Hamilton

Hamilton should install 20 electric vehicle charging stations: report

City staff are recommending Hamilton apply for a government grant to install a minimum of 20 vehicle charging stations at municipal parking lots to keep up with the rising popularity of electric vehicles.

Government grant would cover 50% of the cost, leaving the city on the hook for $252K

A city report says compared to 18 other area municipalities Hamilton ranks last when it comes to the number of electric vehicle chargers per capita. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

City staff are recommending Hamilton apply for a government grant to install a minimum of 20 vehicle charging stations at municipal parking lots to keep up with the rising popularity of electric vehicles.

The proposal, which will be reviewed by the Planning Committee Tuesday, says if the city meets the minimum requirement of 20 stations, the Natural Resources Canada Grant would fund 50 per cent of the cost, leaving the city on the hook to cover an estimated $252,000.

That price tag would be paid for through a combination of ward reserve funds and the parking reserve fund, according to a report prepared by Brian Hollingworth, director of transportation and parking planning.

The report points out that one of the "major barriers" between people and using electric vehicles (EVs) is something called "range anxiety" — concerns about how far a person can travel and whether they'll be stranded because of the scarcity of charging stations.

It adds that compared to 18 area municipalities with a population over 100,000, Hamilton ranks last when it comes to the number of EV chargers per capita.

The suggestion was met with support from Environment Hamilton, a community non-profit aimed at protecting and enhancing the environment.

"Looking for a quick and easy way to contribute to Hamilton becoming more sustainable?" read a Facebook post from the organization. "Email the Planning Committee ... TODAY and tell them to support the staff recommendation to purchase and install electric vehicle chargers!"

The report was prepared after the committee directed staff back in December to look into how many EVs exist in Hamilton.

Staff found, based on Ministry of Transportation data, that there are 467 such vehicles currently registered in the city out of a total of about 320,000.

Projections from a 2016 study from the Independent Electricity System Operator was also included in the city report and predicted there will be between 55,000 and 109,000 EVs in Ontario by the year 2022.

Staff are recommending people who use the chargers not be charged a fee, at least not yet, as a portion of the cost of the stations will be off-set by parking fees, according to the report.

The city suggests using a 24-month pilot to study the charges and how often they're used, saying staff will come back with a report and more recommendations which could include adopting user fees.