Nova Scotia

Halifax needs 50 times more charging stations for electric cars: report

A new Halifax Regional Municipality staff report suggests the city needs almost 2,000 more charging stations for electric vehicles to be ready for future demand. The report predicts 10 per cent of the vehicles in Nova Scotia will be electric by 2030 and the number will jump to 25 per cent by 2040.

HRM currently has 40 charging stations, report recommends it have 2,000 within a decade

In this June 24, 2017, file photo, a Telsa car recharges at a Tesla charging station at Cochran Commons shopping center in Charlotte, N.C. (Chuck Burton/Associated Press)

A new Halifax Regional Municipality staff report suggests the city needs almost 2,000 more charging stations for electric vehicles to be ready for future demand.

Kevin Boutilier, the municipality's clean energy specialist who wrote the report, predicts 10 per cent of the vehicles in Nova Scotia will be electric by 2030 and the number will jump to 25 per cent by 2040.

There are only 170 electric vehicles currently registered in Nova Scotia, according to Boutilier's report.

The report said sales of electric vehicles will increase as the cost of electric vehicles reaches parity with cars that have internal combustion engines, which is anticipated to happen in the late 2020s.

It adds municipalities can support the trend by providing infrastructure.

The municipality now has 40 charging stations, but the report recommends the municipality have 2,000 within a decade.

'I think it makes total sense'

Jérémie Bernardin, the president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Atlantic Canada, supports adding more charging stations.

"I think it makes total sense and HRM needs to show that leadership," he said.

The price tag for installing the new charging stations is estimated at $600,000.

Some quick facts from the Halifax Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee's report. (CBC)

'Big return'

Coun. Bill Karsten, who asked for the report, said that's a significant payback for a modest investment.

"It's big return, huge, all the way around and it's preparing for the future," he said.

Karsten said he plans to go electric when he gets his next vehicle.

The report also recommends converting 11 vehicles in HRM's fleet to electric technology at a cost of about $360,000.

It said there would be a 68 per cent reduction in fuel costs and a 62 per cent reduction in the fleet's greenhouse gas emissions.

The report suggests tapping into an existing federal incentive program that provides annual rebates for certain electric vehicle purchases.

Lobbying for more financial support

Karsten, who is no longer a member of the municipality's environment committee, is now the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

He said the organization plans to lobby Ottawa to create a fund to help municipalities convert their transit systems to electric vehicles.

"That will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and help Canada meet its Paris climate agreement targets," said Karsten.

The report also includes a recommendation for the municipality to ask the province for the power to require electric charging stations in new developments, which is something already done in a number of municipalities in British Columbia.

The municipality's environment committee will debate the issue Thursday afternoon.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

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