A local expert says it’s “good practice” for municipalities to privatize the management of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
Jim Hindson of the Victoria Electric Vehicle Association made that statement when asked about Sidney’s recent decision to prepare a request for expressions of interest (REOI) from third parties concerning the future of Sidney’s local charging network for electric vehicles, a move that could see EV owners paying to charge up.
“It would be good practice for a municipality to contract out a service for which it does not have the in-house expertise or support capability,” he said, adding that this selection process should be competitive and in accordance with purchasing policies.
Hindson said his organization supports fee-based charging to pay for electricity and discourage “opportunity charging” where owners of EVs plug in their vehicles even if they do not require a charge.
“At this point in EV adoption, free charging is not considered to be a significant incentive to EV adoption,” he said. “I am not aware of fee-charging being a factor in isolation of more important factors such as the availability of different makes and models, financial incentives, and access to home charging in multi-unit residential buildings.”
Paid charging models either charge owners by time or by energy consumed. Hindson said charging by energy consumed is best, but Measurement Canada, the federal agency in charge of measurements, currently does not permit it.
Hindson said the major issue with the time-charging model is variability. Different EVs will charge at different rates based on make and model, ambient temperatures, and the state of the battery, he said.
“Other issues are if the fees for charging are by ‘connected hour’ or only when charging,” he said. “The EV club supports reasonable fees for the energy that is being received in addition to any parking fees that may apply, for example in paid parking lot.”
Looking at the bigger picture, Sidney would be best served by a plan would make EV charging at public facilities consistent with the type and use of the facilities, with the proviso that not all facilities require EV charging.
“EV charging is expected to be provided in many private and public sector locations,” he said. “The best practice is for the municipalities to amend their zoning bylaw to provide for EV charging infrastructure in new construction and use the zoning amendment as a guide to providing EV charging at current facilities.”
Sidney operates four Level 2 public charging stations at its town hall in Parking Lot F (Third and Bevan), Tulista Park and Iroquois Park. BC Hydro also operates a fast-charging Level 3 station at Bevan and Seventh.
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