Every driver around has felt the anxiety of running nearly on empty as they traverse the mountain roads.
Electrical vehicle drivers feel the same worry — termed “range anxiety” — but thanks to a series of new charging stations, driving an electric vehicle in the Boundary is a lot more practical for both locals and tourists coming through.
Community leaders gathered on Thursday in Christina Lake for the official unveiling and ribbon cutting of an electric vehicle charging station.
The charging station is located at the Christina Lake Visitor’s Centre. It is one of several stations opening in the Kootenays and Boundary lately; more stations are opening this week in Castlegar, Salmo and Creston, in addition to one also opened Thursday in Greenwood. The stations are part of the Accelerate Kootenays initiative to connect Highway 3 with 13 fast chargers and 40 “Level 2” chargers to facilitate 1,800 kilometres of electric vehicle travel.
The initiative is a project of the Community Energy Association (CEA), and the stations are owned and operated by Fortis BC.
“It is tremendously important to have our region connected to the Okanagan and Alberta networks. This Accelerate Kootenays network ensures our communities are on the map for EV travel, providing options for residents and visitors alike,” said Grace McGregor, RDKB vice-chair and Area C director. McGregor was present at the ribbon cutting with representatives from Fortis BC, the RDKB and the Community Energy Association.
The Accelerate Kootenays project is a $1.5 million imitative to “address the charging infrastructure gap” across the region. According to Patricia Dehnel, West Kootenay Accelerate Kootenays coordinator, the project got its start with $30,000 in funding from three regional districts (RDKB, RDEK and RDCK), which was leveraged into provincial, federal and industry funding for the remainder of the project.
The stations are located strategically to encourage tourists charging up to eat, shop and check out community attractions, Dehnel said.
According to Accelerate Kootenays, a fast charger will charge an electric vehicle to charge from 0 to 80 per cent in about 30 minutes, while a level 2 charger takes about four to six hours for an 80 per cent charge. The charging stations in Christina Lake and Greenwood are fast charging stations.