Mapping the Great Lakes: Can you do an EV road trip around the five lakes?

Mapping the Great Lakes: Can you do an EV road trip around the five lakes?
August 22, 2022 Alex Hill

Love staring at a map and discovering something interesting? Then “Mapping the Great Lakes” is for you. It’s a monthly Great Lakes Now feature created by Alex B. Hill, a self-described “data nerd and anthropologist” who combines cartography, data, and analytics with storytelling and human experience. He’s the founder of DETROITography and authored “Detroit in 50 Maps,” a book published in 2021. Find all his Great Lakes Now work HERE.

The popularity of electric vehicles (EV) has continued to grow since the first electric Toyota Prius was mass produced in 1997.

Now there are new companies like Tesla dedicated to EV production as well as major shifts among traditional auto makers to ramp up EV production as seen with the GM Factory Zero launch. Yet, the infrastructure remains a hurdle:

Are there enough charging stations?

Can local electric grids handle the addition of multiple EVs charging?


The data used in this map come from Natural Resources Canada, which has pulled together both US and Canadian EV charging stations filterable by various criteria. Most EV charging stations are Level 2 or 240 volts (double your standard wall plug), but Level 3 is increasingly common in larger cities as well as areas that might not be served by very many EV charging stations.

As you can see, Montreal and Toronto in Ontario have the biggest clusters of EV charging stations in Canada, followed by Chicago and metro Detroit on the US side of the Great Lakes.

So, could you drive your EV on a roadtrip around the Great Lakes watershed?

Absolutely. And the optimal route is highlighted on the map.

As long as your EV has a 200-mile range, there should be no issue traveling between all of the Great Lakes’ coolest cities.

But the biggest hurdles will be the 75 miles between Thunder Bay and Nipigon in Ontario on the north shore of Lakes Superior as well as the 145-mile stretch between Wawa, Ontario and St. Saint Marie, Michigan.

Petro Canada has you covered along Lake Superior’s northern edge. There are fewer EV charging stations and most are Level 3.

Pro tip: It’s also a good idea to check the status of the EV charging stations before you go. Many often are offline for maintenance or only have a single plug working properly.

Let us know if you take an EV—Great Lakes Road trip. Tag us on Twitter: @GreatLakesNow.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Mapping the Great Lakes: Carrying Cargo

Mapping the Great Lakes: How old are our cities?


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