George Heyman, B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, attends the launch of seven electric vehicle charging stations on Vancouver Island. The charging stations are part of a B.C.-wide charging network to reduce “range anxiety.” (Hugo Wong/Peninsula News Review)

New B.C. Hydro electric car chargers launch on Vancouver Island

Fast-chargers to reduce ‘range anxiety’ for B.C. electric car drivers

Seven new charging stations are now open on Vancouver Island, designed to reduce “range anxiety” for electric vehicle drivers.

At a Tuesday morning announcement in Sidney, Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said the $1.05 million federal investment in these charging stations would make electric and alternative fuel vehicles a viable travel option for B.C. residents.

“The difference that this will make for British Columbians, for our economy, and for our climate is tremendous,” added George Heyman, B.C. Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We’re focused on making clean transportation accessible and affordable for British Columbians.”

Heyman said transportation accounts for 39 per cent of B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions, and said the provincial government was focused on fostering affordable emissions-free transportation.

Natural Resources Canada invested $1.05 million, on top of a $700,000 provincial investment, to BC Hydro for these 21 fast charging stations in the first phase of the Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative.

Vancouver Island will have seven of these charging stations, located at

  • Nanaimo Superstore — Nanaimo
  • Qualicum Foods — Qualicum
  • No Frills Foods — Port Alberni
  • Pacific Rim Visitor Centre — Ucluelet
  • Courtenay Superstore — Courtenay
  • Campbell River Community Centre — Campbell River
  • Sidney Municipal Lot — Sidney

The federal government has pledged to spend $182.5 million across the country to improve Canada’s electric and alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure.

When asked about how the the Trudeau government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline meshed with their plan to reduce emissions, Sohi said the health of the economy and the environment “go hand in hand,” that the existing energy industry provided middle-class jobs. The pipeline was designed to reduce Canada’s dependency on the United States as a customer of fossil fuels and would provide the money for green initiatives.

The BC Hydro-branded charging stations will be free for now, because BC Hydro is a regulated utility, said Greg Simmons, project manager, electric vehicles with BC Hydro. Before they can charge customers money, a rate or tariff must be set and approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC). BCUC is currently looking at the issue, and when the inquiry finishes, BC Hydro will file an application to use those rates.

As a comparison, Hydro Quebec charges $12 per hour of charging and the City of Vancouver charges $18 an hour. Some municipal charging stations also charge 35 cents per kilowatt hour of charging.

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