Barriers to e-vehicle charging stations

February 2, 2016

I often get asked to do interviews on a variety of topics related to cities. The most recent interview was about potential barriers to increasing the number of charging stations for electric vehicles in municipalities.  I bet there will be some.

With announcement that the Ontario government will provide $20 million in grants this year to help create a network of public charging stations for electric vehicles across the province, municipalities will need to quickly consider how they will accommodate requests for installations.  I had the chance to ask an official in a Greater Toronto Area municipality about this and she had a concern that if classified as a “fueling station” their installation would be severely curtailed by current zoning rules.

A few years ago, Palo Alto, California mandated that all new homes would be built to accommodate an electric vehicle charging station.  The State of California followed with legislation that came into effect last year requiring all new houses to be e-vehicle ready while new multi-residential units, and parking lots with more than 100 spaces, must make at least 3% of their parking spaces e-vehicle ready.  California has also been working to address barriers for tenants wanting to install charging stations.

A shift to low- and zero-emission vehicles is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy to achieve Ontario’s greenhouse gas pollution reduction target of 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.  In Ontario, the transportation sector represents 35% of total provincial greenhouse gas emissions, more than half attributed to personal vehicles.   More fuel-efficient vehicles, the promotion fuels with lower carbon content, along with smart urban planning that promotes walking, cycling and access to transit, are also part of the solution.

The CAA has a convenient Electric Vehicle Charging Locator.  It came up with three locations in Guelph.  We could use a few more!  Plug’n Drive is a great source on information on electric vehicles.