(Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash)

Trail makes way for two more EV charging stations

The Cominco parking lot currently has three EV stalls

Two more charging stations for electric cars are coming down the pike for the Cominco parking lot in downtown Trail.

These ones, however, can charge an electric vehicle (EV) in minutes compared to the three stations now in place which take hours to fully juice a battery.

Council recently agreed to turn over side-by-side spaces to FortisBC so the company could construct two new stations for an upgraded option called Direct Current Fast Chargers or DCFC for short.

The three currently in use are referred to as “Level-2” stations and take four to six hours to fully charge an EV battery.

“This is great news for people who want to drive electric cars,” says spokesperson Nicole Brown from FortisBC. “We want to support electric vehicle adoption and help the province meet it’s clean energy mandate. As part of that, we want to expand our network of fast chargers and have applied for NRCan (Natural Resources Canada) funding to build 23 additional chargers, including two Direct Current Fast Chargers for Trail.”

As far as the city is concerned, the company’s proposal helps Trail work toward a goal of carbon neutrality as outlined in a Climate Action Charter that council endorsed a number of years ago.

“The City of Trail previously installed three EV charging stations in the Victoria Street Parking Lot in 2015 as part of Sun Country Highway’s Municipal Destination Program,” explained Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff. “The city paid for the electrical connections at the time and funded the expense from the Climate Action Reserve Fund,” he said.

“The City of Trail has signed the Climate Action Charter and has committed to work towards a goal of carbon neutrality both from a corporate and community perspective. The goal of full neutrality will be difficult if not impossible to achieve but initiatives like this are consistent with the Charter and the underlying goal.”

Because these DCFC stations charge much more quickly than the existing stalls, they require more power. For example, the proposed 50-kilowatt stations can charge a vehicle like a Nissan Leaf from 0 to 80 per cent in 20 to 40 minutes. In comparison, the existing Level-2 chargers typically take four to six hours to charge from 0 to 100 per cent for the same vehicle.

To be more cost effective, FortisBC chose this particular Trail lot so existing infrastructure can be used to meet additional power needs.

“Our goal is to make sure people can drive their electric vehicle with confidence across our electric service territory,” Brown said. “Trail’s location (near) the junction of Hwy 22 and 3B makes it an ideal for both local commuters and out-of-town highway travelers.”

The City of Trail’s local knowledge about their community’s needs was also critical to choosing the location, she added.

“Drivers will be able to find the stations by following standard way-finding signs, or by looking up the locations on sites like plugshare.com.”

If this second application of NRCan funding is approved, the stations will be built next year and bring FortisBC’s fast charge network to 40 stations across 18 communities in British Columbia.

FortisBC expects NRCan to make a decision this fall.

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