A Canadian family was forced to ditch their electric truck after charging troubles forced them to finish their road trip in a gasoline truck.
Dalbir Bala, who installed an extended-range battery, regrets buying his electric truck after attempting a road trip, only to abandon it and finish the drive with a gas-powered rental vehicle.
Bala, who lives near Winnipeg, bought a Ford F-150 Lightning EV in January for $115,000 Canadian dollars (around $85,000 U.S. dollars), plus tax.
He wanted a clean energy vehicle and hoped to save some of the $1,000-$1,500 per month he’d been spending on fuel for his gas-powered truck. He uses pickup trucks for recreational purposes such as hunting, fishing, quadding, and visiting his cottage.
“Electric vehicle, new technology … I was impressed with it,” he said. “That made me buy this thing.”
Bala was quickly hit with the reality of owning and operating an EV soon after the purchase.
The vehicle compelled him to install two chargers – one at work and one at home – for $10,000. He had to upgrade his home’s electric panel for $6,000 to accommodate the charger. In all, Bala spent more than $130,000 – plus tax.
The limitations of the EV truck became apparent when Bala embarked on a chaotic 1,400-mile road trip to Chicago with his family.
With their first stop going smoothly, their problems began in Albertville, Minnesota, where he says he received a ‘faulty connection’ error message from the fast charger.
The family continued to Elk River, around 15 minutes away – and the charger there wouldn’t work either.
They headed to another charging station in nearby Elk River, Minn., but he said a charger there wouldn’t work either.
He and his family were then forced to bail on the vehicle in Minnesota on 27 July.
“It was really a nightmare frustration for us,” Bala told CBC News.
He said: “By now, it was late afternoon. We were really stuck, hungry, and heartbroken.”
Fast charging stations – which only charge EV’s up to 90% – cost more than gas for the same mileage. On the family’s first stop in Fargo, North Dakota, it took two hours and $56 to charge his vehicle from 10% to 90%.
The charge was good for another 215 miles.
Bala got his truck towed to a Ford dealership, and the family rented a gas-powered Toyota 4Runner to finish their trip to Chicago.
“People have to make the right choices. I want to tell everybody to read my story,” he said. “Do your research before even thinking about it and make a wiser choice.”
“The actual thing they promised is not even close. Not even 50%. And once you buy it, you’re stuck with it and you have to carry huge losses to get rid of that. And nobody is there to help you.”
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