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Popularity of charging up is going up

Popularity of charging up is going up

P 3 ev charging pic 4

On a grey and rainy day, Gayle Neilson charges her Nissan Leaf at the SCRD charging station at the Gibsons community centre, where use is increasing. Normally she charges it at home, where 16 solar panels supplement the electricity supply. “We love the idea that on a sunny day, we can ‘plug our car into the sun’,” Neilson said. Donna MacMahon photo

Use of the SCRD’s electric vehicle (EV) charging stations is on the rise, according to a first quarter report presented at the Planning and Community Development meeting of April 13.

“There was continued increase, roughly doubling, of the use of electric vehicle charging stations at Field Road and the Gibsons Community Centre in the last year,” said Ian Hall, General Manager of Planning and Community Development.

In their first year of operation in 2013, the charging stations at Field Road and the Gibsons Recreation Centre were used only 19 times, but in 2016 the stations saw 600 charging sessions. And kilowatt hours used rose over the last four years from 122 kWh in 2013 to 8,146 in 2016.

Area F Director Ian Winn asked whether, given the significant increase in usage, the SCRD intends to continue to offer the service for free. “Is that the norm nowadays or will we be looking at some point in the future, people having to pay a nominal amount to use the charging station?” asked Winn.

Hall noted that the norm for electric vehicle charging is “evolving rapidly.” He told directors that he would bring a report back to the committee on the SCRD’s EV equipment, its usage, and future opportunities.

Sechelt, Gibsons and the SCRD developed an EV Charging Plan in 2012, following which the District of Sechelt and the SCRD installed public stations. Gibsons council this week was considering  installing an EV charging station at the Town Hall this year. A number of others stations have been installed by businesses.

According to Plugshare.com, there are currently 22 “Level 2” (slow) charging stations on the lower Sunshine Coast, and one high power DC station at Trail Bay Mall in Sechelt. Typically in Canada, Level 2 stations are installed by governments and businesses and are free.

The District of Sechelt started in 2016 charging a fee for its fast charger at Trail Bay Mall.  Donna McMahon

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