What happens when a Globe and Mail writer decides to bring his readers along on his morning commute from Pickering to Toronto with a Ford C-Max Energi? We get an awesome peek at how it feels to sit in Toronto traffic and realize that you’re not guzzling gas. Because as it turns out, some of the benefits Dan Proudfoot saw with driving an EV was how he felt when he thought about the gas he wasn’t using and the lack of exhaust he was pumping out into the air.
“Fully charged, and fully gassed just before entering Highway 401 at Port Union Road, the commute to The Globe and Mail from the edge of Pickering begins at 8:24 a.m. I’m late already.
The Energi’s power impresses while accelerating through the on-ramp, but the corner introduces three quibbles: excessive leaning due to the car’s height and heft; my tendency to slide off the seat because of its lack of side bolstering; the realization these seats are really narrow.
You might be driving a street car the windshield is so big and far ahead of you. The view is panoramic. It’s great. Vision to the sides and rear also is extraordinary, easing the squeeze right as traffic density tightens with the approach of the DVP. It’s been 31 minutes just getting this far.
Now the radio traffic report warns of two lanes closed at the Bayview/Bloor exit. As though there’s any escape. Traffic is already choked. Shuffling to York Mills consumes another 10 minutes.…
…Surprise, surprise, momentum starts building at Eglinton, 13 creepy-crawly minutes following Lawrence. All lanes are clear at the Bayview/Bloor accident scene and suddenly it’s a sunny day at 90 km/h. Only eight minutes after passing the Bloor exit, I’m exiting the Gardiner for The Globe. I arrive at 9:47, having covered 36.5 km in an hour and 23 minutes.
And now 21 kilometres of gasoline-free fun is at hand. I’d intended to reserve all 33 km of the electric capacity for city-centre driving, by pushing the EV-later button when starting out. I forgot that turning the car off when stopping for gasoline negated the EV-later function – I needed to push the button again after the fill-up – and so my first 12 km on the 401 were in electric mode, depleting my intended reservoir for downtown.
You can’t tell which mode you’re in at highway speeds. But the car’s near-silence pulling away from The Globe is immensely appealing. The U-turn takes all four lanes, revealing one C-Max shortcoming as a city car, but in no time at all, I’ve arrived at The Gladstone Hotel for its all-day breakfast.
Heading east on Queen afterward, the Energi is a joy in traffic, satisfying in so many ways. An electric car cannonballs away from traffic lights. In stop-and-go driving, block after block on Adelaide, where normal cars guzzle fuel, there’s satisfaction knowing it’s consuming no gas and precious little electricity. Climbing the steep ramp up into the Eaton Centre parking garage, silently, fumelessly, is pleasing as well.
Downtown is more compact than I imagined – I’ve eaten on the west side, shopped in the middle, and driven across the Don River into the east-side, and still only totalled 13.6 km since stopping at The Globe.
The readout indicates 7 km of electric driving remaining as I enter the DVP for the drive home.
The DVP isn’t through with me yet. Northbound traffic comes to a standstill at Eglinton, and this time the shuffle continues all the way to York Mills, where a tractor trailer has mounted a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
Distance covered for the day, 96.1 km. Final fill-up, 5.3 litres, plus six hours of plug-in after arriving home. Some day this sort of fuel efficiency, and this 33-km electric capability, will be viewed as baby steps in the march toward green motoring.”
Interview with Toronto Hydro about how the city is planning on adapting to a growing number of EVs
Picture from: Caranddriver.com