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Charging forward

It just got easier to reduce motorists’ cross country carbon footprints. Last month Suncor brand Petro-Canada completed its national (B.C. to Nova Scotia) electric vehicle (EV) network.

With more than 50 sites located from the Rockies to the Atlantic region, each location features DC fast chargers with both CHAdeMO and CCS/SAE connectors supporting a wide range of vehicles. The chargers can provide up to a 200-kilowatt charge; enough to deliver an 80% fill to most EVs in less than 30 minutes. Suncor worked with the Government of Canada that anted up $4.6 million to assist the project.

 With more than 100,000 electric vehicles on the road in Canada and an average of 4,000 EVs added each month, we know that this is an important step in meeting the current and future driving needs of Canadians,” says Suncor President and CEO Mark Little speaking about the company’s Canadas Electric Highway initiative.We want to be part of the total solution to meet energy demand and reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation system.”

Canada’s Electric Highway adds to the infrastructure already implemented or planned by major auto manufacturers, such as Tesla and VW.

Unknown-1For example, Electrify Canada, a  subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, has broken ground on its new national EV fast-charging network with the construction of its first location near Toronto in the Halton Hills area. The company is also partnering with Canadian Tire to create 20 EV sites to complement the retailer’s existing charging network that was developed in conjunction with FLO EV.

VW’s EV station can support charging between 50 and 350 kW. Built by ClearBlue Technologies of Toronto, plans will see as many as 32 locations constructed over the coming months in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. 

images-1All will sport CCS and CHAdeMO charging ports that are compatible with almost all models of EVs. Tesla uses its own proprietary charger, but offers kits to connect their cars to these kinds of stations. Currently, Tesla offers 64 active chargers in Canada, with 23 under construction and 11 in the approval phase. This compares to almost 700 in the US.

According to Robert Barrosa, COO of Electrify Canada, the Halton Hills site is the first step toward building out EV charging infrastructure that will make low carbon electric vehicles more practical for buyers.

With new membership plans, competitive pricing and a mobile app that makes charging with us easier than ever, we are confident that a growing number of consumers will consider making their next vehicle purchase an EV,” says Barrosa.

 Volkswagen’s Electrify Canada station includes four charging stands that use cooled-cable technology to enable fast charging, with room to build more as demand ramps upwardChargers will be intuitive, as well as informative, with 15-inch touch screen displays and credit card readers. To make things even easier Electrify Canada will be launching an app that will allow users to manage the charging session from their mobile device. App features include a station locator, payment function, and session tracking capability. Chargers are up to eight feet high to provide easier vehicle charge port access. 

Currently, Canada has about 95,000 electric vehicles (battery and battery/hybrid) and some 6000 EV charging sites with the majority in Quebec, B.C. and Ontario.


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Petro-Canada completes Canada’s Electric Highway

Milton bannerPetro-Canada, a Suncor business, has completed its coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers. With locations from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, EV drivers will now be able to travel across the country with access to a fast charge network.

“With more than 100,000 electric vehicles on the road in Canada and an average of 4,000 EVs added each month, we know that this is an important step in meeting the current and future driving needs of Canadians,” Mark Little, president and chief executive officer, Suncor, said in a release. “We want to be part of the total solution to meet energy demand and reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation system. Canada’s Electric Highway is one of the ways we are able to support the total solution.”

spark-img-3From Victoria, B.C. to Stewiacke, N.S., EV drivers can now charge up at locations along the Trans-Canada highway. With more than 50 sites located in small towns and big cities from the Rockies to the Maritimes, each site features DC fast chargers with both CHAdeMO and CCS/SAE connectors, which support a broad selection of vehicles. The chargers can provide up to a 200 kilowatt charge – enough to provide an 80% charge to most EVs in less than 30 minutes. The units are also capable of 350 kilowatt charging with future upgrades.

In a statement, the company said: “The landscape of fuelling is changing – consumers are looking for choices for low carbon fuel alternatives. Suncor and Petro-Canada will continue to work with governments at all levels to support the transition to a low carbon economy and to provide Canadians with choices for fuel.”

Canada’s Electric Highway is supported in part through $4.6 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative.

“Zero emission vehicles are critical to our clean energy future and to combatting climate change. Our government is supporting initiatives like Petro-Canada’s coast-to-coast network of EV fast chargers; putting more electric vehicles on our roads, reducing pollution and creating stronger and more sustainable communities,” said Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan.

 

Petro-Canada operates more than 1,500 retail stations and 300 Petro-Pass wholesale locations nationwide.


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B.C. gives $4 million in rebates for electric vehicle charge stations

The B.C. government is offering rebates for electric vehicle drivers who want to install charging stations at home or work.

Homeowners can get a $350 rebate to install a Level 2 charging station in a single-family home.

A $2,000 rebate is available for installation of a Level 2 charging station designed for multiple users in apartments or workplaces.

The government says in a statement that BC Hydro customers can apply for an additional $350 in a matching rebate to buy and install the equipment in single-family homes.

More than $4 million has been set aside for the new CleanBC rebate program.

Michelle Mungall, minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources, says the rebates will make it easier to switch to electric vehicles.

To qualify for the rebates, the stations must be installed and final documents submitted by March 31.


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Auto manufacturers bet big on electric. Will consumers buy in?

The headwinds buffeting the auto industry made themselves felt at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with companies confronting a slowdown in sales due to global trade uncertainty and pressure from governments to lower emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

vw-id-2380eSigns of the times at this year’s show include a slew of new, market-ready electric cars led by Volkswagen’s ID.3 compact that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

European carmakers will be rolling out new battery-powered vehicles to meet the European Union’s tougher limits from 2021 on emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. The lower limits are part of the EU’s effort to meet the targets of the 2015 Paris climate accord. China, the world’s largest auto market, is also pushing for more low-emission vehicles.

Yet it remains very much open whether consumers will want to buy electric cars, given concerns about range, lack of places to charge away from home, and higher purchase prices. Battery vehicles were only 1.8% of the European market through the first six months of the year, according to figures from industry analysts at JATO Dynamics. The cars have sold better in the high end of the market, as exemplified by Tesla’s Model S and Model X.

The argument for rolling out so many new electric cars is that consumers need to see enough to choose from before they will change their purchasing habits. Some 20 models will hit the European market by 2021, targeting 400,000 in sales, according to research firm Bernstein, in a European market of roughly 15 million cars sold annually.

Volkswagen has committed most heavily to electric cars among European manufacturers. It hopes to have a mass market electric car in the ID.3 compact, which it says will have a base price under 30,000 euros ($33,000), about as much as a similarly equipped Golf diesel.

Others with new electric offerings include Honda with the e, which replaces side mirrors with cameras, and Daimler’s Smart with restyled versions of its small cars. At the high end, Porsche is taking aim at the Tesla Model S with the Taycan, a high-performance coupe starting at 152,000 euros in Germany including value-added tax and from $152,000 in the U.S.

Ford Motor Co. says that more than half of its European sales will be electric-powered by 2022 as it unveils a premium model of its Puma crossover that uses recovered braking energy to boost acceleration.

Ford showed off the Puma Titanium X at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The vehicle is a so-called mild hybrid, meaning it can store energy from braking and coasting in a 48-volt lithium-ion battery and send that power to the wheels to assist the gasoline engine when needed.

Ford, which got a late start in developing electric vehicles, last year sold 974,856 passenger vehicles overall in Europe.

It says it will have a battery-only SUV based on the Mustang in 2020. In the meantime it is offering plug-in hybrids that combine battery power with internal combustion engines to lower emissions and increase mileage. Like all automakers, Ford is facing stricter European Union limits on average emissions of carbon dioxide starting in 2021 and must find a lower emission vehicle mix to avoid fines.

BMW’s marketing chief says giving customers a broad choice among internal combustion, hybrid and battery-powered cars is the right approach to a changing market.

Pieter Nota says the Munich-based luxury automaker delivers “power of choice” to consumers by offering “`the drive train that they want and need.” The company will add a battery-only version of its X3 SUV next year to round out conventional and hybrid versions of the vehicle. BMW is even showing off a concept car powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

BMW is relying on the mix of vehicles to comply with tighter C02 emissions requirements in Europe while competitor Volkswagen is making a big push into battery-only cars with its ID.3 coming to market next year despite currently low uptake by consumers of battery-powered cars.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz is showing off a long, sleek battery-powered concept vehicle that could join the luxury carmaker’s model lineup alongside its S-Class flagship sedans.

The Vision EQS is the latest version of the company’s EQ series of battery vehicles, which were a key theme at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

CEO Ola Kallenius said: “What we showed today is the first large-platform sedan, fully electric on a dedicated platform, so we think we can capture even more customers through having a wider offer.”

The concept, with a black LED display instead of a grille, slightly bulging wheel wells and a long, sweeping illuminated line running along the vehicle, is “a hint” of what the production car might eventually look like.

The company says the four-seater car has two electric motors that accelerate it to 100 kph (62 mph) in 4.5 seconds and an exceptional battery range of 700 kilometres (435 miles.) Kallenius declined to specify how the company achieved range beyond what other electrics currently offer.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess says his company’s massive scale will enable it to make profits on large numbers of affordable electric cars it aims to sell in the next several years.

Electric competitor Tesla has not yet turned a profit while analysts say fellow German automaker BMW has lost money on its i3 electric.

Diess told The Associated Press: “Our approach is different. We come with high volumes, we come with a dedicated platform that is only for electric cars, and we generate a lot of scale because we are investing at the same time in China, in Europe, and in the US.”


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Additional charging stations in B.C. add range for eco friendly vehicles

EV Charging Sign_Sm_071219British Columbia is making it easier to explore the province in eco-friendly electric vehicles.

The Ministry of Transportation says 12 vehicle charging sites have been completed and more are on the way.

Nine of the 12 sites offer direct-current equipment, capable of completely charging a fully depleted battery in 30 minutes or less.

Level two chargers at the other three stations, which are part of the Accelerate Kootenays electric vehicle charging network, can recharge an empty battery in two to 10 hours, depending on the vehicle.

The ministry says the completed sites include one between Merritt and Kelowna, two on Highway 3 near Hope and Osoyoos, three north of Kamloops and three in southeastern B.C.

Three more sites on Vancouver Island are located between Port Alberni and Tofino and in Port Renfrew.

The province says more charging stations on Vancouver Island and in the Cariboo, Prince George and Hazelton areas are due for completion later this summer, raising the number of stations across B.C. to more than 1,700.

The government estimates 350,000 electric vehicles are expected on the province’s roads by 2030 and Environment Minister George Heyman says that’s due to the growing awareness of the impacts of climate change.

“We’re committed to a cleaner future here in B.C.,” Heyman says in a statement.

“As part of that, we’re making zero-emission vehicles more accessible. The more electric vehicles we have on our roads, the less we pollute, and that benefits people and communities everywhere.”