Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 18, 2024
15° Cloudy
January 16, 2024
Volume 194 No. 3

Toward Net Zero: three new Electric Vehicle charging stations around the County

The County's first charging network will pay for itself
<p>The new and the old: EV Charger (2023) at Picton&#8217;s Crystal Palace (1887)</p>
The new and the old: EV Charger (2023) at Picton’s Crystal Palace (1887)

Drivers of electric cars now have access to public charging stations on Bloomfield Main Street, behind the Crystal Palace, and at the Wellington and District Community Centre.

I tested the chargers in Bloomfield and Picton and found them working and easy to use through Flo, an app I downloaded to my phone. I could also have used a credit card.

The Level-2 chargers provide approximately 40-45 kilometers of distance in an hour (depending on your vehicle) at a cost of $2.25 per hour. They are limited to four hours per session. They use a standard J-1772 connection, which is nearly universal now (Teslas need an adapter, supplied with the vehicle).

This kind of charging is ideal for parking and exploring. To this end, I must say that the Bloomfield charger is perfectly located, right on Main Street in the midst of the retail and restaurant strip. While I was charging, I visited the post office and the library.

Both the Picton and Wellington locations are out of the way. It’s a long walk to the shops from both locations. However, Julianne Snepsts, the County’s Program Supervisor for Community Services and Initiatives, points out that these locations are destinations for longer visits, such as hockey games, playgrounds, or walks along the Millennium or Picton Harbour trails.

“I’ve already heard feedback from Dukes fans who plan to plug in while watching the game,” she notes.

While charging at home overnight is most cost-effective for EV owners, public options are crucial both for local community members and for visitors travelling a longer distance. In any case, the $5.35 for a hundred kilometres of range from a County charger beats gas. You need 10 litres at roughly $1.43 per litre to travel that distance.

The County has coordinated its efforts with other communities in Eastern Ontario in an effort to maximize use of chargers. They are placed along well-travelled routes.

Some finishing touches are coming to the charging sites, including beautification, seating and signage that indicates local attractions within walking distance.

The County installed the chargers through a grant received from the Charged for Change program delivered by Earth Day Canada, funded by Aviva Insurance. This made the installations cost-free to the County, which owns the chargers and sets the prices. The Flo network has guaranteed a 98 per cent “up time,” and will maintain the chargers under warranty.

In setting the prices, the County makes sure that the electricity used is paid for and any profit is directed to a reserve fund for future charging infrastructure.

A DC Fast Level-3 charger for Picton’s King Street parking lot is in this year’s budget, with 75 per cent of installation costs covered by a grant. The electrical infrastructure is already in place here, the legacy of an earlier charger. It can deliver hundreds of kilometers of distance in the same time that the Level-2 chargers deliver tens. The municipality is currently exploring options to install publicly accessible Fast chargers at other location in the County, including Wellington.

This would be a game changer, but only in sufficient numbers. Local EV drivers would not necessarily have to install Level 2 chargers at home, any more than a home would install a gas pump. Visitors from further away would be confident in being able to fill up in decent time, and move around the County with ease.

An EV charging network in the County is a small step toward a net-zero future.

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 3 edition of The Picton Gazette
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