Glen Garry is on the Victoria Electric Vehicle Club board of directors, with a mission of moving drivers out of GHG burning automobiles and into electric vehicles. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Drivers are ‘ICE-ing’ electric car charging spots in Greater Victoria

Region needs more electric charging stations, driver says

There’s a lot of etiquette when it comes to parking in an electric vehicle spot.

Sometimes, it’s bad etiquette, like parking a Tesla in a short-term electric vehicle spot.

Or the ultimate sin, when drivers intentionally park their internal combustion engines (ICE) in dedicated electric vehicle (EV) charging spots.

EV drivers called it ‘getting ICEd.’

It happened to Oak Bay resident Valerie Irvine this summer on a visit to Oak Bay municipal hall. Most days, Irvine ensures her 2011 Leaf is fully charged enough for the day’s needs but on a particular visit to the hall, she hoped to use one of Oak Bay’s two EV charging spots. One of the charging spots was free but a man beat her to it and parked his gas powered truck instead.

The Plugshare app shows where the nearest electric vehicle charging station is.
(Plugshare screenshot)

“I politely asked him if I could park there and he belligerently swore and walked off into municipal hall,” Irvine said. “He said, ‘it doesn’t say I can’t park there.’”

In fact, it is legal to ICE a car in Oak Bay as the EV charging spots are for any type of car. To keep Oak Bay’s pair of level two chargers in the municipal hall parking lot relatively free, they are limited to 30 minutes.

That said, a lot of proper etiquette often goes unseen, however, such as when an electric vehicle driver opts to leave their car in a regular parking spot. Generally speaking, Tesla drivers are among the electric cars you won’t see in the local parking spots dedicated to car charging, said Glen Garry of the Victoria Electric Vehicle Club (VEVC).

“These types of spots are mostly for short range vehicles that need it,” Garry said. “You won’t see a Tesla in one of these charging stations, since they have a range of 400 kilometres.”

READ MORE: B.C. adding fast charge stations for electric highway

It’s all part of the shift from ICE vehicles to EVs, which is going to be a major component in reducing the carbon footprint of British Columbians. Incentives for EVs in B.C. are about $1,500 for short range and $3,000 for long range.

The solution is not just more EV cars and public EV chargers, the latter of which are on their way across B.C., but also the addition of level two and three home chargers, Garry said.

A level two (30 amp, or 240 volt) is about $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the house electric set up. Using the level one (standard 120 volt) charge of a home plug isn’t realistic for longer range.

“It’s actually extremely cheap,” Irvine said. “And it supports a shift. If we don’t want to go extinct, we need a shift.”

The province and B.C. Hydro are also each offering $350 incentives (for a total of $700) towards the purchase of an EV charger in a single-family home. BC Hydro is also offering greater incentives for chargers in multi-unit buildings and workplace organizations.

Garry sits on the VEVC Board of Directors and also leads the Government Engagement Committee. The VEVC aren’t just a car club, they are a well-oiled organization with a mission to accelerate the adoption of clean transportation and energy. They have worked with planners at the city, provincial and federal government levels as advocates of clean vehicles.

“The majority of our daily carbon footprint is our car and our home heating,” Garry said. “If you can find a way to heat (or cool) your home without oil, and commute without gas, we humans take a huge step forward.”

As for Oak Bay, there are a few chargers around, but not many. Oak Bay Beach Hotel has some, but they are reserved for patrons. University of Victoria needs more (academics tend to be leaders in innovation). Hillside mall’s are often co-opted by ICE cars and non-charging EV cars (faux pas). Fairfield Plaza could really use some, Irvine added.

You might hunt for the nearest charger on the Plugshare app (which charts all the plug-in stations). But there’s no knowing if it’s free.

Tesla is in the process of putting their own network of fast chargers in Canadian parking lots, though they are Tesla specific. Petro Canada is also introducing level three “fast chargers” (15 minutes or less) with one coming to the Elk Lake station. BC Hydro and the province are also adding stations.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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