MP Serré hopes to fix 'gaps' in northern Ontario EV charging network

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré is making a push for more businesses and municipalities in northern Ontario to open electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

As feds promise funding for EV charging stations, MP Serré says northern Ontario needs to grab opportunities

FILE- In this June 24, 2017, file photo, a Telsa Model 3 car recharges at a Tesla charging station at Cochran Commons shopping center in Charlotte, N.C. esla has cut $1,100 from the base price of its Model 3 car designed for the mass market.  The electric car company now says on its website that the car starts at $42,900, still short of the target base price of $35,000.  For $42,900 buyers will get a rear-wheel-drive Model 3 in black with Tesla’s lower-range battery that goes 264 miles per charge. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré hopes that with enough uptake by communities, northern Ontario can build a strong electric vehicle charging infrastructure. (Chuck Burton/Associated Press)

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Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré is making a push for more businesses and municipalities in northern Ontario to open electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

Natural Resources Canada will seek requests for proposals for new chargers this winter — part of a $280 million federal program to help build up the EV infrastructure across Canada — and Serré said he hopes to see applications from northern groups and organizations.

"I want to make sure that northern Ontario is prepared, it's proactive to access these funds and that northern Ontario gets its fair share," Serré said. "But we have to work together to make sure we submit some of those proposals."

Electric vehicles can travel 200 kilometres on a single charge, non-profit group Plug'N Drive estimates, which can cause concern for drivers travelling between distant northern Ontario communities.

Serré said there are 15 charging stations in the region, with three in the Nickel Belt riding and 12 in the Sudbury riding.

"Going from Sudbury, to North Bay to Ottawa, there are gaps there," Serré said. "So I encourage municipalities, and mayors and the private sector to apply to make sure that there are enough of those EV stations.

"The more EV stations we can put in the region, the more it would give some comfort level to individuals to purchase EV vehicles." 

Serre encourages northern communities and businesses to apply for funds the federal government has earmarked to help build electric vehicle charging centres. (Erik White/CBC )

The City of Greater Sudbury announced recently that its new EMS vehicles would be electric, and Sudbury post-secondary school Cambrian College has a program that helps mechanics learn and adapt to the EV technology.

The federal government has set a target that by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks will be zero emission. But so far, the government hasn't established any timeline to have a strong, connected charging centre infrastructure in northern Ontario.

"It's hard to give a timeline," Serré said. "But the money is there and I'm hopeful and optimistic that we should be able to fill in those gaps within the next year. I think that's the opportunity here that we have."