It has become common knowledge and increasingly discussed that one of the key weaknesses in the electric vehicle transition, and the EV charging market in particular, is lack of easy home charging for people who don’t have a garage. Getting overnight EV charging access to the countless people who live in multi-family dwelling units or other places without a garage and without convenient charging where they normally park is seen as a critical next step in the EV charging world. For more on the topic, check out the following CleanTechnica Industry webinar:
You can also listen to my recent talk with ChargePoint Senior Vice President Bill Loewenthal on this matter (and others):
Québec leaders have decided to do something about this issue. They will be getting 4,500 more EV charging stations up in their province in the next 7 years (I know, could be faster) in areas where people live without garages.
In particular, “The Electric Circuit, in partnership with Québec’s municipalities, will be rolling out 4,500 standard charging stations by 2028, to meet the needs of electric vehicle drivers who do not have access to home charging,” Hydro-Québec writes. Wait, so what does Hydro-Québec have to do with this? Well, it is also involved via some rather large subsidies. “To support this important initiative, a grant program is being offered exclusively to municipalities, through which Hydro-Québec is providing financial assistance of up to $12,000 per standard charging station.” (That would be $12,000 Canadian dollars, which is $9,930 USD — no small dogecoin or two.)
The funding isn’t just going out to anyone who wants a charging station. As indicated above, it is dedicated to locations where people don’t have easy home charging. “Charging stations must meet one of the following charging needs:
- Overnight charging in neighborhoods where electric vehicle owners do not have access to private outdoor outlets
- Daytime charging downtown and near shops.
“In addition, the municipality must allow access to the curbside station 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and offer free parking in front of the curbside station from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.”
Those are quite aggressive standards, but that is what’s needed in order to ensure that these stations can truly help “garage orphans” go electric.
Grant applications, including all supportive documents, must be in by August 31, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.
“Transportation electrification is central to both reducing GHG emissions and transforming our economy. Our government has ambitious goals for Québec and this important announcement about the roll-out of electric vehicle charging stations is yet another indication of our commitment to the energy transition,” says Jonatan Julien, Québec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.
“This is great news for Québec’s cities and municipalities! Making it possible for residents who rent, and even some homeowners, to charge their vehicles when the option is otherwise not available to them will help us meet our goal of increasing the number of electric vehicles in Québec, so that, collectively, we can drastically reduce GHGs in Québec,” adds Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change.
The Electric Circuit currently offers EV drivers charging on 3,100 public charging stations, 466 of which are fast-charging stations. In addition, the Electric Circuit card gives people access to a couple of other charging networks — the FLO network and New Brunswick’s eCharge network.
This is some great, admirable leadership from all relevant parties. This sort of EV charging infrastructure is desperately needed in cities and suburbs across the United States and Canada. Other cities, provinces, states, and utilities should take note and look to follow the same policy or a slightly modified one that improves on the details.
You can certainly live with an EV without home charging in many situations. I owned electric vehicles (BMW i3 REx and Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus) for almost 3 years in Florida without home charging, and that worked out quite alright for me. I especially liked that I paid $0 for charging in that time. My work situation was more flexible than most, though, and there are many free electric vehicle chargers in my area. In fact, I can’t thinking of a single public charger in the vicinity that isn’t free. Nonetheless, different places will have different amenities, and different people have different needs. They all need to go electric. And nothing beats the convenience of easy home charging.
Lastly, sooner or later, residents will be demanding this kind of infrastructure. Better to get ahead of those demands and be seen as a leader rather than a laggard on this important 21st century topic.
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