More electric vehicle charging stations are coming to Chatham-Kent.
During last week’s council meeting, council unanimously passed a motion to approve a contract for $169,411.86 for the turnkey supply and installation of 14 Level 2 EV charging stations.
The contract was awarded to ChargerCrew Canada Inc. and funded by the Green Energy Initiatives Reserve. This leaves approximately $544,763.71 in the Green Energy Initiatives Reserve.
In 2020, Natural Resources Canada launched the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program to address the shortage of charging and refuelling stations in Canada. The $680M initiative delivers the funding through cost-sharing contribution agreements for eligible projects that avail charging stations in public places, multi-unit residential buildings, workplaces, and vehicle fleets.
NRCan’s contribution through the ZEVIP covers 50 percent of the total project costs, to a maximum of $5,000 per Level 2 charging port.
In the fall of 2021, administration was advised of the success of Chatham-Kent’s project. Shortly after, interdepartmental and external consultations occurred in an effort to secure a third-party investor who would cover the unfunded portions of the project costs. As this did not prove successful, and in order to leverage the available NRCan funding, the report recommends the Municipality of Chatham-kent proceed with the project and cover the remaining project costs.
According to the report that went before council, one of the primary barriers to EV usage is the lack of sufficient EV charging infrastructure, which leads to range anxiety.
Currently, there are 14 privately-owned charging stations in Chatham-Kent, with some being accessible to the public.
“Adding the proposed seven municipally-owned charging stations in Blenheim, Chatham, Dresden, and Wallaceburg will augment employee and resident access to EV charging infrastructure and incentivize the switch to EVs from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs),” read the report.
The planned locations of the municipally-owned EV charging stations were strategically selected to achieve the following:
1. Provide easy access to both municipal staff and public members.
2. Offer users work and recreational destinations besides the charging amenities.
3. Target high-traffic areas and expected increasing charging infrastructure utilization.
Of the seven proposed charging stations, four would be located in Chatham, while Blenheim, Wallaceburg and Dresden would also receive a station.
Huda Oda, Manager of Waste, Recycling, and Climate Change said because these are Level 2 chargers, people need to be doing something while their vehicles charge.
“We looked at places and lots that are municipality-owned that attract tourists, so we looked at places where people could work or play,” she said.
Staff from Economic Development, Engineering and Transportation, Municipal Assets, and Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries have been consulted on the feasibility of the locations of EV charging stations. The locations have been refined based on input from said staff.
Consultation is also underway with staff from Entegrus Powerlines to determine any deficiencies in the existing infrastructure at the planned EV charging station locations. Though unexpected, should any major issues be identified, charging station locations may be modified accordingly.
The project is planned to be implemented between July and November of 2022. The civil and electrical work is to be completed by the end of August, while the installation and commissioning of the EV charging equipment are to be completed in the fall. The timing of the installation isaffected by the current supply chain delays and dependent on the delivery of the charging equipment.
There are a number of expense items related to operating and maintaining EV charging stations, which will be brought to Council in the 2023 Budget Process.
One of the potential operational expenses includes Electricity Consumption Expenses. As EV charging stations draw electricity to be used, there will be increases in energy consumption costs. The Project Team, in collaboration with Partnership Development, are exploring sponsorship opportunities to cover these costs. According to the Municipality, this will allow the municipality to provide the charging service free of charge to the public, at least for the foreseeable future.
There is also a Cloud Plan Fee. ChargePoint, the hardware and software producer of the charging stations, charges a fixed fee per port to maintain a cloud plan. The cloud plan allows owners to access real-time data about the usage, status, and financial details of each port.
ChargerCrew’s turnkey solution includes a one-year cloud plan.
In addition, there is also a Banking Service Fee. This fee only applies if the municipality will charge users for utilizing the equipment. It covers ChargePoint’s costs in handling the banking services and financial transactions on the municipality’s behalf. This fee is approximately 10 percent of the charged amount.
Maintenance costs are expected to be minimal, as the equipment is robust and can well withstand high charging traffic and adverse weather. ChargerCrew’s turnkey solution includes a one-year parts warranty. Hence, the recommendation to create a lifecycle reserve and transfer incremental funds dedicated to the upkeep of EV charging stations.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, THE RIDGETOWN INDEPENDENT NEWS