Thursday, 8 February 2018

A Movie Moment

These things only happen in movies, right? Again, I've been surprised by North American people, sometimes these things happen in real life.

When you have kids, things get lost. My daughter's school is teaching the kids to read through a plush toy called Rocket which got lost while it was in our care.  So, we did what we could to replace it.  First, there was shopping online, Rocket is popular, but everyone is out of stock. Then there was trying to look on eBay and other second-hand options.  There are very very few plush toy Rockets available.  Those that are available seem to know its a rare item and want to charge up to $80 for a well looked after Rocket.

My wife decided to try the publisher, what better way to find out who might have then to ask the source.  it turned out she was actually emailing the Author, Tad Hills.  His response surprised us, we actually got an email back, directly from him.  He was immediately helpful and suggested that the manufacturer had a single Rocket left for us and that they would give it to us as a gift! Then they shipped it to us at their cost all the way from California, that is 3500kms away from us.  (The thing that made me chuckle was that it took almost two weeks to get here, the joys of the classic postal system.  If you buy something online from a US retailer the courier will get it to you within a week.  It was great because we appreciated the sense of how far it had to travel.)

No-one could believe how generous the writer, Tad Hills, was, I've never known a writer to actually respond let alone help with one of the plush toys.  If for some reason Tad Hills reads this, thank you. It was unexpected, that is always the nicest. You don't expect to be given something by a total stranger, I can't remember it happening before.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

How long you need to wait before becoming Canadian

It is interesting to read that this reduction in the period you need to be in Canada is only being implemented now.  I remember that during our application process in 2015 I was already being told that I would only have to wait three years.  I also remember being told that I would be required to be in the country for something like half of the year as well.

According to this story on CTV News it is only being introduced as of 11 October 2017 and the 183 days in a year requirement is falling away. This is obviously great news for those with PR cards for three years or less!

If you want to see more of it on the government website you can go here, but personally, I find the Canadian Government websites quite hard to navigate.

One down, two to go.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

We're All Electric Now

We took the plunge and went all electric, I almost can't believe that we have purchased a fully electric vehicle. To be more specific, we got a Nisan Leaf. Ask the journalists and even the car manufacturers about electric vehicles in Canada and they all say the demand isn't there because of the low temperatures in winter, it decreases your range, and because of the large distances needed to travel here. However, when I started the electric car search I couldn't find much stock! The e-Golf was about to be launched (deliveries still need to start) and they have already fulfilled the whole of their 2018 allocation in pre-orders. With the 2018 Nissan Leaf coming out I thought everyone would be holding off on buying the last of the 2017 stock, but I could only find 3 Nissan Leaf's available in whole of the GTA (one of those was in Oakville). I bought the car new, but with the dealer incentives and the $14,000 Ontario rebate on electric cars, it made the price quite attractive, around $25,000.

So why did we ignore the journalists and the car manufacturers and jump right in? Well, I was planning on buying a plug-in hybrid, you get the electric drive, but you have the normal engine to take you all the way to wherever you want. However, when looking at those options two things jumped out at me. Firstly the electric range is ridiculously low, maybe 30 km's, secondly the battery is shoved into the boot of the normal petrol version. So you end up with a petrol car with no boot space. With two kids that was not an option.
Truth be told, my wife was the braver one. She pointed out that we have not yet taken a long trip in Canada after living here for a year and a bit. She pointed out if we really needed to take a long trip that really required a petrol car we could rent one. If we do that once a year we would still be saving money. (At the moment I'm using some of the free charging points wherever I can, so nice to get "gas" for free!)
My main motivation is the low cost to power the vehicle. The low night time electricity rates here in Toronto are 6.5 cents per kWh which means to fully charge the car (it's an SL with a 30kWh battery) will cost $1.95 (this is according to my own logic, please point out in the comments if I've made a mistake in the calculation of multiplying the cost of a kWh with the size of the battery). On a full charge I can go at least 150 km's (more like 190km's), that means driving 600 kms will cost me less than $8. Compare that to a full tank of gas which always cost me at least $40 and I went maximum 400 km's with, then that is a massive saving each time I need to use the car.

What are my thoughts now that we are fully electric? I'm thoroughly enjoying it. There is no range anxiety, I don't charge every day because there is no need. I take advantage of the free charging provided in various locations (there is even one at my office if I can remember to put the cable back in the car). I haven't taken a long trip yet, but I figure I can at least go to a level 3 charger and have lunch and my car will be fully charged in under an hour. I can get to Niagara without charging and I can get to lake Simcoe by charging once. That's quite a few places I can explore in the meantime. Happy travels!

Now if you want to get your own Electric Car here are some websites to help you.

Firstly this is a list of the electric cars available in Canada, I was quite surprised to learn the Europe just has so much more of a selection of electric cars.  As you can see the selection in North America is quite small, at the time of writing this the Renault cars are not available here and VW was starting to launch the e-Golf for the first time as their first EV in Canada.  The VW e-Up is not available.

Secondly, you want to know how much of a rebate your electric vehicle is eligible for?  Well, have a look at this website giving the exact details of what car is eligible for what amount in the Ontario Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.  You don't need to worry about applying for the deduction yourself, the dealer deducts it in the quote and you don't have to pay it first.  Those problems all belong to the dealer, so the only money you need to find is the final amount minus rebate and dealer discounts.

PS: If you want to test drive a few different brand electric cars in one place check out Plug n Drive's Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre at 1126 Finch Ave West in Toronto.  You can see more about what vehicles are available on their website.