Mary Ann’s Electric Drive 2.0 Sets TransCanada Speed Record

Four days and 18.5 hours - the new record time in an electric car from coast to coast across the width of Canada - a 7,152 km (4,444 mile) journey on the TransCanada Highway - has just been set by two Canadian EV enthusiasts who love speed. Mary Ann would be proud!

Harvey Soicher from Vancouver and Kent Rathwell from Calgary took turns at the wheel as they zoomed across Canada from east to west, stopping nearly 40 times to charge their electric Audi e-tron SUV, named Mary Ann’s Electric Drive 2.0 in honor of Soicher's late wife.

Harvey and Mary Ann had planned to buy an electric vehicle and drive across Canada to visit the east coast once they retired, but Mary Ann lost her life to cancer before they could make the trip.

Both men are well known to Canada's EV community - Soicher for his 63-day cross-country EV journey, which he made in the Audi e-tron in 2019 to ease his grief over Mary Ann's passing, and Rathwell for his leadership of Sun Country Highway Ltd., the company responsible for Canada’s first coast-to-coast EV charging network.

In 2012, Sun Country Highway installed a series of free public electric vehicle charging stations along the main route of the TransCanada highway, enabling electric vehicle travel across its entire length. It became the longest electric-vehicle-ready highway in the world as of 2012. To publicize the accomplishment, Rathwell traveled the newly electrified route in a Tesla Roadster.

Soicher and Rathwell left St. John's, Newfoundland at 9:29 am on Monday, September 13 and pulled into a parking slot in front of Victoria, British Columbia's Mile 0 sign four days, 18.5 hours later on September 17 at 11:24 pm, a time that includes taking ferries and charging up the vehicle.

After chalking up the fastest TransCanada Highway time in the Audi e-tron with Soicher, Rathwell said on Facebook, "It is now possible to travel across America with any electric car, on non-Tesla networks, as quickly and even faster than with a gas car!"

Soicher said he undertook the adventure in part to show that electric-vehicle technology is more reliable and far ranging than ever. He believes that electric vehicles must be much more widely adopted to help curb climate change.

TRANSPORTATION DONE BY FOSSIL FUELS IS A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF CARBON EMISSIONS. THIS SUMMER, WITH ALL THE FIRES, PEOPLE ARE REALLY REALIZING THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE SOME CHANGES, QUICKLY.

Harvey Soicher

electric car owner, TransCanada Highway driver

"During the first drive in 2019 the charging infrastructure was very limited and a challenge to make it across the country," Soicher said. "Now two years later the route from coast to coast has conveniently located super-fast chargers that will charge my car in about 30 minutes."

Newfoundland and Labrador's new fast-charging station network was the last piece of the puzzle needed to complete the trip in record time. Before this, it would have been impossible to cross Canada's easternmost province in a reasonable amount of time and within legal speed limits.

Completed August 31, the fast-charging network includes 14 charging stations, located about every 70 km (43.4 miles) along the TransCanada Highway from St. John’s to Port aux Basques, with one location in Gros Morne National Park. This means the province and its many tourism destinations are now connected with the network of fast charging stations already established throughout Canada.

At each charging location in Newfoundland and Labrador, drivers can expect an efficient stop with the power to fast-charge their EVs to 80 percent in less than an hour.

Rathwell, who promotes himself as a "climate change disrupter" and a sustainability strategist and consultant, says he has a mission focused on global sustainability - to make a difference today and for future generations.

THE TYPICAL HOUSEHOLD SPENDS A LOT OF HARD-EARNED, AFTER-TAX MONEY ON TRANSPORTATION. OUR VISION IS FOCUSED ON HELPING THE AVERAGE PERSON KEEP MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS AND SPEND TIME WITH THEIR FAMILIES, WHILE FOSTERING A CULTURE OF ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Kent Rathwell

electric car owner, TransCanada Highway driver

For his part, Soicher has established a foundation in Mary Ann’s name to raise funds for her favorite charitable cause - research on Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders.

Soicher is hosting a wrap-up fundraiser on December 11 to present his cross-Canada record-setting trip and raise funds for Dr. Christopher Honey’s Functional Neurosurgery Fund with the Vancouver General Hospital and University British Columbia Hospital Foundation. He has already surpassed his fund-raising goal.