The City of Penticton will be getting two more electric vehicle charging stations when the former Greyhound property is converted into a temporary long-term parking lot.
Council voted on March 19 at the regular meeting to apply for funding with the Clean BC Community Fund (CCF) to “assistance for the purchase and installation of two dual pedestal Level II EV charging stations to be installed at the new public pay parking lot at 313 Ellis Street.” Staff said these charging stations would be free to use and can accommodate the charging of four vehicles at once.
“There’s an opportunity to have up to 73 per cent of the installation and cost of the car charging stations paid for by the Clean BC Community Fund,” said the city’s community sustainability coordinator, David Kassian. “The cost of purchasing (these) charging stations is approximately $21,000 including taxes and installation. If our application is successful, this means that the CCF will fund approximately $14,000 with the city paying the remaining $7,000.”
Kassian said the CCF does not cover the annual service and management fees associated with the stations, which are estimated to be $150 per station. He also said these stations have the ability to charge users in order to offset the cost of electrical use, as well as to generate revenue.
“The staff recommends no charge (at these stations) as it is important to provide incentives for electric vehicle use. But please note that adding fees for charging can be implemented at a later time as needed,” said Kassian.
According to Kassian, in 2018 roughly 780 vehicle charging sessions took place at the existing EV charging station at 233 Backstreet Blvd. The average charging time was 40 minutes per session equalling 10,800 kWh of energy.
“This is the equivalent of offsetting 4,100 L of fuel or 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Based on these statistics, it costs the city roughly $2 to charge an EV during one of these sessions,” said Kassian. “In 2013 there were 70 EVs insured in the Southern Interior, now there is about 400.”
Although the parking lot is only temporary until the Official Community Plan determines the long-term use for the space, Kassian said these EV stations are not permanent fixtures and can be relocated as needed.
“Is it not the same as me going to the gas station and filling with gas? Should there not be some sort of expected fee associated with that? It’s not cost-neutral for us so I’m wondering why we’re not adding a little bit of money to make sure that at least our costs are covered,” said Coun. Campbell Watt.
Kassian said other municipalities will charge a small base fee of $2 to $5 to use EV charging stations, but he said he thinks its important to encourage people to “use EV’s at this time and to remove barriers that prevent that.”
Coun. Julius Bloomfield, who stated he is hoping to “drive around in an electric truck in the next 18 months,” agreed with Watt that users should have to pay for the electricity they are using. Coun. Jake Kimberley clarified that users of the EV charging station will still have to pay a parking fee to occupy the lot.
Council voted unanimously to apply for funding for the EV charging stations and directed to staff to further research user fees for the charging stations.
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