Hamilton opens first electric vehicle chargers in core

Hamilton opens first electric vehicle chargers in core

Electric vehicle owners can now top up their charge in the city’s core.

Two charging stations were officially unveiled at the York Boulevard parkade on Tuesday, though Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr said they’ve already had one car using them since they were installed a few weeks ago.

Previously, drivers would have to use their own at home or one of the seven charging stations in other parts of the city, including at the North Wentworth Twin-Pad Arena in Flamborough. Both the downtown and Flamborough stations use Sun Country Highway chargers.

Farr said there a couple dozen electric vehicle owners in Hamilton.

Across Canada, there are close to 3,000.

The charging stations are an area-rating capital funded project, costing approximately $14,000 for both units and their installation, said Farr. Each station costs approximately $2,000. The cost of installation can vary depending on how far the charging station is from the main source of electricity.

Sanders-Lampman Electric, one of the city’s electrical contractors, handled the installation, said Sebastian Stula, from the city’s Hamilton municipal parking system, in an email. He said the equipment will be maintained by the Hamilton municipal parking system.

The cost to charge up at one of these stations is approximately 70 cents per hour, said Stephen Bieda, Sun Country’s Ontario regional director, who attended the unveiling.

It would take between three and five hours to fully charge a typical car, but he added most people will be topping up rather than doing a full charge at the parkade station, where they will also pay hourly city parking rates. According to the City of Hamilton website, the hourly rate is $2.50, daily it is $6 and monthly is $80.

Right now, the cost to fill up is being picked up by the city, though Farr said they’ll take a look at how the project is going in a couple of months and reevaluate.

Peak and off peak hydro rates apply to the charging stations, Farr said. The estimate of 70 cents is based on 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

If a 30-ampere charging station – the kind installed at the York parkade – operates at full capacity for six hours a day throughout the year, the cost would be $1,533 at 10 cents per kilowatt hour, Farr added in an email.

Based on current statistics from electric vehicle users in the United States, the average driver travels approximately 50 kilometres a day, using 10.4 kilowatt hours, which is equivalent to a 90-minute charge on one of the York parkade stations, Farr said. The electricity cost would be $1.04 at 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

The councillor said the argument for this project is similar to that in support of LRT — the city needs to start thinking about the future.

“Certainly the word ‘progressive’ is one that I would associate to this project,” he said, noting electric vehicles may one day overtake previous alternatives, such as hybrid vehicles.

Bieda said electric vehicles are good for the environment, and for the economy. Installing a personal charger would require an electrician, and the switch to electric vehicles would sustain jobs in the hydro industry.

Sun Country vice-president Christopher Misch said more research and development is being put into electric vehicles than gas vehicles.

“The infrastructure’s there,” he said. “There’s electricity everywhere.”

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