Does Ontario have enough electric charging stations?
Those of us who drive electric vehicles (and to a lesser extent, those of us who drive plug-in hybrids) are accustomed to a certain low-grade anxiety about just how far we’ll get on a charge.
But that’s about to change, thanks to the Ivy Charging Network, a new company that aims to put electric charging stations for EVs along the province’s most-trafficked routes, including many in cottage country.
The Ivy is a partnership between Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation, and the company has plans in place for a total of 73 electric charging stations across the province by the end of 2021. Four are already operational and service Parry Sound, Huntsville, Blind River, and Sault Ste. Marie, with 39 more scheduled to be open by the end of September.
Each charging station will be roughly 100 km away from the next and located close to amenities, such as restaurants, stores, coffee shops, and washrooms, making the stop convenient for more than just recharging a vehicle. Drivers will find a minimum of two charge ports, with cords that fit all electric vehicles except Teslas, which have adapters to facilitate other chargers.
The cost to charge your car is $.30/minute. The stations are equipped with Level 3 Fast Chargers, which can take a vehicle from empty to an 80 per cent charge in roughly 20 minutes. The $.30/minute price is fixed, unlike fluctuating fuel prices. For now, charging is free while the network is being built.
“The response has been positive,” says Imran Merali, the vice-president of customer service at Hydro One and the co-president of the Ivy Charging Network. He encourages EV owners to download the Ivy app, which will show them where to find charging stations and allow them to pay online.
There are roughly 10,000 electric vehicles in Ontario, says Merali, a number that he says is expected to grow.
However, in 2019, EV sales plummeted when the Ford government cancelled provincial rebates. The federal government is offering a rebate, though sales in Ontario haven’t quite rebounded. Nonetheless, better infrastructure for electric vehicles can only help.