2018-07-04

All charged up

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Karen Hutt, president and chief executive officer of Nova Scotia Power, tops up an electric vehicle at the charging station network launch in Elmsdale June 25.</p>

Drivers of electric vehicles in Nova Scotia now have a network of 14 fast-charging stations scattered throughout the province.

Nova Scotia Power and Emera gathered with project partners and electric vehicle (EV) owners in Elmsdale on June 25 to launch the province's $1.17 million EV fast-charging network, adding to the two stations that already exist.

The new 12-station project includes charging sites at the Best Western Plus Bridgewater Hotel & Convention Centre and Sobeys in Liverpool.

Although there are only an estimated 120 registered electric vehicle owners in the province, and no government funding immediately available to expand the number of stations, Sanjeev Pushkar, Nova Scotia Power's manager of customer solutions who led the project, says the market has potential and assistance is available to encourage additional sites.

According to Pushkar, a third of customers surveyed said they are interested in purchasing an electric vehicle, while that number jumped to two-thirds when the customers were asked if they would be interested "with additional infrastructure.

"We hope that this initial effort will help fuel additional investment in infrastructure from various businesses across the province," he told LighthouseNOW.

"We would be more than supportive to help businesses that are interested in installing charge stations themselves."

Pushkar noted there were a number of considerations regarding installing a charging station on a site.

"We've gained a lot of experience through this process. We also made a lot of really strong partnerships with installers and manufacturers in the industry."

Pushkar said Nova Scotia Power could help guide a business customer through the planning and design process, "and ultimately the installation and connection of the charger."

The Level 3 fast-chargers boost an electric vehicle in 15-30 minutes, at a cost of $3.75 per 15-minute session.

Further contributing to this EV charging infrastructure, the Government of Nova Scotia has installed an additional 12 Level 2 chargers at the same locations, for plug-in hybrid vehicles that are unable to charge using the Level 3 chargers.

Should a business wish to install its own charging system independently, that business sets and draws the fee rather than Nova Scotia Power.

Natural Resources Canada is providing $600,000, and Nova Scotia Power's parent company Emera is contributing $450,000 for the 12 Level 3 fast chargers. The Province of Nova Scotia is providing $120,000 for the Level 2 chargers.

Emera Inc., Nova Scotia Power's parent-company, is funding the EV charging network, which is designed to promote the use of vehicles powered by cleaner energy.

"Connecting our province end-to-end with EV infrastructure is a significant step toward achieving a lower carbon future driven by electrification," Karen Hutt, Nova Scotia Power.'s president and chief executive officer said in a press release.

The 12 fast-chargers were strategically located to enable EV drivers to travel across the province with ease. The location sites were selected based on a number of criteria including proximity to a 100-series highway, each located approximately 65 kilometres apart.

Scott Brison, MP for Kings- Hants and the president of Canada's Treasury Board, attended the launch on behalf of Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

"The people of Nova Scotia, and those who visit our province, deserve more options when it comes to travel in electric vehicles, which is why we're helping to create this provincial network of charging stations," he said in a press release.

"The energy and technologies we adopt today will not only determine the mix of vehicles on our roads tomorrow, they will help to create more jobs and a greener future for our children and grandchildren."

Nova Scotia Power noted in the release the network addresses the lack of high-speed charging stations, "which is a primary inhibitor to Nova Scotians adopting electric vehicles.

"This effort is part of a larger initiative to build a coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle charging stations across Canada; natural gas refueling stations along key freight corridors; and hydrogen refueling stations in key metropolitan areas," according to the power company.

The charging stations are manufactured by AddEnergie, a North American leader in EV charging solutions, and are connected to AddEnergie's FLO Network, described as Canada's largest EV charging network.

The FLO Network provides access to public charging across the country. With the app, EV drivers can locate the charging stations, check their availability in real time, and pay for charging sessions.

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