Canada must build millions, not thousands, of electric vehicle charging stations, industry group says


The federal government promises to spend nearly $ 880 million over the next four years to build approximately 65,000 new charging stations for electric or fuel cell passenger vehicles.

But an industry group representing some of Canada’s largest automakers says Canada needs to build millions of stations.

Brian Kingston, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, said a national electric charging network takes years of careful planning to ensure charging stations are available when and where people need them.

“We haven’t done the planning and we haven’t invested in a charging network,” he said.

Why a network of charging stations is necessary

Canada is enforcing the sale of electric vehicles – 50% of new cars sold in 2030 must be emission-free, reaching 100% by 2035 – but no one is taking the lead in making sure people know what that means in terms how much electricity, or how many charging stations will be needed, Kingston said.

The association represents three of Canada’s largest automakers – Ford, GM and the new multinational Stellantis, formed earlier this year in a merger that now represents brands such as Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler.

Kingston said automakers are committed to going electric – the three companies the association represents will invest US $ 100 billion in electrification over the next few years, with plans to bring 120 new models to electric vehicles on the market.

But he said new models and increased supply would only solve part of the electric transition, because if charging networks don’t keep pace, people won’t make the switch.

Or, worse yet, they will go back, he said.

The president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association said that while Canada is planning electric vehicle sales mandates, the country has yet to determine how much electricity and how many charging stations are needed. (Doug Ives / The Canadian Press)

What happens if enough chargers are not built

A to study published in the journal Nature Energy last spring, said that up to one in five zero-emission vehicle owners have reverted to gasoline due to inconvenient charging access.

“So I’m just using that as a warning to the government that, you know, we better start planning this like tomorrow,” he said.

He argues that Canada has not done the planning and instead has a fractured response, with very low ambitions, compared to the rest of the world.

Canada currently has about 15,000 public or semi-private chargers available, and at least 2,000 more are in various stages of construction with public funding. Natural Resources Canada has an additional $ 180 million in the current budget to build approximately 17,000 more over the next three years.

The Liberals have pledged to spend an additional $ 700 million by 2026 to build 50,000 new ones.

Canada currently has 15,000 public or semi-private charging stations. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

How Canada compares to other countries

Kingston said that to keep pace with Europe’s goal of having a public charger for 10 electric vehicles, Canada will need nearly four million chargers by 2050. To meet the goal of California of one for every seven vehicles is closer to the six million needed in Canada.

A To analyse made for Natural Resources Canada recently suggested that Canada would need, on average, one charger for every 20 EVs by 2025, and after more EVs hit the streets, the ratio would drop to about one in every vehicle. 49 by 2050.

“It is evident that we do not have a sufficiently ambitious plan to build a charging infrastructure,” said Kingston, adding that excessive construction was needed in the first place to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.

The natural resources analysis also notes that in the longer term, it is more likely that public chargers will need to be at high speed, able to charge a car in less than an hour.

The International Energy Agency said this year Canada had about 0.06 publicly available chargers for every electric vehicle in circulation, ranking about 20th in the world, neck and neck with the United States. United as a whole.

In November, an Ernst and Young To analyse Electric vehicle readiness in the world’s 10 largest auto markets indicated Canada to be in the bottom three, in large part due to weak demand and a lackluster charging system. China leads the way, followed by Sweden and Germany.

Wilf Steimle, president of the Electric Vehicle Society, said charging is one of the biggest concerns raised by people considering making the switch.

“What matters to owners is: by the time I go to the bathroom and have another cup of coffee, is my car ready to go. Because I don’t want to sit there and wait for him for about half an hour. ,” he said.

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