The City of Abbotsford will install 10 electric vehicle charging sites at its facilities over the next five years, after council gave the go-ahead to the $250,000 plan Monday.
A trio of recreation facilities are first up for the new stations, which are hoped to encourage the use of electric vehicles in Abbotsford and meet future demand.
While just 6,000 plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles were in use in all of B.C. as of the start of this year, a Simon Fraser University study estimates the number will dramatically increase over the next few years, to around 20,000 in 2020.
The new city plan would install 240-volt charging stations at city facilities, with priority given to high-use areas. The Abbotsford Recreation Centre, Exhibition Park and Matsqui Recreation Centre were identified as the three sites most suited to a charging station.
Peter Sparanese, the city’s general manager of engineering and road utilities, said that users won’t initially have to pay to charge their vehicles. Sparanese said discussions about charges would take place in the future, after usage of the stations pick up.
A staff report suggests that the operational cost of a station is usually around $1,200, including electricity and network costs. Each station – which could fully charge an electric vehicle in around four hours – would cost around $25,000 to install. It’s anticipated that most electric car drivers will be charging their vehicles at home. The public facilities would allow them to supplement that charge during the day.
The stations also come with the ability to provide financial transactions.
The city hopes that more electric vehicles on the roads would lead to a cut in the municipality’s green house gas emissions, 55 per cent of which are from the transportation sector.
There are also plans to install charging stations at a new parking area for City Hall staff.
Council also discussed the long-term implications of a move to electric vehicles. Coun. Brenda Falk suggesting the adoption of such vehicles, and the addition of accompanying infrastructure, will change the look of Abbotsford, while Mayor Henry Braun expressed hope that calculations into whether new power projects are needed factor in future demand from electric cars.
Earlier this year, the city commissioned a study to see how much it would cost to increase the number of cars it has that use electric power or natural gas.