Charg­ers to give elec­tric car own­ers ‘con­fi­dence’

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON

The cost of the city’s plan to build a net­work of elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing sta­tions could be partly cov­ered by grants and fund­ing from sources other than tax­pay­ers.

But the 29 charg­ing sta­tions, to be built across the city next year, will serve a rel­a­tively small num­ber of driv­ers.

Last week, city coun­cil voted to spend $796,000 to in­stall 29 charg­ing sta­tions at mu­nic­i­pally owned fa­cil­i­ties around the city and com­mit­ted an­other $82,000 to pro­vide free ac­cess to 27 of the sta­tions for two years.

While elec­tric ve­hi­cles are be­com­ing more com­mon, they still rep­re­sent a tiny frac­tion of the total num­ber of ve­hi­cles on the road.

Ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics Canada, there are about 8.2 mil­lion pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles reg­is­tered in On­tario. Of those, only about 10,000 are elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

It is not known what the num­ber of elec­tric ve­hi­cles in Kingston is, only that it prob­a­bly mir­rors the pro­vin­cial sta­tis­tics.

“It is def­i­nitely rel­a­tively low. We’re talk­ing, maybe con­ser­va­tively, in the 100-to-200-ve­hi­cle range. We don’t know ex­actly, it could be a lit­tle more, but we know that it is a small frac­tion of cur­rent ve­hi­cles on the road to­day in Kingston,” said Pete Huigen­bos, direc­tor of real es­tate and en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives. The city’s charg­ing sta­tion plan is less about the elec­tric ve­hi­cles that are on the road to­day and more about in­creas­ing their num­bers in the fu­ture. In sup­port­ing the plan, many city coun­cil­lors pointed to re­cent an­nounce­ments from ma­jor car­mak­ers and coun­tries of their plans to phase out the man­u­fac­tur­ing and use of fos­sil fuel ve­hi­cles by the mid­dle of the cen­tury at the lat­est.

Trans­porta­tion is a ma­jor source of green­house gas emis­sions, and re­duc­ing those is a key ob­jec­tive of cli­mate change re­sponses at all lev­els of govern­ment.

“What we’re talk­ing about is what the city can do to con­tinue to sup­port the com­mu­nity’s in­vest­ment in elec­tric ve­hi­cles,” Huigen­bos said. “There con­tin­ues to be more and more in­vest­ment out there for elec­tric ve­hi­cles, and the city’s strat­egy is to help po­ten­tial pur­chasers to have con­fi­dence in know­ing that there is a net­work of charg­ing sta­tions in this com­mu­nity that will sup­port that pur­chase.”

In On­tario, elec­tric ve­hi­cle buy­ers can re­ceive thou­sands of dol­lars in in­cen­tives, de­pend­ing on the make and model of the ve­hi­cle.

The city’s 2015 com­mu­nity green­house gas emis­sions in­ven­tory showed that about one-third of the city’s green­house gas emis­sions come from fuel, and fos­sil fuel ac­counts for more than 40 per cent of the com­mu­nity’s en­ergy con­sump­tion.

For ev­ery 0.1 per cent de­crease in petroleum-fu­elled ve­hi­cle use, Kingston could see a de­crease of up to 400 tonnes of green­house gas emis­sions per year.

The On­tario govern­ment has com­mit­ted to have elec­tric ve­hi­cles ac­count for five per cent of all new ve­hi­cles pur­chased by 2020. If that goal is reached, Kingston could see a 1.5 per cent de­crease in the com­mu­nity’s green­house gas emis­sions, the equiv­a­lent of 20,000 tonnes.

The net­work is to in­clude two 450-volt Level 3 sta­tions, 25 220volt Level 2 sta­tions and two 120volt Level 1 charg­ing sta­tions to be in­stalled at park­ing lots, are­nas and other city-owned sites.

The plan is ex­pected to in­volve about 0.1 per cent of the park­ing spa­ces in the down­town. Which spots will be in­cluded is to be de­ter­mined by how prac­ti­cal it is to ser­vice them with elec­tric­ity.

Op­er­at­ing and main­tain­ing Level 1 and 2 charg­ers — ac­cess to which is to be pro­vided free of charge for two years — is es­ti­mated to cost about $60,000, and city staff ex­pect that after the first two years a fee would be in­tro­duced to help cover some of those ex­penses.

The Level 3 sta­tions would have fees of be­tween $10 and $15 per hour in ef­fect as soon as they opened, and Huigen­bos said those fees could help sub­si­dize the net­work’s cost.

POSTMEDIA NET­WORK

Elec­tric car charg­ers, sim­i­lar to the one seen here at Bud­weiser Gar­dens in London, will be pop­ping up in Kingston next year.

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