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PoCo pilot may pave way for more charging stations
Electric vehicle owners in Port Coquitlam will now have a place to charge up their cars besides their own homes.
Out of 35 sites identified for potential electric vehicle charging stations in the municipality, only Vancity Credit Union’s Shaughnessy Street branch took advantage of a provincial grant program, which paid up to $4,000 to build the infrastructure.
Maureen Curaton, Vancity’s green business manager, said the company sees the PoCo charging station as a pilot project that could eventually lead to an expansion of the program to other branches.
“We are going to measure the usage and see if this is something that is helpful,” she said. “If it is, we are certainly interested in putting in more at our branches.”
Curaton said the company, which already has an electric vehicle charging station at its Kitsilano branch, is also considering adding the equipment at its Vancouver head office, where more than 700 employees work.
Last year, Metro Vancouver was given a $75,000 grant from the province to study and identify potential locations for electric vehicle charges stations across the Lower Mainland; 75 sites were located and three have been built in PoCo, although two are located at car dealership service centres and are not open to the public.
Andrew Wood, PoCo’s director of engineering, said despite the low take-up rate with the recent grant program, the city anticipates more businesses will follow Vancity’s lead.
“There is going to be growing interest,” he said. “We are seeing some of that interest out there.”
Wood added that while the city hasn’t ruled out the possibility of installing its own electric vehicle charging stations in the future, for now, it is looking to local businesses to take the lead. “Wait-and-see is where we are at,” he said. “The market will probably dictate some of those amenities.”
A PoCo city staff report identified one reason many businesses may not have been able to take advantage of the recent provincial grant program. The compressed time frame between the release of the consultant’s report in October 2012 and the deadline for construction in March 2013 did not give many businesses enough time to study the issue and install a charging station.
“A longer time frame would have allowed for a more detailed consultation process with the potential sites,” the report said.