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Cars Hollyhock_Electric_Vehicle_Charging_Station

Published on March 21st, 2014 | by Roy L Hales

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Plug-in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure In BC

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March 21st, 2014 by  

Originally Published in the ECOreport.

Hollyhock_Electric_Vehicle_Charging_Station

Cortes Island is three ferry trips north of Vancouver. There are three hours of driving time. As you also spend a significant amount of time waiting, the trip can take six hours in peak season.   Some people think of Cortes as a throwback to the 1970‘s; others regard it as one of BC’s sustainable hubs. The major industry is tourism. There are around a thousand inhabitants, three hamlets and a number of non-profit organizations. There is also an EV charging station. I am told it has only been used once. This says a great deal about the extent of BC’s expanding EV infrastructure.

Thanks to the Clean Energy Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Program (CEV), there are more charging stations in BC (475) than any other Canadian Province.

BC also leads Canada in EV sales (177) per capita for 2013, though more vehicles were sold in Ontario (296) and Quebec (214).

To put this in perspective, Canada’s population (35 million) is slightly less than that of California (38 million) and seven times that of Norway (5 million). Yet there are 33,418 EV’s in California, 14,462 in Norway and only 4,059 in Canada.

Almost a quarter of Canada’s EV’s are in BC. According to a ministry spokesperson, 932 EVs were supported through the CEV program.  There are also an unknown number of vehicles that are either conversions or came from other jurisdictions.  He estimated the actual number of EV’s is probably 950 to 975.

The Western Orientation of Canada’s EV infrastructure is immediately apparent when you look at the charging station map below.

Charging Stations across Canada and the Northern US - Courtesy Plugshare.com

Charging Stations across Canada and the Northern US – Courtesy Plugshare.com

There are currently 13 DC fast charging stations between Duncan and Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, and Kamloops in the interior. The ministry spokesperson said 23 more will be added during the next 1-2 years.

Ironically, neither of the province’s two largest cities, Vancouver and Victoria, have one. In Vancouver’s case, this will soon be rectified.

After Mayor Gregor Robertson was elected, in 2008, he launched Vancouver on a campaign to become the greenest city in the world. Now there is reputedly a new tree, or composting container, or community garden, or LED streetlight on every block.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recognized the city’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Pilot Program by giving Vancouver the Transportation award for 2014.

Novex, No Noise Electric Delivery Truck, in Vacouver. Electric delivery vehicle parked next to the Hornby separated bike lane. The curb is designed for easy loading access. - Paul Kreuger photo (cc x 4.0)

Novex, No Noise Electric Delivery Truck, in Vacouver. Electric delivery vehicle parked next to the Hornby separated bike lane. The curb is designed for easy loading access. – Paul Kreuger photo (cc x 4.0)

“Our first goal in transportation is to have 51% of our residents walking, biking or taking transit safely and conveniently in the City of Vancouver. On the private vehicle side, our goal is to have 15% of new car purchases moved over to electric vehicles,” said Councillor Andrea Reimer.

Vancouver has the biggest municipal electric vehicle fleet in Canada, with 26 Mitsubishi i-MiEVS and one Nissan Leaf.

To help create an infrastructure, in 2008, the city’s bylaws were changed so that 20% of parking stalls in apartments and condos, and all stalls in houses, are electric vehicle ready. A similar provision, for 10% of all mixed use and commercial stalls, was added last year.

There are 50 charging stations in Vancouver and that number will soon be 67.

Greater Vancouver is the hub through which EVs can drive to most of Southern British Columbia.

A Nissan Leaf, operating on 81-mile-per-charge , could drive from Vancouver to Victoria. Travelling up the  east coast of Vancouver Island, it would have to use Level 2 charging stations – with extended waiting periods – north of Duncan. However, the a trail of  charging stations goes as far as North Coast Hostel in Port Hardy.

“As the DC fast charging network expands over this year and next, it will be possible for a Nissan Leaf to travel the full distance (without having extended waiting periods),” the ministry spokesperson said.

The same problem arises heading north or east. There is a trail of Level 2 charging stations stretching northwards from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast or, on another route, a Fast Charging station in Squamish (after which you are restricted to Level 2 stations).

Charging Stations in SouthWestern BC - Courtesy Plugshare,com

Charging Stations in SouthWestern BC – Courtesy Plugshare,com

Or you can drive eastwards, along the Sun Country Highway using a combination of Fast and slower Charging stations, as far as St Johns, Newfoundland.

Image at top of page: Big Green Island – Cortes Island, BC, via http://www.plugshare.com/- Hollyhock Electric Vehicle Charging Station – Courtesy Hollyhock

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About the Author

is the editor of the ECOreport (www.theecoreport.com), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America and writes for both Clean Techncia and PlanetSave. He is a research junkie who has written hundreds of articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.



  • Gwennedd

    I was amazed to find a charging station on the waterfront in Port Alberni! I was in fact also very happy to see it. There is another one that I saw in the portico of the Hospitality Inn on Redmond Street. I take this as a good sign that the government IS taking steps towards renewable energy and looking forward to welcoming electric vehicles in any town in BC. As a tourist heavy province, providing these stations is a smart move. Another selling point to place BC as a tourist destination. I just wish that Christie Clark would stop trying to sell fossil fuels instead of renewable energy. Much of coastal BC would do well with tidal and wind, but there is little incentive from our provincial government to invest in them. She needs to step up her game.

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