The first publicly-accessible electric vehicle charging station has opened in Manitoba.
It was unveiled Thursday morning in the main parking lot in front of the Original Pancake House. That spot is now designated as an EV-only parking space.
There are only 40 electric cars registered with Manitoba Public Insurance.
Lester Deane owns one of them.
Deane charges his car four-to-seven hours every night at home, but likes the convenience of a station at The Forks.
"Actually having more charging stations in the market is fantastic for all electric vehicle owners," he said, "I wasn't aware that this was coming. It is a pleasant surprise to me and to all of our members."
The charging station is a partnership between the province and The Forks "to support and encourage the use of clean, electric-powered transportation," a government press release stated.
“Although electric vehicles are still a relatively new concept, we are pleased to support the installation of this charging station at The Forks, providing a handy, central location where owners of electric cars can recharge their batteries,” said Municipal Government Minister Stan Struthers.
“As electric vehicles gain acceptance and popularity, our province’s low-priced electricity will help make this option more affordable and an attractive alternative to fossil-fuelled vehicles.”
Although the purchase price of an electric vehicle is higher than an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle, over time it is expected that fuel savings, reduced maintenance and increased availability of these vehicles will help balance the price difference, Struthers said.
The province plans to support additional installations of EV charging stations for public use at other sites such as Assiniboine Park.
Struthers also announced the launch of a new website that provides information on available services for electric vehicles.
“The … website will help people understand why this technology is important, provide basic information on the benefits of electric vehicles, and give details on the research and results of testing these vehicles,” Struthers said.
“This project plays an important role in our provincial clean-energy strategy and electric-vehicle road map that will produce environmental and economic benefits now and in the future.”
CAA Manitoba said more people are showing interest in electric cars. They estimate down the road, one in every ten vehicles will be electric.