The Regional District of Nanaimo and local municipalities are looking to install 12 level two electric vehicle charging stations throughout the region by next spring.
The RDN received a provincial planning grant from the Community Charging Infrastructure Fund and Fraser Basin Council to identify locations for two stations each in Parksville and Qualicum Beach and one each in Lantzville and the seven electoral areas.
Chris Midgley, RDN manager of energy and sustainability, explained they are working on a long list of possible locations and will start to evaluate and whittle down the list next week.
The long list includes a wide variety of publicly accessible locations where people are likely to stay for an hour or more from RDN facilities like Oceanside Place and Ravensong Aquatic Centre to municipal facilities, parks and commercial and retail locations, especially those with a tourism and/or economic development aspects.
“We recognize we are a transportation hub with the ferries and highways up island and to the west coast,” he said, so they would like to make it convenient for tourists and travelers passing through in electric vehicles.
They are looking for highly visible locations and intend this as the start of an extensive network for the seemingly inevitable increase in electric vehicles.
The level two charging stations are 240 volt, medium speed chargers that take three to eight hours to charge highway-worthy electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius.
Midgley adds that some of the local partners may develop the level two stations in coordination with plug-ins for NZEVs (neighbourhood zero emission vehicles) like golf carts, scooters and the slower vehicles allowed on Qualicum Beach streets.
Midgley praised Qualicum Beach as a regional leader with electric vehicles and mayor Teunis Westbroek said in a news release he likes the regional planning approach.
“By working together we can create a useable network of charging stations and expand the options for electric vehicle linkages up the east side of Vancouver Island and west to the coast,” he said.
While the RDN is currently looking to establish 12 stations, Midgley points out that there’s nothing stopping other organizations or businesses from applying for funding and establishing others.
The City of Nanaimo also earned a similar, separate grant for 12 locations within city limits.
“We recognize there is a transformation coming, and more and more electric vehicles will be on the road,” said RDN chair Joe Stanhope.
“As a transportation hub and tourism destination, the RDN and our municipal partners are staying ahead of this transition by planning for 24 new Level II charging stations in the Region.”
Parksville mayor Chris Burger highlighted that “the preservation of the natural, pristine environment in which we live will only be enhanced by providing the infrastructure to support this and future green technologies.”