Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are creating a series of battery power down Highway 16 with new fast-charging stations being installed between Prince Rupert and Prince George, the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low-Carbon Innovation announced, on Aug. 5.
The installation of 16 charging sites will make it easier for people to charge up EVs and expand one of the country’s largest public charging circuits. B.C.’s network consists of more than 2,500 public charging stations, including 480 existing rapid-chargers at the end of 2020.
“Until now, owning an electric vehicle has been a challenge for rural Canadians, and this investment is another major step toward bringing clean, electric transportation to rural B.C. into reality,” Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine, said.
“Our government is charging ahead in expanding our electric vehicle fast-charging network. We are partnering with the federal government so more public fast-charging EV stations will be available along travel routes, making it easier for people to get around on B.C.’s highways and keep their EVs powered.”
Through the CleanBC program, these latest fast-chargers result from a partnership between Natural Resources Canada, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and BC Hydro.
Fast-chargers are classed as ‘level 3’ chargers, with ‘level 2 ’ machines charging at a slower rate. A full charge allows EV drivers to get approximately 250 kilometres worth of charge per hour. A vehicle can be charged in as little as 30 to 40 minutes on a level three.
The cost for the ministry-owned charging stations is currently free, but as of May 1, the charge to use a BC Hydro-owned Level three fast-charging station is approximately 21 cents a minute, which is $6 to $7 per 100 km of charging power. There are only two BC Hydro charging stations west of Prince George, with Prince Rupert being one and Burns Lake being the other location.
Having the ministry charging stations located along travel routes and in other high-traffic public places makes it more accessible for people to travel long distances and to save on fuel costs while spurring economic recovery in B.C.
“We are giving Canadians the greener options they want to get to where they need to go. This is how we get to net-zero by 2050,” Seamus O’Regan Jr., federal Minister of Natural Resources, said.
Increasingly, British Columbians are choosing electric vehicles as the main choice for transportation to save on fuel costs and reduce air pollution thus making B.C one of the highest uptakes rates of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV). More than 54,000 ZEVs were registered in the province by the end of December 2020.
With the province’s broader strategy to move towards 100 per cent ZEVs by 2040, the BC Public Light-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Study was released early this year to provide businesses, municipalities, and Indigenous governments with guidance on where to locate future charging sites. The report indicated that the infrastructure goals are well on their way, with more than 50 per cent of the public fast-charging stations already under construction and many completed plus in use.
The Government of Canada has made a mandatory target of 100 per cent ZEV sales by 2035 and has invested more than $1 billion to do so. In an effort to support this, EVs have become more affordable, with Canadians eligible for up to $5,000 of incentives to purchase. As well, charging infrastructure is more accessible by building coast-to-coast charging networks and making charging stations accessible to Canadians in more convenient locations.
“People in British Columbia are switching to clean electric vehicles in record numbers to reduce climate-harming pollution, save on fuel and maintenance costs and enjoy a cleaner, better technology,” George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, said. “Through CleanBC, we’re helping make EVs more affordable and more convenient to drive by significantly expanding fast-charging stations all across the province.”
The public charging stations are in the following locations:
100 1st Ave. East, Prince Rupert, two stations operated by BC Hydro, open now
276 City Centre, Kitimat, two stations operated by BC Hydro, planned to open fall 2021
4646 10 Ave., New Hazelton, two stations operated by BC Hydro, planned to open fall 2021
3743 Second Ave., Smithers, two stations operated by BC Hydro, planned to open fall 2021
3487 9th St., Houston, two stations operated by BC Hydro, planned to open fall 2021
111 Endako Ave., Fraser Lake, two stations operated by BC Hydro, planned to open fall 2021
Ryley Lane, Vanderhoof, two stations operated by BC Hydro, planned to open fall 2021
313 Hwy 16 W, Burns Lake, two stations operated by BC Hydro, open now
Stations not identified as open now may be affected by the construction process, and the location or opening of the station may change.
with files from Rod Link
K-J Millar | Journalist
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