London to plug into additional electric vehicle charging stations

City politicians are expected to give the green light for the installation of new electric vehicle charging stations, along with changes to parking by-laws to accommodate them.

6 new charging stations are set to be installed in London, including 3 curb-side locations downtown

A FLO charging station at Canadian Tire on Wellington Road South in London, Ont. (City of London)

City politicians are expected to give the green light for the installation of six new electric vehicle charging stations, along with changes to parking by-laws to accommodate them.

A report sent to the Civic Works Committee Monday outlines the installation of new charging stations at St. Joseph's Hospital, Victoria Hospital, and near White Oaks Mall through the Electric Vehicle Charges Ontario Program.

Three curb side charging locations, occupying two spaces each, are being proposed for downtown, thanks to a partnership with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), electric charging company FLO, London Hydro and the City.

The downtown locations include:

  • Dundas Street between Wellington Street and Waterloo Street.
  • Talbot Street between King Street and York Street.
  • Pall Mall Street east of Richmond Street.

"I think it's a really good start," said Bob Porter, president of the London Electric Vehicle Association.

"That will encourage some people to start looking at electric cars and gives more support to people who already own electric cars."

Funding the project

Funding for the $70,000 downtown pilot project will be split between NRCan, London Hydro, and the City of London. NRCan and London Hydro would contribute $30,000 each, while the City would provide the remaining $10,000. The money from the City would come from existing program funding for the ongoing implementation for the Community Energy Action Plan.

The charging stations would be owned by London Hydro, but operated as part of the FLO Network, which gives electric vehicle owners access to public chargers across Canada through a mobile app.

Traffic and parking by-law changes

The proposed downtown charging stations will occupy current parking spaces, so the city report proposes amending the traffic and parking by-laws to ensure the spaces are only available for electric vehicles. Vehicles parked in those locations that are not utilizing the charging station would be ticketed.

(City of London)

Electric Vehicle Chargers

The current electric vehicle charging technology is available in three levels, based on the available power output at the location.

  • Level 1 – a 120 volt AC standard wall outlet, capable of adding around 5 to 8 kilometres of range per hour.
  • Level 2 – a 240 volt AC outlet, capable of adding around 15 to 35 kilometres of range per hour.
  • Level 3 – a 480 volt DC fast-charging station, capable of adding around 100 kilometres of range per hour.

The majority of electric car owners have a level 2 charger installed at home.

"If you have an electric car, you will find that about 90 per cent of your charging is done at home," said Porter.

"May times [the public chargers] are more of an opportunity charging. You might be able to get to and from your destination, but the public chargers will give owners a little more confidence."

The City of London first introduced level 2 electric vehicle charging stations in 2012 at City Hall, Budweiser Gardens and Covent Garden Market. While the station at the market was discontinued to make way for a ride share location, the latest report for the City Hall station shows over 75 per cent utilization during business hours.

(London Electric Vehicle Association/Facebook)

There are also another 16 level 2 charging stations and three level 3 charging stations in the London area at businesses and car dealerships.

Porter suggests charging station visibility would go a long way to encouraging drivers to consider buying an electric vehicle.

"Signage is really important. It helps the person who owns the electric vehicle find it, but I also think it's about public awareness that if you start seeing charging signs around you'll say, 'maybe there are places to charge'," he said.

"It's people that own gas cars that assume there's no place to charge because they're not looking for it. Just like owning an electric car, you don't really care where the gas stations are."

According to the city report, a goal to reduce the amount of petroleum-based fuel used per capita by 15 per cent from 2012 to 2018 was unsuccessful, and saw an increase by over 10 per cent during that time period. Officials hope electric vehicles will help to reverse the consumption trend.