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Canada creating EV charging infrastructure along Trans Canada Hwy

Funding for the program

The $173 million charging network announced earlier this year will allow charging of EV’s in about 20 minutes. The different types of charging units are described in this Manitoba Hydro release.

The project is being funded by $8 million of a repayable contribution from Natural Resources Canada as part of the Canadian Energy Innovation Program. There is also private investment from eCamion, a Toronto energy storage system developer, Leclanche an energy storage provider and SGEM a Geneva-based power producer.

Canadian government wants to encourage EV use

In a news release, Jim Carr, the Canadian federal government Minister of Natural Resources said the increased use of EVs would help reduce emissions: “With more electric vehicles becoming available, we want to make them an easy choice for Canadians. The strategic investment brings us closer to having a national coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle charging stations while growing our economy and creating good jobs for Canada’s middle-class.”

Experts agree that developing and installing an adequate infrastructure throughout Canada is crucial in order increase EV sales across Canada.

The nature of the EV charge stations

Every new station will have a storage system that uses large-format lithium-ion batteries. There will be multiple outlets so that several cars will be able to charge at once. Each unit will be able to charge 3 cars at once.

The chargers are level 3 and typically use a 480 volt system. A vehicle can be fully charged in about half an hour. Level two chargers with 240 volt systems take about 8 to 100 hours. Ordinary level one 120 volt chargers take even longer. The different levels are described in this Manitoba Hydro release.

The 34 new stations will have 102 charging units spaced about 100 kilometres apart along 3,000 kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway. The exact locations are not yet determined.

EV owners must wait a while before starting a trip

The stations are scheduled to be in operation by 2019.

Nevertheless Robert Elms, president of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association said: “I think it’s terrific.”

Elms noted that now the trip from Winnipeg Manitoba along the Trans Canada through northern Ontario is not practical for EV owners. There are at most level 2 chargers that can take up to 10 hours to charge a car. The newer level 3 chargers take only half an hour to an hour at most.

Bryan Urban, executive vice president of Leclanche North America, who is also president of Fast Charage a joint venture between Leclanche and eCamion said: “Vehicles will be able to power up during peak hours using off-peak energy and continue on their journey in a relatively similar amount of time it would take to fuel a fossil-fuel vehicle, grab a snack and visit a bathroom.”

A study by Simon Fraser University in 2016 showed that there are only about 125 fully electric cars in Manitoba although there appear to be many hybrids often used by taxi companies. Ontario has more with 7,248 but no doubt most of those are in southern Ontario in larger cities.

The Canadian Automobile Association lists 18 charging stations within the city of Winnipeg. Going east on the Trans-Canada the next charging station is in Kenora a distance of 209 kilometers.

An EV charge station locater in Canada is provided by the CAA. The stations are rated in terms of the level of charge provided. There are nearly 6,000 across the country.

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