Spend $300,000 on charging stations for electric vehicles, Edmonton committee says

The city should spend $300,000 to install 30 publicly-accessible electric vehicle charging stations at city-owned facilities such as libraries and recreation centres, council’s executive committee recommended Tuesday.

Executive committee also says city could ask province, federal governments for funding help

An electric car charging at a station in Quebec. In Edmonton, council's executive committee is recommending the city spend $300,000 to build 30 charging stations at city-owned facilities. (Annie-Claude Luneau/Radio-Canada)

The city should spend $300,000 to install 30 electric vehicle charging stations at city-owned facilities such as libraries and recreation centres, council's executive committee recommended Tuesday.

The charging stations, part of a pilot project called Plug 'n Go Edmonton, would power the city's electric fleet and could also be used by citizens who drive electric vehicles.

Executive committee also recommended the city approach the provincial and federal governments about funding to help the city with another 70 charging stations that would be built on private property.

"If there are provincial or federal subsidies to help incent private land owners to go in that direction … and if we can help facilitate that and help get some bulk pricing, I think that's a reasonable role for local government," said Mayor Don Iveson.

If fully implemented, the $1-million Plug 'n Go Edmonton project would see up to 100 electric vehicle charging stations installed throughout the city.

Information gathered from the pilot is expected to help the city come up with a comprehensive electric vehicle strategy, to be delivered next spring.

Don't fund private stations, Caterina says

Debate on the pilot project caused a lot of sparks. The most contentious point was having the city pay for 70 stations on private land such as malls and hotels.

Coun. Tony Caterina was vocal in his opposition to subsidizing the installation of private charging stations.

"I've heard no information to justify this being a good idea," Caterina said.

Coun. Michael Walters agreed with Caterina's objections to subsidizing private stations but argued electric vehicles are the way of the future, citing what he called "market intelligence" that predicts 30 per cent of vehicles will be electric by 2040.

An administration report to executive committee said there are currently about 150 battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles registered in Edmonton.