Uptown to host the city’s first high-voltage car charging station

B.C. Hydro has targeted Uptown for a fast-charging electric vehicle station, which is part of an emerging network of stations

B.C. Hydro has targeted Uptown for a fast-charging electric vehicle station, which is part of an emerging network of stations between California and Whistler.

The direct current fast-charger can “fuel up” an electric vehicle (EV) battery in less than an hour. It would be the first high-voltage station in the Capital Region and one of the first in Canada. Duncan and Nanaimo are also on B.C. Hydro’s list of 13 Island and Mainland communities designated for fast chargers.

Greater Victoria has a handful of Level 2 EV stations at major downtown hotels, parkades and a few retail outlets, such as Thrifty Foods on Quadra Street. Those mid-level stations might take four to eight hours to fully recharge a battery, and are typically aimed at those who need their EV topped-up while shopping.

B.C. Hydro has located the fast-chargers on public land, and which are leased to their respective municipalities, except for the Uptown station. In that case, B.C. Hydro will lease the station to Saanich, which in turn will lease the space from Uptown.

Alec Tsang, the senior technology strategist with B.C. Hydro, said locations were selected for their high visibility and heavy traffic load. While fast-chargers are now widespread in the U.S., these will be the first batch available for the public in Canada, he said.

B.C. Hydro has a March 31 deadline to have the chargers installed and operating. “That will be a very challenging timeline for sure,” Tsang remarked.

Rules for recouping costs for EV outlets has evolved over the past year. B.C. Hydro previously asserted that as the primary power utility in B.C., it was the only entity that could legally sell electricity.

Tsang said the Crown corporation dug into the details of its regulatory regime and found that municipalities are exempt – they can provide and sell electricity without being a registered utility.

He expects Saanich will charge a fee for juicing up a car at Uptown, and B.C. Hydro will include that infrastructure as part of the station.

“We recommend that they do charge. They will probably want to cover the cost of electricity,” Tsang said. “It makes sense to charge. We want to set this up as a pilot and as a business, because nothing is free.”

B.C. Hydro is allocating $100,000 for each of the 13 fast-chargers, drawn from the $14.3 million provincial Clean Energy Vehicle Program.

Within Greater Victoria, Colwood has led the way with Level 2 EV outlets, with four altogether in the municipality, including two at its city hall. Another six are planned this year – two at Royal Roads University, two at the Juan de Fuca library and two at a nearby park-and-ride lot. Victoria has a few charging stations in city parkades, with seven total due this year.

Charging stations in Colwood and at most downtown locations remain free. Colwood Coun. Judith Cullington, who was the driving force to bring EV stations to Colwood, said the cost of electricity to charge a vehicle is so low, there is little incentive to install a system to recoup money.

“Part of the challenge is that people assume charging a car is as expensive as filling it up with gas,” said Cullington, who drives a Nissan Leaf. “To charge it for an hour is a few cents. The cost to me is about $10 per month. There is very little cost to actual charging.”

Cullington said so far, charging stations in Colwood aren’t widely used, but there are relatively few EV cars on the road. People who use the stations tend to be from out of town, she said – Colwood EV owners charge their cars at home.

But as EV cars become more affordable and more common – the province has a subsidy program – drivers need to be confident they won’t be faced with long distances without a charge.

The 13 fast-charging stations will be B.C.’s input to a series of high-voltage stations along the Highway 99-I5 corridor from California to Whistler, optimistically dubbed the “West Coast Green Highway.”

The expectation is that EV owners will be able to drive from the California-Mexico border to Metro Vancouver without worry of being stranded in a gap without a charging station.

“It’s fabulous the province is adding fast-charging. The idea is to enable EVs to extend their range as far as they need to,” Cullington said.

For a list of charging stations in Greater Victoria (and elsewhere), see plugshare.com.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

file
Oak Bay resident bilked $3,300 in puppy scam

Three cases of fraud reported in two days

Sidney’s Star Cinema has temporarily closed as part of efforts to COVID-19. (Black Press Media File).
Sidney’s Star Cinema temporarily goes dark

Closure reflects provincial health order in effect until Dec. 7

Victoria police are asking for help locating Jordan Doddridge who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VicPD seek help locating man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Jordan Doddridge has an extensive criminal history including violent offences

(Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria dine and dash brings $230 fine

Group paid the bill, police locate suspect who violated provincial restrictions, mistreated staff

SD62 says parents of kids who have problems with bus stops and pick up times should reach out to their transportation department to find a solution. This comes after a Grade 10 student attending EMCS in Sooke found out he had to walk 45 minutes to get to the nearest bus pickup. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus route mishap leaves EMCS student walking 45 mins to pickup spot

Sooke School District willing to work with family to find solution

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Most Read