British Columbia

End to 'range anxiety' in sight as new EV fast-charging stations open, FortisBC says

FortisBC claims an end to ‘range anxiety’ is in sight as new electric vehicle fast-charging stations begin to open across the southern Interior of the province. Two are now open at the Kelowna City Airport, with another 15 set to open by the end of 2019.

Company says new stations will charge electric vehicles as fast as you can order a latte at the local café

FortisBC unveiled two of its 12 Level 3 electric vehicle charging stations on June 24 at the Kelowna City Airport. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

FortisBC unveiled two of 12 new fast-charging stations in Kelowna on Monday, as part of a bigger plan to create more electric vehicle accessibility across the southern Interior.

The new Direct Current Fast Charge stations at the Kelowna City Airport will be able to recharge an electric vehicle in 20 to 30 minutes, compared to three to four hours at a conventional charging station, said Doug Stout, FortisBC's vice-president.  

He says charging up shouldn't take longer than getting a cup of coffee at the local café.

"We're laying [charge stations] out across the southern Interior and they're really designed for those long trips, so you can pop in and charge your car quickly on a long trip and carry on again. It takes away that range anxiety people talk about."

FortisBC says it's planning to build up a robust grid of charging stations across the province.

Similar stations are planned for Beaverdale, Osoyoos, Cawston, Nelson, Kaslo, Rossland, New Denver and Nakusp.

FortisBC plans to have 17 Level 3 charging stations up and running by the end of 2019. It says 40 stations should be in place across the southern Interior by the end of 2020. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

40 by 2020

The utility says it will operate and maintain the stations with the help of funding from all three levels of government. Stout says the plan is to have 17 fast chargers in the Kelowna-Creston-Princeton service by the end of this year, with 40 in place by the end of 2020.

"I think it makes the decision [to buy an EV] a lot easier." 

Sales of electric vehicles are on the rise, with many customers in B.C. taking advantage of the provincial government's rebates on purchases. 

To extend the program, the province has reduced its EV consumer rebates from $5,000 to $3,000, starting June 24.

Federal rebates take another $5,000 off the cost of EVs, and $2,500 off plug-in hybrids.

Ottawa also increased the maximum vehicle value limit for which the rebates are eligible from $45,000 to $55,000 to increase buyer options.

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