Use of B.C.’s electric car charging stations doubles in past year

1,300 electric vehicles now on road in B.C. following expansion of public charging locations

An electric car charging station at the Surrey Arts Centre.

An electric car charging station at the Surrey Arts Centre.

More drivers are plugging into B.C.’s public electric vehicle charging stations, according to new statistics.

BC Hydro subsidiary Powertech Labs says the usage of 350 charging stations it tracks has more than doubled in the last year.

It recorded 3,745 charging sessions in August, up from 1,684 in the same month a year earlier.

The data doesn’t cover all stations – another 200 locations aren’t tracked by Powertech.

“From the individual station data so far, the busiest stations appear to be in high-traffic hubs, especially in urban and suburban malls and downtown shopping areas, including those in smaller towns,” said Jim Vanderwal, senior program manager at the Fraser Basin Council.

Vanderwal notes that there are many quieter stations on the network that only see one or two people plugging in each week, but that is to be expected at this early stage.

He said there are now 1,300 electric cars on the road since the first one arrived in B.C. two years ago.

“We expect all stations to see more use by business travellers, tourists and local residents over next few years as the EV (electric vehicle) market expands. Communities and businesses in BC recognized early that charging stations are an important infrastructure investment.”

The Fraser Basin Council and Powertech Labs are participants in Plug in BC, a province-led initiative to lay the groundwork for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The province helped public and private sector organizations buy and install EV charging stations across B.C. for public or fleet use in 2012 and 550 Level 2 charging stations have been operational since mid-2013.

Use of the stations will be tracked over the next several years, Vanderwal says. While it’s difficult to predict the growth of electric vehicles in B.C., he says it is useful to keep an eye on the experience south of the border.

B.C.’s position today is similar to Oregon’s in 2012, which at the time had about 1,400 electric vehicles, 700 Level 2 charging stations and 10 fast charging stations. Oregon now has one of the highest per capita electric vehicle sales of all states, and the number of EVs on the road has increased by more than three times since 2012.

Factors for the state’s growth include the extent of the charging network (both Level 2 and fast charging), vehicle incentives and consumer interest in electric vehicles.

Vanderwal added a growing choice of places to charge up is helping increase the comfort level of prospective buyers of electric vehicles.

“We are now seeing an average of over 50 charges per week at our sites,” said Oskar Kwieton, a spokesman for a property management firm that runs several shopping centers in the Lower Mainland that host EV stations, including Brentwood Town Centre and Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby, Highstreet and Parallel Marketplace in Abbotsford and Jericho Village in Vancouver.

“There has been positive feedback and increasingly strong uptake by customers since we installed the chargers last year.”

This summer also saw electric car maker Tesla open its first supercharger station in B.C. at a shopping centre in Squamish.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Zahra Rayani-Kanji of Heart Pharmacy, Sidney Pharmacy manager James McCullough, and Naz Rayani, owner and founder of Heart Pharmacy, join sisters Becky Brigham and Judy Costanzo outside the business. Sidney Pharmacy has become the sixth Heart Pharmacy outlet in Greater Victoria after its purchase from Brigham and Costanzo. Their parents, Frances and Jim Brigham, first opened the business in 1959. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney Pharmacy changes ownership, but retains family tradition

First opened by Frances and Jim Brigham in 1959, Sidney Pharmacy is now part of Heart Pharmacy

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past warned of Öffnungsdiskusionorgien (translated as an orgy of discussions about openings), one of one of the 1,200 words added to the German lexicon as reported by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)
German lexicon grows by 1,200 words, many inspired by COVID-19 pandemic

Öffnungsdiskusionorgie (orgy of discussions about openings) among new entries

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read