Surrey is expanding its network of electric vehicle charging stations, and this farsighted move will assist with a major transition ahead.
Both the federal and provincial government have ambitious plans to change the use of transportation fuels from fossil fuels, which are carbon-intensive, to electric and other technologies.
The federal government wants to end the sales of new cars using fossil fuel by 2035, and B.C. wants to end such sales by 2040.
For this to come about, much preparation has to be done at the local level. There must be a good supply of electricity; there must be a network of charging stations throughout the community; and fast charging must be possible at homes.
Cities can’t do much about the supply, but can be leaders in expanding the number of charging stations. Surrey can also ensure that new homes have ready access to a power supply that enables fast charging. Since 2019, new developments have been required to have electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The city recently announced an expansion of its network of charging stations. It currently has 50 charging stations available for public use, out of a total of 81. Sixteen more will be installed this year.
There is no lack of demand. In 2021, there were 7,354 electric cars in Surrey – up from 313 in 2013, when the city installed its first charging station.
Demand for charging is up dramatically. By 2021, energy dispensed through the city network was up 15,000 per cent from its modest beginnings in 2013.
B.C. has the highest proportion of electric cars in Canada – in 2019 and 2020, about nine per cent of total sales were electric vehicles. At a time of record high gas prices, those who are fortunate enough to own such vehicles sail serenely past gas stations posting prices in the $2 per litre range.
The growing number of electric vehicles in Surrey actually makes quite a difference.
In Surrey, 39 per cent of all emissions come from passenger vehicles, so every 10 per cent increase in the fleet reduces emissions by close to four per cent.
How much does it cost to use the public charging system? If you are doing business at city hall, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can use a public level 2 charger for free for the first hour. The same applies at the city’s public works facility at 6651 148 St., from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Level 2 chargers take about four to six hours to fully charge a vehicle. After the first free hour, each hour or portion there of costs $5.
Other charging locations cost $2 for the first hour, and $5 per hour after that.
Level 3 charging (also known as DC fast charging) is also available in some locations. It costs 20 cents per minute in the first hour, and 40 cents per minute after that. Level 3 chargers can charge a car to about 80 per cent within an hour.
The fees for both rise after the first hour to encourage turnover.
Frank Bucholtz writes twice a month for Peace Arch News and at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca