One of the most iconic drives in the world, the Alaska Highway, constructed during WW2 to link the US Mainland with Alaska, has become something of a pilgrimage route. The vast majority of people make the trip on RVs and head up north through Canada, into Alaska. We did it the other way round and all electric!
For us, the Alaska Highway started in Tok, 90 miles away from the border of US-Canada. Once you cross the border, you are in Yukon, a territory of rugged mountains and high plateaus and a lot of interesting wildlife as much of its territory remains unspoiled wilderness. You don’t have to go camping to the middle of the forest to see them.. you will encounter tons of wildlife right by the highway, particularly bears!
Although the Alaska Highway in Yukon enchanted us with its wildlife and vast wilderness, it also challenged our plans and imagination. To start with, the road is rough, with lots of uphill, it was rainy for a couple of days, and it was cold.. the range of the cars were a bit reduced. Secondly, we had planned our route based on some RV parks we saw along the way that had 50amp plugs that we can use to charge overnight. Unfortunately, after COVID, many of these RV parks couldn’t re-open, or they did but only with 30amp! Our cars do not have an adaptor to charge there… and we were still with our good friend and photographer Mateo Boffano who had a flight to get back home in 2 days from Whitehorse. Could we make it in time? Or could we even make it? Tension rose after the border…
We stopped at what seemed an abandoned RV park in Destruction Bay, in the middle of nowhere. There were some 30amp plugs out there… we needed to charge or we wouldn’t make it to the next town. To plug to the 30amp after some research, Martin found on YouTube you could do a “home-made” adaptor for the car. He is an engineer so he had some tools with him and after some hours he managed to make this adaptor. We just hoped for our cars not to blow up when we plugged them… and they didn’t!! It worked! It still charged pretty slowly, but better than nothing! We were thrilled. We ate, edit and wait for a good couple of hours for our cars to charge enough to make it until the next stop, Haines Junction. This mainly was how our days went by in this area. Stop, charge, find a place to rest and get warm, and keep going. We made it on time to Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon, for Mateo to catch his flight!
Arriving at Whitehorse was a relief as there are a couple of chargers in the city. The fastest one was at the “Yukon Transportation Museum”. And it was here that we discovered that people in Yukon are friendly and welcoming and that the government of Yukon is pushing really hard for electric vehicles (EV) to become mainstream in Whitehorse. After charging for free in Whitehorse, we still had a long stretch to Vancouver, through British Columbia, where we would depend on RV parks until we reached the Tesla Superchargers.
We had our first “bad experience” just before Watson lake, at the only RV park out there where we could charge. For some reason, the lady who owned the place assumed our cars consumed too much energy and she did not allow us to charge the amount we needed to keep going. She literally kicked us out. We had to come up with a Plan B, as we drove towards Muncho Lake where we knew there was a lodge – the Northern Rockies Lodge – which had EV chargers. A couple of miles before that lodge we found the natural Liard Hot Springs, there was an RV park there, and contrary to the experience of the previous day the owner was happy to have us and allowed us to charge for FREE, until we had enough range to keep going. Meanwhile, we went to relax at the Natural hot Springs, which are deep into the forest. In our walk here we even encountered a Moose ☺.
Important to highlight that most of the people we have met up to know have been super helpful and happy to have us! The bad experiences are by far the minority.
After relaxing at these natural hot springs we kept driving through the Rockies, this drive is mostly narrow and winding and there is no one nor nothing to be seen nearby. Our range was reaching its limit. We had exactly 1% to reach to the “Northern Rocky Lodge” which was supposedly two minutes ahead of us. Yet we still couldn’t see any sign of humans not to mention a lodge around, or even mobile signal! This was definitely one of the most extreme parts. But we got there, 8 pm, with 1% of battery. We plugged the cars and slept in the car by the beautiful Muncho lake. It was an extremely cold night, fortunately, the cars have a “get cozy” mode, in which it fakes a campfire on the screen and makes the car warm. Yes. It is true, it has that. That is why we prefer a car rather than a tent in the cold weather.
After our night here, we still have 650 miles (1050km) to go until we reached Prince George. One you get there, you complete the Alaska Highway and there are plenty of Tesla superchargers, so from here onwards it is easy. Yet we still had a long drive.
During those days we managed to charge our car in one more 30amp RV Park in Fort Nelson, just enough to make it to Fort St John where there was a hotel with a Tesla charger, this are called “Tesla Destination”, which they allow you to charge for free if you stay there. The next day, after a LONG drive, we made it to Prince George and the famous and miraculous supercharges.
And that is how the Electric Americas team survived the Alaska Highway.
While the journey promises pristine wilderness, plentiful wildlife, and a feeling of history and freedom in wide open spaces you should definitely plan ahead and go prepared. The things that saved our lives and allow us to complete our trip were:
A) the radios as there is no signal at almost all parts of the Alaska Highway except in Whitehorse probably. This allowed us to communicate with each other.
B) the annual Alaska Milepost (themilepost.com), which offers exhaustive, mile-by-mile coverage of the trip, with phone numbers of RV parks, motels, gas stations for those who need them, and more. This is KEY as again, there is no signal to check google maps of where the next RV park might be.
C) The adaptor Martin was able to make thanks to a YouTube video, Oli pushing his creativity and Mateo that had to reach Whitehorse in three days.
Thanks for reading us and feel free to reach out.
The Electric Americas Team