By Jaime Polmateer
Local electric vehicle (EV) drivers rejoice.
The rest stop in Little Fort has been chosen as a site for a public EV charging station, which is one of 11 new stations that’ll pop up at highway rest areas across the province.
“These charging stations will support long distance travel on highway routes in an electric vehicle; it is expected that in locations in or near communities, such as Little Fort, the community will benefit from electric vehicle (EV) drivers visiting their community and supporting local businesses while their vehicle charges,” said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, in an email.
The project, which is expected to finish this fall, will see the Little Fort rest area with two fast charging stations and one level two station.
Charging times vary among vehicles and battery sizes, but it generally takes three to eight hours to charge at a level two station and about half an hour at a fast charging station.
“Our goal is to build a seamless network of electric vehicle charging stations to make it easy and convenient for people to drive from one end of B.C. to the other, powered by clean energy,” added the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“Green transportation is an absolute necessity, given the realities we are facing when it comes to tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Along with the 11 new charging sites, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure supported the installation of two more BC Hydro direct-current (DC) fast-charging facilities at Britton Creek and at the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction.
Eight of the new locations will be fast charging, with two stations per site, allowing drivers to charge up in a half hour or less.
“These chargers are critical for facilitating the expansion of electric vehicles adoption in B.C.,” said Andrew Weaver, B.C. Green Party leader.
“As we work together to build a made-in-B.C. climate action plan, we must provide services that will support British Columbians to be able to participate in the transition to the low-carbon economy. I look forward to building on this important step forward in electrifying B.C.’s transportation infrastructure.”
An average EV driver will avoid pumping roughly four tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions into the air each year compared to conventional vehicles and EV drivers also save roughly $2,400 annually in fuel costs and maintenance, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
“EVs are quiet, environmentally friendly, and fun to drive,” said Bruce Sharpe, president of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association.
“With its abundant clean electrical power, B.C. is a great place to own an EV. When people want to travel beyond their daily commute, DC fast chargers give them the confidence they need so that they can reach their destination in good time. With these welcome additions to the charging network, there are now more reasons than ever to make your next car electric.”
B.C. has more than 1,300 level two charging stations, and 64 DC fast-charging sites, installed or in the process of completion with an estimated 10,000 electric vehicles cruising the province’s highway and popularity is on the rise according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The combined $1.8 million in contracts for the 11 new charging locations has been awarded to Fraser City Installations, 644230 BC Ltd. and Westcana Electric Inc.