace of mind. Why? Because thanks to our partner charging networks, their single subscription gives them access to over 100,000 charging stations in North America. They can enjoy the same experience they’re used to with us: find a terminal where they need it, plug in their car, start charging, and pay, all stress-free, thanks to the Electric Circuit app. No need to create new accounts or take out additional subscriptions. That’s a relief!

The other good thing about these partnerships between Electric Circuit and other networks is access to a wide range of charging stations, from 50- to 350-kW fast-charge stations to standard level 2 stations. So it’s easy to find the charging station best suited to your vehicle’s characteristics . . . and your current needs.

A bit of planning for a 100% enjoyable trip

The key to heading out with a tranquil mind and a light heart? Planning. With its trip planner, the Electric Circuit application is a must. Based on your route details, vehicle characteristics, including initial state of charge (SoC), weather conditions and even the number of people on board, it suggests an ideal itinerary, indicating all stops and the charging time required. For travel outside Québec, let’s just say we wouldn’t leave home without it!

Day 1: Montréal (Québec) – New York City (New York, USA)

Our journey began in Montréal, where we got behind the wheel of a fully charged Mustang Mach-E, giving us a range of 450 km. During the 600 km between us and our destination for the day, New York City, we passed no fewer than fifty fast-charge stations belonging to Electric Circuit’s partner networks.

We could have reached New York City with a single charge, but we were curious and excited to test the charging experience at the various partner networks in the United States! So we made a few stops just to try out the facilities of as many partners as possible.

Along the way, we charged the Mustang at three different networks: Shell Recharge’s Evolve NY, ChargePoint and FloEV Charging. Honestly? They were efficient. They were easy to use. As easy as if we were driving in Québec.

Stop 1:

Network: EvolveNY
            Address: Wade Rd Ext & Route 7, Colonie, NY, 12110, United States
            Station type: 150-kW fast-charge station
            Charge time: 41 min 56 s
            Charging cost: $31.13
            Energy delivered: 58.8 kWh
            SOC upon arrival: 26%
            SOC upon departure: 87%

Stop 2:

Network: ChargePoint
            Address: 375 NJ-17 Paramus, NJ, 07652, United States
            Station type: 62-kW fast-charge station
            Charge time: 9 min 46 s
            Charging cost: $22.13
            Energy delivered: 10.88 kWh
            SOC upon arrival: 39%
            SOC upon departure: 51%

We briefly plugged the car into a curbside station in the Flo network, to see whether the charging sequence would start smoothly with the Electric Circuit subscription. It went like clockwork! We had a little burst of Quebecois pride when we saw that the charge was working. Why? Because the Flo stations are made in Shawinigan. They’re well-established in Québec, and now they’ve crossed the border and can be found on the streets of New York City. A real homegrown success story!

Stop 3:

Network: Flo
            Address: 4 W 93rd St., New York City, NY, 10025, United States
            Station type: Level 2 curbside
            Charge time: 3 min 43 s
            Charging cost: $0.21
            Energy delivered: 0.3 kWh
            SOC upon arrival: 45%
            SOC upon departure: 45%

Our hotel in New York City was ideally located, just a few steps from the hustle and bustle of Times Square. We chose the Rockefeller Center parking lot because it has EVolve NY Level 2 charging stations that are compatible with our network thanks to an agreement with Shell Recharge. We didn’t end up having to use the Electric Circuit app or pay to charge: it was free with the parking. That’s one advantage to keep an eye out for on your next New York City getaway!

While the Mustang was charging, we took the opportunity to combine business with pleasure by soaking up the lively, vibrant atmosphere of the Big Apple.

Stop 4:

Network: EVolveNY
            Address: 55 W 48th St., New York City, NY, 10036, United States
            Station type: Level 2 station in the Rockefeller Center parking lot
            Charge time: Overnight
            Charging cost: $0 (offered by the parking lot)
            Energy delivered: 57 kWh
            SOC upon arrival: 43%
            SOC upon departure: 100%

Day 2: New York City (New York) – Boston (Massachusetts)

Well rested, we leisurely drove around New York City. The Mustang’s dashboard displayed a range of 475 km. We had plenty of room to manoeuvre: 360 km separated us from our destination: Boston. Since leaving Montréal, we had already successfully charged on three partner networks.

This was the perfect opportunity to see if a fourth partner was up to the task! So we headed for the town of Storrs, Connecticut, where we started a charging session at a SWTCH Level 2 station. And to no one’s surprise, everything went perfectly! It was very reassuring to see that we could count on every charging partner.

Stop 1:

Network: SWTCH
            Address: 10 S Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT, 06268, United States
            Station type: Level 2 station
            Charge time: Less than a minute, for testing only
            Charging cost: $0
            Energy delivered: 0 kWh
            SOC upon arrival: 46%
            SOC upon departure: 46%

We finally arrived in Boston around 6:30 pm. We’d made sure we booked a hotel with a ChargePoint Level 2 charging station, so we could charge our vehicle for our return to Montréal. It was really handy to be able to rely on infrastructure suited to our needs and not have to worry about the range of our electric vehicle.

Stop 2:

Network: ChargePoint
            Address: Lafayette Garage, 01 Lafayette Avenue, Boston, MA, 02111, United States
            Station type: Level 2 in the hotel parking lot
            Charge time: 12 h 47 min
            Charging cost: $28.76
            Energy delivered: 59.54 kWh
            SOC upon arrival: 20%
            SOC upon departure: 80%

Day 3: Boston (Massachusetts) – Montréal (Québec)

We decided to head home a little earlier than planned, so the Mustang was only 80% charged. The Electric Circuit app’s trip planner proved essential to planning our next charge stop before our departure. Confident and relaxed, we set off for Bedford, New Hampshire, where we used a ChargePoint charging station.

Stop 1:

Network: ChargePoint
            Address: S River Rd., Bedford, NH, 03110, United States
            Station type: 62-kW fast-charge station
            Charge time: 31 min 18 s
            Charging cost: $16.13
            Energy delivered: 25.08 kWh
            SOC upon arrival: 62%
            SOC upon departure: 88%

The return journey took us through the iconic White Mountains area, well known to Québec hikers. We even stopped off at the Moore generating station in New Hampshire. It’s one of the 13 generating stations that Hydro-Québec acquired from Great River Hydro in 2022. Feeling proud, we headed out again for the final leg to Montréal.

We refuelled in Stanstead, after driving 347 km. It was great to use one of our very own Electric Circuit stations! We even got a free Slushy from the Couche-Tard convenience store next door. That’s what being a member of Electric Circuit is all about: taking advantage of exclusive promotional offers from partner companies.

Stop 2:

Network: Electric Circuit
            Address: Chemin de Fairfax, Stanstead, QC J0B 3E0
            Station type: 100-kW fast-charge station
            Charge time: 28 min 59 s
            Charging cost: $11.71
            Energy delivered: 34 kWh
            SOC upon arrival: 24%
            SOC upon departure: 61%

Positive results all round

For the 1,400 km we travelled from Montréal to New York City and then from New York City to Montréal via Boston, the energy cost for our getaway was $110, including taxes and roaming charges, or $0.13 per kilometre. By comparison, the same trip in a gasoline-powered vehicle consuming 8 L/100 km would have cost $220 in gasoline, including the cost of filling up at the start, which is twice as expensive. Not to mention that some of our stops were optional, simply to try out a variety of charging stations; the actual cost would have been lower for a normal journey.

Taking a road trip to the USA in an electric vehicle is a truly exhilarating experience, much simpler than you might imagine. Not only is it more economical, it’s also more environmentally friendly. A trip that combines economy, ecology and magic—what more could you ask for?

Summary of our electric vehicle adventure (itinerary: Montréal – New York City – Boston – Montréal)

Car model: 2022 Mustang Mach-E AWD Extended range
Total distance covered: 1,406 km
Total energy consumed: 245.6 kWh
Average consumption: 17.46 kWh/100 km
Number of charges: 8 (including 2 standard overnight charges)
Total fast-charge time: 110.79 minutes
Average duration of each fast charge: 27 minutes
Total energy cost of trip: $110

A few tips before setting off on an electric vehicle getaway

  • Download the Electric Circuit app for smartphone or iPad.
  • Plan your trip using the mobile or web-based trip planner.
  • Whenever possible, choose hotels that make charging stations available to their guests. Some hotels even offer free charging to their guests.
  • In case the charging stations are busy, it’s a good idea to plan alternatives to the stops proposed by the planner. You’re sure to find other fast-charge stations closer than your vehicle’s remaining range.
  • We recommend not exceeding an SoC of 80% at fast-charge stations, since charging speed slows considerably above that percentage.
  • Use the right station power for your vehicle’s capacity and think of other EV drivers.
  • During your journey, the Electric Circuit app may display a banner containing information of interest.
  • Report any problems you see at a charging station using the mobile app.

The Electric Circuit team