Province adding 6 more electric vehicle charging stations
'It's part of the investment we need to make'
The P.E.I. government has issued a tender for new electric vehicle charging stations at six locations including Montague, Alberton, the main government parking lot in Charlottetown, Access PEI and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Helping to build an Island-wide network of vehicle charging stations is part of the province's sustainable transportation action plan announced last month. Some are already under construction and should be ready in early 2020 in O'Leary, Borden, Summerside, Charlottetown, Wood Islands and Souris, officials say.
"It's going to enable the market for electric vehicles to open up here, so people will be able to travel freely and get a charge wherever they go," said P.E.I. Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Steven Myers, noting the network may also encourage visitors with electric vehicles to visit.
"It's a big move in order to expand our EV ability on P.E.I."
Myers said although his department has not received complaints from Islanders, officials are aware interest in buying electric vehicles is growing quickly.
Expensive to install
Quebec is far ahead of P.E.I. in encouraging its residents to purchase and use electric cars, he noted, by offering sales rebates and requiring auto makers to sell a minimum number of electric vehicles.
The charging stations are expensive to install, he noted. The winning bid on the first six charging stations, by One Wind Services Inc. of Dartmouth, was for $453,000. That was subsized by $300,000 from the federal government.
"But it's part of the investment we need to make," Myers said. "We're hoping that businesses will start to see the benefit of having them."
The chargers will be operated and maintained by a company called Flo, he said. There are also two such charging stations now in the P.E.I. National Park.
'A lot of them around'
Bidding for the job closes Dec. 23 at 2 p.m. Myers said he hopes all the chargers will be completed by June.
The government itself purchased six electric vehicles this year and is looking to expand its fleet, Myers said.
"So we know there's a lot of them around and everybody who has one is looking to use them as a regular vehicle," Myers said.
He said he understands the price tag of an electric vehicle is still out of reach for most, but expects that to decrease in the next five years. He said the province has discussed offering rebates to purchase an electric car, and hasn't ruled it out in the future.
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With files from Angela Walker