With the local economy re-opening from pandemic lockdown, more people are going to be going more places. For people with an electric vehicle (EV) going out can be tough if you’re not sure if there’s a charging station nearby if you need one, which is one reason why the Federal government is contributing $100,000 for a total of $320,000 in combined funding with the City for 20 new charging stations in Guelph.
“We’re looking at pledging to be carbon neutral by 2050, and electric vehicles are a big part of reaching carbon neutrality,” said Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield in the announcement on Zoom Thursday morning. “We’re looking at one-quarter of Canada’s greenhouse emissions coming from vehicles, so I’m delighted today that I can announce the Government of Canada’s contributing $100,000 to help the installation of 20 EV connectors right here in Guelph.”
The money is part of $300 million that the Federal government has put side for the Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure program with the intention of improving the Canada-wide network of EV charging stations. The $100,000 from the Federal government, will be combined with $220,000 from the City’s Parking Infrastructure Fund.
“This is money that was set aside at the time of the application process,” said Bryan Ho-Yan, the manager of Energy and Climate Change at the City of Guelph. “To be eligible for this application, we had to demonstrate commitment.”
“I’m an owner of a electric vehicle myself so I’m looking forward to maybe starting that trend of getting more electric vehicles happening across the city,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie, who took part in Thursday’s announcement. “I think green infrastructure investments like this are the type of thing that fits well in Guelph, and it keeps our community moving forward. This is a pretty big moment, so I’ll be looking forward to putting the shovel in the ground for where ever these start to go.”
So were will they go? Right now, according to the website PlugShare which maps EV charging stations across North America, there are about 20 different places in Guelph where electric vehicles can be charged. Longfield said that the new stations will be set up near high traffic areas like the downtown core, community parks, cultural centres, and tourist attractions.
“As part of the application, there were proposed locations, at least on a preliminary basis,” Ho-Yan said. “We’re looking to leverage our municipal assets, so facilities like community centres and cultural centres. We’re also leveraging the geographic spread and looking at the west side with West End Community Centre, and the east end with Vic Road Recreation Centre.”
The charges being procured by the City are level 2. EV charges are organized into three categories, with level 1 being a portable charging station that plugs into a normal household outlet, and Level 2 being a typical unit found at public charging stations. The trick with Level 2 chargers is that it can take hours to charge a vehicle, while it takes 30 minutes to complete the charge with a Level 3 charger.
By the numbers, the $320,000 budget means that the City will spend about $16,000 per charging unit. “We are still evaluating what bells and whistles we want on these systems, and there is a range,” added Ho-Yan. “There’s the technical challenges of how you’re going to be routing conduits as well.”
Installation of the new EV chargers should begin sometime later this year.