Ottawa is injecting $9.5 million to add fast-charging stations in Quebec

Ottawa is announcing a $9.5-million investment to install 215 fast-charging stations for electric vehicles by the end of 2022 across Quebec.

Heritage Minister Steven Guibeault made the announcement on Wednesday in front of charging stations in the Laval Cosmodome parking lot.

The minister tipped his own hat and noted that he came to the announcement "in my company car which is 100 per cent electric".

The federal money represents a little less than half of the total investment required. Hydro-Québec will chip in $10.7 million.

"The increase in the number of charging stations brings us closer to our objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Guilbeault.

Il est maintenant plus facile de rouler électrique! Grâce à cet appui de @RNcan, 215 bornes de recharge rapide pour #VÉ seront ajoutées à celles du Circuit électrique d’ici la fin de 2022. Près de 65 % de ces bornes sont en service et peuvent déjà être utilisées par le public. https://t.co/jSVEJeS9M5

— Hydro-Québec (@hydroquebec) July 28, 2021

FEDERAL REGULATIONS TO COME

Although recent Statistics Canada data shows that the electric vehicle fleet represents less than 5 per cent of the total fleet, Guilbeault said that these figures hide the fact that electric vehicles represent 8 per cent of sales in Quebec and 12 per cent of sales in British Columbia.

"Why?" he asked. "Because they are the only two provinces that have put in place incentives from a financial point of view, but also from a regulatory point of view for the use of electric vehicles.

We're going to move forward with regulations on the use of electric vehicles because it works."

PRIVATE SECTOR ACTION NEEDED

Quebec currently has some 2,000 charging stations, of which only 500 are fast-charging stations. Hydro-Québec's goal is to deploy 2,500 fast-charging stations by 2030.

Hydro-Québec's director of transportation electrification, France Lampron, said that 5,000 to 7,000 fast-charging stations will eventually be needed to serve the estimated 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.

Hydro-Québec, however, does not intend to shoulder the entire infrastructure investment burden.

"We expect the private sector -- and we're seeing it more and more, the oil companies, the retail businesses that are investing in fast-charging -- to also contribute to this goal," said Lampron.

Hydro-Quebec's electrical network is starting to be respectable, the Crown corporation said.

"If you look at a map of Quebec, you will see that there is a charging station at regular intervals everywhere on the network," said Lampron. "What we are doing now is to increase the density. A few years ago, we installed one terminal per site, now we have four terminals per site and up to six terminals per site.

"What we want to do is to reassure electric vehicle owners that they can drive around Quebec with complete peace of mind."

R&D FOR 'ULTRA-FAST' CHARGING STATIONS

Guilbeault also announced a $1.264-million grant to Hydro-Québec for the research and development of ultra-fast charging stations.

This $3 million-plus project already has contributions from Quebec and Hydro.

Current charging stations provide 50 kilowatts of power, which increases to 100 kilowatts for fast charging stations.

The goal is to explore the possibility of reaching 125 or even 150 kilowatts.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 28, 2021. 

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