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Electric-vehicle chargers coming to communities across the province

“We need a whole lot more around Highway 2 … but the northern part of the province needs some love,” said William York, a board member for the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta.
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A new provincial and federal funding agreement could double the public electric charging infrastructure in Alberta by 2023 and electric vehicle advocate are hoping some of the chargers end up in northern Alberta. FILE/Photo

Electric-vehicle advocates are hoping new federal and provincial funding for charging stations will bring more locations to northern Alberta.

A new provincial and federal funding agreement could double the public electric-charging infrastructure in Alberta by 2023.

William York, a board member of the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta, said the funding announcement Jan. 25 is wonderful.

“It’s exactly what we need. We just hope that the program is administered [in a way] that ensures geographic spacing of the charging stations,” York said.

Right now the province has very good coverage for fast-charging stations south of Edmonton, York said, and most of the infrastructure is concentrated in and around Calgary.

“We need a whole lot more around Highway 2 … but the northern part of the province needs some love,” York said.

The federal funding will come out of Natural Resources Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) and will join with funding from the existing Electric Vehicle Charging rebate program, which was set up by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre.

Some $2 million will be kicked over by the federal government, with $1.4 million in funding from the province, bringing the total to $3.4 million to fund charging stations across the province.

The funding will allow for municipalities and non-profit community organizations to purchase and install electric-vehicle charging stations, which will be a combination of fast-charging stations and level two charging stations, which charge vehicles a little more slowly.

York said charging stations are currently built by a mix of private companies and some municipalities, but the best way to get more coverage is to allow for communities to build the stations.

“They're capable of seeing on longer-term horizons than private companies can. Private companies, they have more pressure to make a return on investment immediately, whereas municipalities, they're allowed to see the greater good,” York said.

A big reason people are shifting to electric vehicles is because of climate change, York said, and with how the electric-vehicle economy is structured, it doesn’t necessarily incentivize companies to make decisions to meet climate goals.

“Municipalities and governments are allowed to think on those longer-term horizons and make those decisions [around climate-change goals],” York said.

Municipalities can focus on local needs, York said, such as local air quality, which electric vehicles improve because they don’t have a tailpipe, York said.

The province currently has 255 electric vehicle chargers across Alberta, including both private and public chargers, and the funding will help double the publicly-funded chargers.  

The new chargers are expected to be installed by 2023.

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette and has been with Great West Media since 2015
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