Ontario flicks the switch on vehicle charging stations – Canadian Government Executive

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July 13, 2016

Ontario flicks the switch on vehicle charging stations

Expanding charging infrastructure across the province will help address the "range anxiety" suffered by many electric vehicle drivers.

The local electric vehicle industry just got a boost from Ontario as the provincial government today unveiled plans to build nearly 500 electric vehicle charging stations in over 250 locations across the province.

The province has previously invested $20 million dollars under the Ontario Green Investment Fund in order to expand charging infrastructure across the province and address “range anxiety” a common concern of electric vehicle owners that find they have to drive for long distances before they can find a charging station.

Building a more robust network of public chargers across Ontario allows electric vehicle owners to plan longer trips knowing that charging stations are as readily available as gas stations. With the new network of stations, electric vehicle drivers will be able to travel confidently from Windsor to Ottawa or from Toronto to North Bay and within and around major urban centres, a press release from the province said.

The province is working with 24 public- and private-sector partners to create an unprecedented network of public charging electric vehicle stations in cities, along highways, at workplaces and at various public places across Ontario.

This includes over 200 Level 3 and nearly 300 Level 2 charging stations. The entire network will be in service by March 31, 2017.

“By investing in charging infrastructure that is fast, reliable and affordable, we are encouraging more Ontarians to purchase electric vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas pollution and keeping our air clean,” said Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s minister of transportation.

The announcement comes on the heels of a similar one made by the province of Quebec just last month.

Quick facts:

  • An interactive map of the EVCO network of stations will be easily accessible on Ontario 511. Station location data will also be posted on Ontario’s Open Data Catalogue to allow software developers and other interested parties to use the data in their mobile application or digital product development.
  • Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan is providing people and businesses with tools and incentives to accelerate the use of clean technology that exists today.
  • A shift to low- and zero-emission vehicles is vital to the fight against climate change and achieving Ontario’s greenhouse gas pollution reduction target of 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.
  • Green Investment Fund projects include more electric vehicle charging stations; energy retrofits for single-family homes and affordable housing; support for Indigenous communities, industry and small and medium-sized businesses, and helping local organizations fight climate change.
  • Greenhouse gases from cars account for more emissions than those from industries such as iron, steel, cement, and chemicals combined.
  • There are nearly 7,000 electric vehicles currently on the road in Ontario.

The program is also seen as a boost to the government’s green initiatives.

The $325-million Green Investment Fund, an initial investment in Ontario’s new five-year Climate Change Action Plan, is already strengthening the economy, creating good jobs and driving innovation while fighting climate change — a strong signal of what Ontarians can expect from the plan and proceeds from the province’s cap and trade program. These investments will help secure a healthy, clean and prosperous low-carbon future and transform the way we live, move, work and adapt to our environment while ensuring strong, sustainable communities.

“Transportation is one of the single biggest contributors to climate change,” according to Glen R. Murray, Ontario’s minister of environment and climate change. “Supporting more charging stations across the province will help to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by making it more convenient for drivers of electric vehicles to get around.”

Investing in climate action is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Although the technology has been around for decades, electric vehicles are still sort of a novelty. They account for less than one per cent of global sales. In Canada, some 21,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold since 2011.

The top-selling electric vehicle in the country is the Chevy Volt, followed by the Tesla Model S and the Nissan Leaf.

About this author

Nestor Arellano

Nestor is a Toronto-based journalist who specializes in writing about technology and business. He is the editor of Vanguard Magazine and the associate editor of IT in Canada and a regular contributor to CGE.

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