Industry experts participating in a webinar hosted by Autonomy Electric Canada share their advice on how offices, institutions and retail site hosts can plan the integration of public electric vehicle charging using incentives and other ancillary revenue opportunities

With the recent decision by the federal government to postpone its goal of 100% zero-emission vehicle sales until 2035 and make it mandatory, one thing is clear: more public electric vehicle charging infrastructure is needed to meet the demand. growing demand.

Potential site hosts, such as city governments, retailers and workplaces, need to start preparing for the future of electric vehicles, which focuses on installing or operating public charging stations on the site. their property.

To help them in their planning, Autonomy Electric Canada this week, hosting a webinar focusing on the role of incentives in assisting deployment. Representatives from the City of Vancouver, Brock University, Plug’n Drive and FLO participated in a discussion, sharing ideas on installing public EV charging infrastructure and the challenges of reviewing an EV charging business model and finding funds to help offset costs.

You can watch the full discussion with Electric autonomy in the FLO sponsored webinar and read the summary below.

EV adoption rate and demand

With respect to the current availability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, Canada has been very successful in scaling up facilities with thousands of Level 2 and DC fast chargers operational across the country. But demand still threatens to overtake the public grid.

To date, about four percent of all car sales in Canada are electric vehicles, while in the national adoption leader, British Columbia, the percentage of electric vehicle owners has now reached both. figures.

“We can do more and of course we need more, but I wouldn’t suggest that there isn’t enough. [charging stations] now for people to embrace electric cars, ”said Cara Clairman, President and CEO of Plug’n Drive.

But if that can be true for individual passengers, for fleets, that’s another story.

In Vancouver, as part of its Climate Emergency Action Plan, the city wants 50% of all kilometers driven to be done in zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that half of the vehicles have to be electric, but there is certainly an effort to move these higher mileage vehicles – so the Ubers and Lyfts,” says Ian Neville, senior sustainability specialist at the city. from Vancouver. “The passenger fleet carsharing vehicles, I think, will really be the key to achieving this goal. And we need public chargers to support them. “

Currently there are around 25 to 30 DC fast chargers in the city. Neville says Vancouver plans to at least double that amount over the next five to seven years, with a focus on ensuring underserved areas of the city have the right infrastructure as well.

Federal funds for public chargers

Under the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP), available through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), future hosts of EV charging station sites can apply for funding to help overcome the financial burden of installing charging stations.

“The challenge with this particular program is that it is… a competitive program. So, you usually need to have something a little unique in your app to be successful. But if you are successful, they fund up to 50% of the infrastructure, ”Clairman explains.

Earlier this year, Brock University, located in St. Catherines, Ont., Received funding under the ZEVIP program to install 20 EV charging stations on its main campus, including 17 level 2 stations and three DC fast charging stations.

“These applications are not easy. They require thought, planning and costing and analysis, ”says Mary Quintana, director, asset management and utilities at Brock.

That being said, “it was a very positive experience,” says Quintana. “It takes planning, but any project does.”

To help with the planning and application process, the university turned to FLO for help.

“[FLO] informed us as customers of the other alternatives available to us. What we may want, what our requirements were, they really guided us through the process of determining what we needed, ”explains Quintana.

Other financing options

The latest round of ZEVIP funding, which focused on charging infrastructure projects in public places, multi-unit residential buildings, workplaces and light vehicle fleets, closed in June, although Another round of funding with new criteria is underway, Clairman says.

For rural communities looking to install EV chargers, they probably don’t need and don’t have the financial capacity to pay for more chargers, says Brookes Shean, sales manager at FLO.

To help these small organizations receive funding, NRCan has also started accepting requests for proposals from third-party service delivery organizations, such as local governments or not-for-profit organizations. If successful, these delivery organizations would be responsible for distributing ZEVIP funding and would be there to help share the costs of purchasing and installing EV infrastructure for small organizations.

“[These delivery organizations] can now extend funding locally to organizations looking for one charger, two chargers, three chargers or up to 20 chargers. So it becomes much easier to apply now for small organizations that were expecting something, ”says Shean.

There are also a number of provincial funding sources, adds Shean, such as the CleanBC Go Electric Public Charger Program and the Electric vehicle charging program come to Alberta in 2022 which can be used to supplement NRCan funding and continue to help offset installation or material costs.

Justify the deployment of EV chargers

Making a business case for workplaces to install EV chargers is a multi-faceted question. Clairman says that from a human capital perspective it’s an open and closed case: “More and more employees want to work for a company that they think cares about the environment… There is a lot more focus on the environmental benefits you can offer your employees. , therefore, recharging electric vehicles is one of them. “

The other primary consideration is to draw the balance sheet. When the time comes for site hosts to consider their electric vehicle charger business model, British Columbia, for example, uses its standard low-carbon fuel regulations that help create a credit market for any low carbon fuel, such as electricity.

“If you’re an electric utility for electric vehicle charging, you can enter that market,” says Neville. “What this means is that as an electric vehicle charging supplier you are looking for credit values ​​that are significantly higher than the cost of electricity and therefore you can find ways to get a good return on your investment. . ”

But the considerations of how to leverage shippers as assets are not the same for all businesses. For retailers, Shean warns they could struggle to generate revenue with just electric vehicle chargers. In this case, it is possible to examine the overall environment around the charger, with the aim of finding ways to involve customers in activities – shopping, catering, leisure – so as not to waste the waiting time. .

“The average person using a DC fast charger plugs in for 18-24 minutes in the warmer months and up to 30-35 minutes in the cooler months. So you have a person there who could buy other goods and services, ”says Shean.

“[This] help the DC fast charge business case make more sense because you are not just watching it from how much you earn on the charger but how do I get someone to come over home and spend more money there? It is a huge contributing factor.

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