Posted by Krystina Johnson on Aug 31, 2019
Rotarian and entrepreneur Krystina Johnson and her family recently took a return trip from Middleton, NS to Chilliwack BC – what an adventure! The fun part? The Johnson’s did so by spending just under $119 one way. With increasing focus on reducing our carbon foot print, there are many ways that we can conserve energy in our everyday lives. Read the full article to discover how Krystina and her family accomplished this great feat.

Rotarian and entrepreneur Krystina Johnson, husband Brent, son Matthew 5 and daughter Hailey 2, made a return trip, Middleton, Nova Scotia to Chilliwack, British Columbia, in July. Energy cost was just under $119 one way. The Johnson’s estimated flying cost for two adults and two children would have been around $4000 plus fees, taxes, and the cost of renting a car while visiting relatives and friends. Driving a 2015 Tesla Model S, the travel time, one way, was 12 days. The greatest challenge was locating places to charge the vehicle overnight and encountering damaged charging equipment (due to rain).

The couple took over a month to plan their route with the knowledge that charging stations are rare in the prairies; but, “Level 2” chargers may be found at some town halls, tourist destinations. The charging infrastructure is slated to be installed across the country at Petro Canada locations but ground has yet to be broken in some places. The biggest gap in service was between Sudbury, Ontario and Fort MacLeod in southern Alberta. Sometimes their only option was to call local RV campsites to locate locations in which they could charge their vehicle.

In April 2018, the Johnsons travelled with their young family from Chilliwack to Middleton in a van, bought a vintage property and set up business. Brent Johnson works as a Systems Administrator managing computers and servers online for the West Coast and Krystina is a professional photographer. Krystina became an active member of the Rotary Club of Middleton. The Johnsons have close ties to their families in Chilliwack and intend to spend a few weeks in British Columbia every summer. They reckon that by using an electric vehicle, which requires very little maintenance, costs are cut by 80% of those required to operate a traditional gasoline vehicle.

A super charger outlet will take an hour and a half and provide enough energy for approximately 350 kilometres in the type of car they have. A 50 amp outlet takes approximately 8 hours while a 30 amp outlet can take up to 24 hours. The closest dealerships with the most selection of electric vehicles are located in Quebec; in part due to exceptional provincial government incentives and grants of up to $8000 in addition to federal grants of $5000 on eligible “green” vehicles. Because electric vehicles require so little maintenance the Johnsons have purchased two from Quebec. They also own a 2013 Nissan Leaf which they use for their daily errands and appointments. 

Krystina and Brent are committed to reducing traditional energy consumption. This past spring they took advantage of Nova Scotia Energy’s rebate program. They installed 32 solar panels at a cost of $33,000 and with the rebate they paid approximately $20,000. The 32 solar panels provide most of the energy to run their two story century home and power their vehicles. They estimate that over the life of the panels (25-30 years) they will save $80,000 in electricity costs. When the family returned from their month long vacation, they had a healthy Nova Scotia Power credit waiting. The unused energy generated from the solar panels is sold back to Nova Scotia Power.