The Vancouver city council has approved a new $10,000 annual fee for gas stations and commercial parking lots that don’t install EV chargers by January 2025. In order to comply with the new rule, gas stations will have to install at least one DC fast charger with a minimum charging speed of 50kW. Parking lots will need to install four Level 2 chargers in order to meet the guidelines. Lots with fewer than 60 parking spaces will be exempt from the new fees.
According to a city staff report supporting the initiative, it will cost about $135,000 for a gas station to install a DC fast charger. The report also estimates it will cost an average of $100,000 to install four Level 2 EV chargers. Once they are in compliance, the normal yearly business license fee will remain at $163 for parking lots and $263 for gas stations.
According to Drive Tesla Canada, there are currently 66 gas stations and 366 commercial parking lots across Vancouver that will be subject to the new rule. Only 2 of the gas stations currently have EV chargers available to motorists. The initiative will help the city reach its climate emergency action plan that is designed to cut emissions to 50% of 2007 levels and boost the number of electric vehicles on its streets.
The Vancouver Sun reports a survey of 12,000 residents of Vancouver in 2021 showed that a lack of charging infrastructure is inhibiting people from switching to an electric car. 40% of carbon emissions in the city are attributable to the transportation sector.
In a report to the city council, the city staff said, “There would be an incentive to invest in EV charging to avoid the higher annual license fees.” That report estimated it would take gas station and parking lot owners about 8 years to recoup their investment in EV charging equipment. Business owners cited lack of space, lack of available electricity supply, and limited demand for EV chargers as concerns.
Dr. Werner Antweiler, a professor at the UBC Sauder School of Business who studies electric vehicles, told the Vancouver Sun the price of charging stations isn’t likely to come down any time soon. He said that unlike batteries, where new technology is expected to bring the cost down over time, with chargers there is “no potential to make them cheaper other than maybe introducing greater scale.” Most of the costs, he said, are “installation and labor.”
Businesses would keep all the revenue generated from the charging stations, according to the city’s proposal, in addition to earning credits from the British Columbia Low Carbon Fuel Standard that will apply to the electricity used to power the chargers. Those credits will “greatly improve the business case” for EV charging, the staff advised the city council.
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