FortisBC unveiled two of 12 new Direct Current Fast Charge stations in Kelowna Monday. The pair at the Kelowna City Airport are part of the province’s bigger plan to create more electric vehicle accessibility across the southern Interior.
The new supercharger stations will be able to recharge an electric vehicle in 20 to 30 minutes, compared to three to four hours at a conventional charging station, said Doug Stout, Fortis’s vice president.
He says charging up shouldn’t take longer than getting a cup of coffee at the local café.
“We’re laying [charge stations] out across the southern Interior and they’re really designed for those long trips, so you can pop in and charge your car quickly on a long trip and carry on again. It takes away that range anxiety people talk about.”
Fortis says it’s planning to build up a robust grid of charging stations across the province.
Similar stations are planned for Beaverdale, Osoyoos, Cawston, Nelson, Kaslo, Rossland, New Denver, and Nakusp.
40 by 2020
The company says it will operate and maintain the stations, with the help of funding from all three levels of government. Stout says the plan is to have 17 superchargers in the Kelowna-Creston-Princeton service by the end of this year, with 40 in place by the end of 2020.
“I think it makes the decision [to buy an EV] a lot easier. [The provincial government] topped up some more funding into the EV program. But there’s been a huge uptake and they actually have gone through most of the funding already.”
To extend the program, starting June 24 the province has reduced its portion of EV consumer rebates from $5,000 to $3,000.
Federal rebates take another $5,000 off the cost of EVs, and $2,500 off plug-in hybrids.
Ottawa also increased the vehicle value limit from $45,000 to $55,000 to increase buyer options.