Driving an electric car in Langley will soon be much more convenient for motorists.
In just a few months, the Township will begin installing six new electric vehicle charging stations at five different locations — two at the civic facility (one public and one for staff and fleets), one at the operations centre for fleet vehicles, one at W.C. Blair Recreation Centre for public use, one at Walnut Grove Recreation Centre for public use and one at the Langley Events Centre for public use.
The stations are being funded in part by the Community Charging Infrastructure Fund, which is providing up to 75 per cent of the cost (with a maximum of $4,000 per station) to install 570 stations across the province by March 31, 2013.
The Township will pay $39,850 of the $63,850 total for its six stations.
“This is something that the Township sees as supporting our official community plan to foster alternative energy use and also objectives within our sustainability charter,” said Ryan Schmidt, environmental co-ordinator with the Township of Langley.
“That’s one of the reasons why we are proceeding, another reason is transportation-related emissions in the Township are the highest out of any source — 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide in a year. That’s about $250 million a year spent in fuel, which is about $2,500 per resident in the Township of Langley,” he said.
“We see this an an important step in the transition away from fossil fuel based energy for transportation.”
The Level 2 charging stations will all be located near the main entrances to the facilities and the parking stalls will be dedicated to plug-in electric vehicles. Only one vehicle can be charged at a time and it will take anywhere from six to eight hours for a full charge if the car is completely empty. Doing a quick charge for one and a half or two hours can give a 25 per cent top-up, which allows about 30 km of driving, Schmidt said.
This is just the beginning of Metro Vancouver’s plan to create a regional network of electric vehicle charging stations across the Lower Mainland.
According to the Community Energy Association, by 2020 there will be 10,000 to 20,000 plug-in electric vehicles across Metro Vancouver and 130,000 by 2030.
Other municipalities such as Vancouver and Surrey have already had stations installed.
“Electric vehicles are coming,” Schmidt said. “It’s a slow market penetration for them, but this project that the province is leading I think will help the uptake. It’s that rising anxiety that we need to address. People are worried about being stuck out and about without a charge. I think the presence of electric vehicle charging stations throughout Metro and throughout the province will help that.”
The stations will also help to change attitudes about driving and make a difference in our environmental footprint, Schmidt said.
In 2007, 135 million trips were made in the Township of Langley, with 114 million in personal vehicles, three million via transit, 12 million by walking trips, one and a half million through cycling trips and four and a half million were in commercial vehicles.
“If we’re going to address transportation-related emission, we need to be looking at alternative technology in vehicles and getting people out of them altogether and on to bicycles or transit or other forms of transportation,” Schmidt said.
“Electric vehicles are not really the silver bullet in addressing transportation admissions, but they are seen as a part of the solution.
“There could be other technologies and other modes of transportation that are better or come along, and that’s great, too. To address and solve this issue we are going to need various solutions.”