Windsor

City of Windsor wants to add 11 dual-port electric vehicle charging stations

A report being presented to council Monday says the City of Windsor wants to set up 11 dual-port electric vehicle charging stations across the region. However, most dealerships in the city carry little to no EV stock.

Area dealerships have little to no stock of electric vehicles

The City of Windsor wants to install 11 dual-port electric vehicle charging station. The move is necessary to meet the requirements of a federal government program which would cover half of the city's capital and installation costs. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

The City of Windsor is looking to set up 11 dual-port electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the municipality, according to a report to be presented to council next Monday.

To be eligible for funding under the federal government's Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP), cities must install a minimum of 20 charging stations. Infrastructure must also be installed in parking spaces clearly identified for the purpose of charging electric vehicles.

The City of Windsor hopes to install 11 dual-port charges, which is equivalent to 22 charging spaces.

Five-year pilot project

If approved, cities which meet ZEVIP requirements will halve their capital and installation costs for the EV chargers covered by the federal government. The City of Windsor would be qualified to apply.

According to Sergio Grando, manager of energy initiatives for the City of Windsor, the five-year project would cost about $500,000.

ZEVIP funding would cut that cost in half.

"We're actually going to be looking for community sponsorship to reduce that cost of $250,000 even lower," said Grando, adding it's important for Windsor to join the ZEVIP program because "the transportation sector produces about 35 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions across Canada."

Sergio Grando is the energy initiatives manager for the City of Windsor. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

"We have to look at reducing our emissions from the transportation sector," he said. "This is one means of doing that — and this is a start."

Creating a "network" of electric vehicle charging stations across the city also serves to reduce drivers' range anxiety, Grando said.

Range anxiety refers to the nagging doubt that an EV battery has enough power to get drivers where they're going — whether it be their final destination or simply another charging station.

Low supply of EV's in Windsor

On Thursday, CBC News reached out to five car dealerships in Windsor to find out if they had recently sold electric vehicles or if they had any in stock. Four didn't have any in stock — and one had just sold its last EV.

"Probably the reason why there's not that many electrical vehicles being sold within the dealerships here has to do with the incentive programs that were rolled back by the provincial government," said Grando.

Grando says there are currently approximately 30 EV charging stations in and around Windsor. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

An up-to $14,000 rebate for new EV owners in Ontario was previously funded by proceeds from the provincial Liberals' cap-and-trade carbon emissions program. But in July 2018, current Premier Doug Ford scrapped the rebate program.

"When that program was cancelled, it impacted the vehicle sales," said Grando.

Pino Mastroianni, president of the Electric Vehicle Society's Windsor-Essex chapter, has owned an EV for about seven years. He said it's not surprising that EV's are tough to find in Windsor, adding that other cities are "stocked very well."

Pino Mastroianni is the president of the Electric Vehicle Society's Windsor-Essex chapter. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Mastroianni said he believes some people have a misconception of what it's like to drive an electric vehicle day-to-day.

"It's also just a big change in terms of how they work. Different technology, different feel," he said.

The dual-port EV charging stations are being recommended at the following locations:

       
  • Parking garage on Park Street West and Pelissier Street (Two).
  •    
  • WFCU Centre (One).
  •    
  • Capri Pizzeria Recreation Complex (One).
  •    
  • Municipal lots across the city (Five).
  •    
  • Mic Mac Park (One).

According to Mastroianni, however, owning an electric vehicle as your primary car is not that different from owning a gas-powered alternative, "assuming you have a place at home to park it in ... or somewhere where you can plug it in," he said.

His hope is that council moves ahead with the report.

"We want to bring the volume of scales up for these types of vehicles so that the prices come down and dealers stock more of them to make it easier to buy. It's just very important and needs to happen." 

with files from Tahmina Aziz

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