Seeing the electric vehicles Ontario has on the road nowadays is increasingly common. After all, it’s a zero-emissions method to get around the country, and who doesn’t want that positive tick on their moral compass?
In 2022, 5.5% of all new vehicle sales in Ontario were fully electric, and the cumulative number continues to rise. New EVs in Canada have a driving range that seldom drops below 300 km and sometimes can exceed 500 km.
Just like drivers of gas-powered vehicles, Canadian EV owners are hitting the road and enjoying some of the best day trips Ontario offers. So if you’re looking for electric vehicles in Ontario to make your road trips a bit greener, prepare for all the ins and outs involved in prepping.
It’s safe to say we’ve got you covered!
Things to Consider for Your Canada EV Road Trip
EV road-tripping is not without its challenges. From planning your route to charging restrictions, here are a few things to consider before enjoying your Ontario weekend getaway.
Electric Car Battery Limitations
Fast-charging infrastructure remains sporadic and sometimes unreliable across the province, especially in rural areas where the allure of scenic routes and small-town settings is strong. So it’s ideal to know your car battery and how far it can get you.
If you’re planning a cross-country trip, it’s best to plan your stops according to major cities that offer fast charging stations. A few apps can help you identify charging spots across the country, such as PlugShare.
Planning Your Road Trip With an EV Canada Rental
For EV drivers, planning a day trip route can require more planning than it would if you were powered by petrol. From the battery limitations to identifying charging stations, try to link your destinations to the charging opportunities.
Alternatively, you can opt to plan a day trip route that doesn’t require finding a charging station. Instead of building a route that includes stops for charging, you can consider an approach that gets you to all the spots on one fully charged battery.
This is how we went about our day trip. You could call it a one-charge EV day trip challenge.
Should You Rent or Buy an EV in Canada?
We don’t own an E-car, but we frequently get to drive EVs for a week at a time to conduct a review and contribute to our blog posts. While some cheap electric cars are on the market, they are still a lot more expensive than petrol-based vehicles.
If you’re visiting Ontario for an extended vacation, renting an EV in Ontario is much more affordable and makes way more sense. However, if it’s a permanent move, the increase in electric cars in Canada is making the prospect of buying a vehicle far more affordable.
Our Electric Vehicle of Choice | KIA EV6 GT
Of all the Canada electric vehicles for your day trip, we highly recommend grabbing the 2023 Kia EV6 GT.
With an output of 576 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque, plus a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.5 seconds, it’s the perfect option for a zippy day trip. Just note it’s a super popular EV, so if you plan on renting, you’ll want to book this vehicle well in advance.
The higher output of the EV6 GT meant that it offered a range of 332 km, which is notably less than other variations of the EV6. The EV6 can get you up to 499 km, depending on the trim level.
But there can be a lot to see and do in a drive of 300 km or more, so the Kia EV6 GT is an excellent option for a fun day trip throughout Ontario.
Our Best Ontario Day Trip Using Electric Cars
There are loads of fantastic road trips from Toronto that, offer plenty to see and do while keeping within the EV6 GT’s range limits. From our home in Ajax, we opted to head north and east for a trek into the Kawarthas but with no specific route planned.
Here’s a sneak peek into our journey and what you can expect to see during your EVs Canada day trip.
1. Ajax to Oshawa
Our first stop occurred south of Scugog at a popular country store called White Feather (roughly 30 km). It’s a genuine country store offering everything from stellar food and comfortable furnishings to trendy fashion.
We’ll level with you. The real reason we stopped was to grab one of the amazing Apple fritters they make on-site. Another great alternative is their cherry and maple glazed fritters.
To top things off, no Ontario EV trip to White Feather would be complete without taking a picture beside their instantly recognizable Rooster truck!
2. Oshawa to Port Perry
About 15 minutes (11 km) north of White Feather is the picturesque town of Port Perry, located on the bottom edge of Lake Scugog. Its quaint main street is filled with unique shops, restaurants, and baked goods.
Port Perry is a popular weekend day trip destination for people from Toronto and the surrounding areas. Port Perry is the birthplace of Daniel David Palmer, the founder of Chiropractic medicine, for one, it just has that small-town feel everyone loves.
It’s also where they filmed the 2004 movie Welcome to Mooseport, starring Ray Romano, Gene Hackman, and Maura Tierney. From having a taster at the Old Flame Brewing Co. to exploring the Port Perry Marina, it’s bound to be a memorable stop during your E-vehicle adventure.
3. Port Perry to Lindsay
From Port Perry, we aimed northeast for our next stop, which was the Town of Lindsay (roughly 43 km away). This quaint community of about 22,000 offers a variety of experiences, including theatre, festivals, historic sites, museums, artisan studios, and streets lined with locally owned shops, galleries, and restaurants.
You can taste the town just about anywhere you look, whether soaking up some history at the Olde Gaol Museum or strolling through the downtown area. If you’re a sucker for the sweeter things in life, a must-try is the butter tarts at The Sweet Kitchen along Kent Street.
Fun Fact: Back in 2012, over 9,300 residents came together to shoot what was, at the time, the world’s largest lip dub. The video is shot in one long, continuous take with no cuts or edits. Their 10-minute Lindsay Lip-Dub video can still be found on Vimeo.
4. Lindsay to Sturgeon Lake
From Lindsay, we headed northeast, skirting along the shoreline of Sturgeon Lake (roughly 22 km away). Here, we took a road to a boat launch, which offered mesmerizing views of the still lake and lush greenery.
We could have enjoyed the view longer than we did, but this was a day trip with a purpose, so onward we went!
5. Sturgeon Lake to Bobcaygeon
You’ll find the small community of Bobcaygeon, where Sturgeon Lake connects to Pigeon Lake (roughly 13 km away). We opted to get out and spend some time exploring this quaint village between two lakes, and we weren’t disappointed, that’s for sure.
Bobcaygeon is a village seen by many as the hub of the Kawarthas, given its popularity as a destination for visitors, cottagers, and boaters. The 32-lock Trent-Severn Waterway, which connects Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay over a 386 km span, also runs through Bobcaygeon.
Many of the locks on the waterway are manually operated, including the one in Bobcaygeon, and it’s a blissful stop just watching the cranks turn to fill the lock and get boats through.
Also, Bobcaygeon is where you’ll find the Kawartha Dairy, one of the most beloved businesses in the region and home to some delicious ice cream. For most visitors, a trip to Bobcaygeon must include a stop for some Kawartha Dairy ice cream; we can’t help but agree.
While you can easily spend hours eating ice cream and admiring the tranquil beauty of the town, there’s far more to see. One such amazing place is the sculpture shop Peace of Earth, offering a fantastic range of pots, bowls, cups, and much more. You can even book a class with the owner Sheila Brenchley if you have the time.
You can make the whole Bobcargeon experience even better with a lunch at The Original Just for the Halibut Taphouse and Grill. Not only does it have a quirky name, but its burgers and beers are simply divine.
6. Bobcaygeon to Omemee
We decided that Bobcaygeon would be the Apex of the day trip route, so we aimed south for a drive along the western shoreline of Pigeon Lake. Along the way, one stops you can’t miss is the village of Omemee, about 35 km from Bobcaygeon.
This small community of about 1500 people along the Trans-Canada highway could easily be bypassed, but it has one notable claim to fame. While not born here, Omemee was the childhood home of legendary Canadian musician Neil Young for several years in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
So if you’re a sucker for all things music, a tour of Neil Young’s childhood home is always on the cards.
7. Omemee to Bethany
Continuing south from Omemee on the way through Bethany Hills toward the small community of Bethany (20 km away), we happened upon the first thing on this electric car Ontario day trip that was completely unexpected.
The Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden, located on Ski Hill Road, sits on 535 acres of land. The garden has been under construction since 2011, but Due to COVID, full completion of the garden has been delayed until the end of 2023.
We weren’t allowed to get past the construction gate, but based on what we could see and the information found online, this promises to be a beautiful and tranquil place of reflection and meditation.
8. Bethany to Ajax
Aside from a traditional photo stop at one of the many nearby wind turbines, it was mostly a direct line back home from there. It might be a bit cliché, but I’ve never been able to resist the urge to take a few snaps of an EV in front of these sources of renewable energy generation.
Alternate Road Trips for Electric Vehicles in Canada’s Ontario
While our route was stunning, you may want something different. So, here are some longer road trips your electric Canada vehicle can muster.
Toronto to Prince Edward County
It’s roughly a 205 km (127-mile) drive from Toronto to Prince Edward County. Throughout the trip, you can admire the breathtaking scenery of Lake Ontario, and once you reach the destination, there are loads of little towns to explore.
From exploring the streets of Picton to wandering through the county’s fantastic wineries, you’re in store for a real treat. The fun city of Kingston, Canada’s original capital, is also just a further hour’s drive away.
Top Tip: Spend the night in Picton and use the charging station on 55 King Street for the next day’s adventures.
Toronto to the Bruce Peninsula
How about venturing up north to admire the awe-inspiring beauty of Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay? The Bruce Peninsula is only 255 km (158 miles) from Toronto, so it’s the perfect distance for your EV to travel.
There are also 50 EV charging stations in Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, which you’ll find near hotels, campgrounds, and shops.
Toronto to Niagara Falls
Enjoy the 128 km (80-mile) drive to Niagara Falls if you’re looking for a romantic Ontario getaway, For one, you do not often see so much water falling in one spot. Secondly, you don’t need to charge your EV when in Niagara, although there are plenty of spots to do so if you want to be safe.
Concluding Our Time Using Electric Cars in Ontario for a Day Trip
Ultimately, our one-charge day trip took about five and a half hours, with us driving just under 240 km (150 miles). Time constraints kept us from starting earlier or staying out later, which is unfortunate, as we easily could have added another 80 km (50 miles) and made it home with energy to spare.
Despite not stretching the drive to the EVs limits, we came home having experienced a lot throughout our drive. We planned the trip perfectly so that pesky anxiety-inducing feeling of if we’ll make it home never even crossed our mind.
If you’re looking to rack up around 500 km (310 miles) worth of driving, there are other EV models out there. But for the purpose of a short and sweet day trip from Toronto, we found the Kia EV6 GT a fantastic option.
If you’re ready for an epic all-electric car road trip and want to share your adventure, please leave a comment here. We’d love to hear about where you managed to go on a single charge. We intend to do this again with more EVs to show how possible it is to explore Ontario in an eco-friendly way.