VANCOUVER - A $1.3-million investment in direct current (DC) fast-charging infrastructure in 13 communities throughout the province continues to help electric vehicle owners plug in and get charged.
Environment Minister Terry Lake made this announcement in unveiling the future location of Vancouver's first DC fast-charging station at Telus World of Science today.
"It's extremely encouraging to see such widespread interest among communities across the province in hosting and operating electric vehicle charging stations, including DC fast chargers," said Lake. "Providing electric vehicle owners with more options to charge their vehicles will make electric vehicles an even more attractive option."
DC fast chargers require only 20 to 30 minutes for 80 per cent charge and are necessary to give electric vehicle owners the confidence to travel between communities. On the other hand, Level 2 charging stations (240 volt) require four to eight hours to reach full charge, which is usually adequate for commuters, but can hamper electric vehicle mobility between communities, especially for pure battery electric vehicle owners.
"More efficient charging stations make driving vehicles that use clean B.C. electricity a much easier choice," said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas. "B.C. families in communities throughout the province can now charge their electric vehicles more quickly and reduce their transportation energy costs."
The installation of these stations will also mark a significant milestone for B.C.'s Clean Energy Vehicle Program - completing the B.C. portion of the West Coast Green Highway, a commitment made by Premier Christy Clark under the Pacific Coast Collaborative (Washington State, Oregon, California and B.C.) to ensure electric vehicle fast charging is deployed along the Highway 99/I-5 Corridor. Electric vehicle owners will eventually be able to drive from San Diego, California all the way to Whistler knowing they can charge their vehicles along the way.
"BC Hydro is a proud supporter of British Columbia's efforts to expand electric vehicle charging points across the province," said Kip Morison, chief technology officer with BC Hydro. "The deployment of this infrastructure represents an important step in transitioning from single demonstration projects to a more comprehensive and accessible charging network."
The project is managed by BC Hydro with funding coming from the previously announced $14.3-million provincial Clean Energy Vehicle Program. BC Hydro will continue to own the DC fast chargers, while the participating communities provide access to municipal land to host and operate the stations.
"Fast chargers are key to enabling electric car owners to travel between communities and absolutely critical for the general adoption of electric transportation technology," said John Stonier of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association. "Fast chargers complement the provincial government's clean energy vehicle plug-in initiative and the Community Charging Infrastructure Fund. Together, they provide the foundation of electric vehicle infrastructure that will serve B.C. for decades to come."
"The Victoria LEAF Club is encouraged by today's announcement," said Manfred Wissemann, president of the club of Nissan LEAF owners. "The introduction of fast charging stations in B.C. will enable same day travel over long distances by electric vehicles."
The Clean Energy Vehicle Program includes the Community Charging Infrastructure Fund, the CEV for BC Point of Sale Incentive Program, upgrades to hydrogen fuelling infrastructure and LiveSmart rebate programs for residential charging infrastructure.
These programs have been well received across the province. Since Dec. 1, 2011, British Columbia businesses, residents and local governments have been able to access grants and rebates that have gone towards the installation of 562 public Level 2 charging stations, 90 residential Level 2 charging stations, 355 clean energy vehicles - and now 13 DC fast-charging stations.
"The New Car Dealers Association of BC applauds today's charging station announcement," said Blair Qualey, president and CEO of the association. "This new infrastructure program is a critical development and, when combined with the incentives available through the CEV for BC program, make buying and owning a clean energy vehicle in British Columbia an attractive and viable option for drivers."
The CEV for BC program provides B.C. residents with up to $5,000 off the pre-tax sticker price for qualifying new battery electric, fuel-cell electric, plug-in hybrid electric and compressed natural gas vehicles until March 31, 2013.
The following locations have been identified for deploying DC fast chargers (the exact site location within a community could change, should the outcome of the engineering/electrical assessments currently underway warrant an alternate location):
- Whistler - Conference Centre (4010 Whistler Way)
- Squamish - Stan Clarke Park (2nd Ave., across from Municipal Hall)
- Surrey - Surrey Museum (17710 - 56 Ave.)
- Township of Langley - Langley Events Centre (7888 - 200 St.)
- Saanich - Uptown Shopping Centre
- Merritt - Merritt Tourism/Visitor Info Booth (2202 Voght St.)
- Hope - Hope Visitor Centre (919 Water Ave., at the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 5)
- Cowichan Valley Regional District (Duncan) - Island Savings Centre (2687 James St.)
- Nanaimo - Bastion Square (94 Front St.) or Vancouver Island Conference Centre (Gordon St.)
- City of North Vancouver - Lower Lonsdale
- District of North Vancouver - District of North Vancouver Operations Centre (Crown St.)
- Vancouver - Telus World of Science (1455 Quebec St.)