British Columbia public EV charging stations see rapid growth in usage

A growing number of drivers are plugging into British Columbia’s public EV charging stations. Powertech Labs, a subsidiary of local utility BC Hydro, tracks 350 of BC’s 550 public chargers, and reports that the number of charging sessions at those stations doubled between August 2013 and August 2014.

“Over 40,000 charging sessions were reported in the first year the network has been active,” said Mark Dubois-Phillips, Director of Smart Utility Services at Powertech Labs. “There were 1,684 charging sessions during the month of August 2013, and by August 2014 the number rose 120% to 3,745 monthly sessions. It’s off to a good start.”

“BC’s extensive network of public electric vehicle charging stations helps drivers enjoy the benefits of electric driving and be confident they can charge up on the road as well as at home,” said Environment Minister Mary Polak. “This investment by the BC government in our transportation infrastructure was timely as a growing number of people are now interested in plug-in electric vehicles as a way to save fuel costs, cut pollution and decrease their dependence on fossil fuels.”

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Powertech created the evCloud tracking tool to report charging network data, and to assist research that relates to EV infrastructure. Station owners can log in to track their own data, and may also choose to have it displayed publicly on the site.

SEE ALSO: BC Hydro pushes for a timely fast charger rollout

“From the individual station data so far, the busiest stations appear to be in high-traffic hubs, especially in urban and suburban malls and downtown shopping areas, including those in smaller towns,” said Jim Vanderwal, Senior Program Manager at the Fraser Basin Council. Vanderwal notes that there are many quieter stations that only see one or two people plugging in each week, but that is to be expected at this early stage. “The first electric car rolled out in BC just two years ago. There are now about 1,300 on the road and the numbers are growing steadily.”

Vanderwal says that BC’s position today is similar to Oregon’s in 2012, which at the time had about 1,400 electric vehicles, 700 Level 2 charging stations and 10 fast charging stations. Oregon now has one of the highest per capita EV sales of all states, and the number of EVs on the road has increased by more than three times since 2012. A major factor in this growth is the extent of the charging network (both Level 2 and fast charging).


Source: Plug in BC

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