A step forward
More fast charging stations coming for electric vehicles in the Maritimes
Driving an electric car along Canada’s rugged East Coast is about to get a lot easier.
Electric utilities in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are moving ahead with plans to install more charging stations along major highways.
“It’s a good step forward,’’ said Wayne Groszko, renewable energy co-ordinator with the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre. “When they’re in place, people will be able to drive their electric cars farther. I see that as a good thing.’’
In Nova Scotia, the province’s electric utility announced Wednesday it will set up 12 more stations along the province’s 100-series highways, though the locations have yet to be determined. Nova Scotia Power Inc. says these stations will offer socalled fast-charging, which will dramatically reduce the time it takes to charge electric-only vehicles.
The average charge time for Level-3 fast-chargers is 15 to 30 minutes, whereas most of the 100 or so Level-2 chargers in Nova Scotia take from three to eight hours, and a regular household outlet can take 12 hours or more. (There are currently only two Level-3 chargers in the province — one in Halifax, the other in Truro.)
Nova Scotia Power says the new stations, which should be ready by next spring, will enable electric vehicle drivers to travel from Sydney to Yarmouth without worrying about where they can charge their batteries. Fast charging will cost $10 per hour, or $2.50 for a 15-minute session.
“Electric vehicles are the future and we want to help make Nova Scotia ready for that future,’’ Nova Scotia Power CEO Karen Hutt said in a statement.
New Brunswick’s NB Power announced a similar plan last month, committing to adding 10 Level-3 fast-charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway, from Edmundston to Aulac.
Currently, New Brunswick has more than 50 standard Level-2 chargers.
Prince Edward Island has about 30 Level-2 chargers, and Newfoundland and Labrador has about two dozen.
Groszko says the shift toward electric vehicles will eventually have a big impact on the environment. In Nova Scotia, drivers of fully electric vehicles typically produce 30 per cent less greenhouse gasses than those driving gasoline-powered vehicles. That number will improve as the province reduces its reliance on coal-fired generating plants, which currently produce about 50 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity.
“The savings will get better over time,’’ he said.
On a per capita basis, however, the Atlantic provinces are well behind Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia when it comes to charging stations and electric vehicle ownership, said Sanjeev Pushkarna, Nova Scotia