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Let me make a confession. Before this, I knew nothing at all about electric cars But because electric cars had been creating such a buzz, one sunny weekend in May I was curious enough to attempt a trip from Montreal to Quebec City without stopping to charge the battery. What follows is the tale of a fearless family and how much we enjoyed this magnificent, 100% electric machine.

I should tell you right away that until this I knew absolutely nothing about renting an electric car. But the buzz around this electric car had tickled my fancy, and so one sunny May weekend I found myself bravely taking the bull by the horns by undertaking the perilous Montreal–Quebec City journey without stopping to charge the battery along the way. This is the story of a little but doughty family and the fun they had with this small, 100%-electric miracle. We rented that electric car, a Chevrolet Bolt, at Discount Car and Truck Rentals, which features the province’s biggest selection of hybrid vehicles and electric cars.

I should point out too that Discount Car and Truck Rentals is in fact a pioneer in electric vehicle rentals. It was the first company to introduce hybrid rentals, and recently added electric cars to its fleet. Discount’s city customers were enthusiastic, and demand for hybrid and electric vehicles continues to increase.

The Chevrolet Bolt isn’t the whole story either—Discount Car and Truck Rentals rents other models of electric car too, including Ford's C-Max ENERGI SEL (hybrid) , the Chevrolet Volt (hybrid), the Chevrolet Spark (100% electric), and the BMW i3 (100% electric). So if you're in the mood to try something totally new, rent an electric car in Montreal or Quebec City!

It’s 8 a.m. and we’re ready to go. We haven’t even pulled out on the road yet and we’re already excited. The kids are singing and having fun, I hit the Start button, and time seems to stand still. We look at each other in anticipation as I put the car in drive. A millisecond later, we’re on our way in this futuristic vehicle. The 15-inch screen gives a detailed breakdown of my driving while the kids start connecting to the 4G LTE WiFi.

Besides the fact that I knew very little about electric cars, my biggest fear was running out of power and having to declare “game over” before we’d even gotten half way, with three passengers only too happy to say “I told you so.” Still, I had done my research and weighed the risk.

I had told myself that if we were going to do this, we would have to go all in. That’s the way I am. And I never turn down the chance for a road trip. Because how we used the electrical components would affect power consumption, I chose to play music rather than use the AC. For the next few hours, I kept an eye in real time on the data provided by my GPS and on my energy consumption data (distance remaining).

Two and a half hours later, we’d reached our destination—the Quebec City Aquarium. Mission accomplished. We then decided to continue our adventure on the same charge and head to Old Quebec for ice cream. This would give our car time to recharge for the drive home. I was astonished to see that even after 250 kilometres, we still had some juice left from the first charge. The car was telling us we could drive another 108 km!

For the drive home, we were ahead of the game. We planned to leave the aquarium at dinner time to head back to Montreal, when there would be less traffic. The Electric Circuit app made it fast and easy to find charging stations along the way. We decided to fill up on chicken at the St-Hubert in Portneuf.Two hours later we were back on the road with enough power left to get us to Montreal easily.

Now we can’t wait to do it again! It was an easy way to save $70 in gas and do our part to reduce the greenhouse effect in our cities.

Allow me to share a few helpful observations for anyone who, like me, is a complete novice when it comes to electric cars.

1– Never overestimate your range. Keep a constant eye on the distance remaining and plan recharging stops accordingly.

2 – Be aware that there are two generations of charging stations. The first generation only takes “Electronic Circuit” chip cards. Get a card at lecircuitelectrique.com/signup. Second-generation stations work with the Electric Circuit app on your smartphone. You’ll need to register first. You can use your membership card at Electric Circuit stations and stations in the Flo network. Technical support from CAA-Quebec is another member benefit. You can also pay tolls for the A25 bridge by transferring funds from your credit card to your Electric Circuit account. It’s best to start out with $10. It costs an average of $2.50 to recharge and there are no discounts for spending more.

3 – The car charges at a rate of about 10 kW an hour and uses between 12 and 15 kWh. Plan enough time to recharge so you don’t have to look for a station every 100 km. There are several stations on Montreal Island that will fully charge an electric car in a short amount of time.

4 – Using the AC or heat will affect your range by about 10%. The outside temperature and your driving style will also affect battery life. There is an onboard computer to help you strike the right balance between these variables and the distance remaining. Music lovers will be pleased to know that using the radio, router, or satellite radio will have a minimal affect on your battery.
5 – Because technology is constantly evolving, Hydro-Québec recently introduced fast-charge stations for its customers. To see a list of fast-charge stations on Electric Circuit, go to Find a station on the website and check “Only show fast DC stations.” Be aware that the hourly rate jumps to $10 but is billed by the minute.

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