A proposed pilot project is in the works for the city that would see 100 charging stations for electric vehicles. The plan, going to council’s executive committee next Tuesday would see them both public and private locations.
“We don’t have very many electric cars in our city, so this is not about serving that small group of people that have electric cars,” said Coun. Michael Walters. “This about creating that infrastructure that will actually align with the marketplace.”
The report suggests that the transportation sector contributes to 30 per cent of Edmonton’s green house gas emissions, so this is a way of reducing that. Walters said if Edmonton can get things going, that could prompt the feds to add more, and the province to add on top of that.
“And then we have an opportunity to work with the private sector, businesses that may want to have a charging station outside of their business because it then draws in customers to work with them to co-sponsor a certain number more than that. Those are the steps we have to take.”
The chicken and egg approach Walters argued is needed to serve demand that isn’t there now, but should be in future years. “As we show leadership and willingness to develop a strategy, the likelihood that that company is going to come here is higher. If there’s a company out there that wants to dominate the electric car charging station market, and they see Edmonton as a city that’s taking leadership on that and is trying to move that ball down the field a little bit, I think they’re more likely to come here and invest in our city.”
Pollution Probe did a poll, both here and in Calgary and heard a lack of charging stations in the city as a big reason people are shying away from diving into the electric car market. The other two reasons are the high purchase cost, and a range for the vehicle to travel that’s not long enough. Walters said the questions he’s heard are based on why council is worried about only a handful of people who have electric cars?
“It has nothing to do with those people,” he said. “It has everything with the fact that we only have 150 people with electric vehicles registered in the city of Edmonton. That’s the problem. We need to have the infrastructure to grow that number.”
After councillors debate the plug-in report at committee, the item will go to the full council for budget talks, however at this point the pilot does not have funding so it could be delayed indefinitely.
The report is here at item 6.6