ELECTRIC vehicle charging stations are coming to a neighborhood near you.
Metro Vancouver has received a $75,000 grant from the Community Charging Infrastructure Fund's Planning Incentive to map out 75 to 150 charging stations in greater Vancouver.
The money will be spent to hire a consultant who will come up with a plan on where to put accessible charging stations and educate potential hosts.
"We're not actually owning any of them, we are just identifying and helping to get the word out that this program is available and educate potential hosts on what it means to own an electric vehicle charging station," said Eve Fichot, air quality planner at Metro Vancouver.
Once the plan is approved the province has earmarked another funding boost of either $4,000 or 75 per cent of the building cost to get each of the 75 proposed charging stations up and running, said Fichot. The deadline to have the stations in operation is March 31, 2013.
Private businesses such as Mountain Equipment Co-op are getting on board with the electric vehicle charging station idea. At the new North Vancouver location, that has been open two and a half months, there are two charging stations that have the ability to charge four cars simultaneously.
Since their opening Luke Penner, inventory team leader, has seen about 20 to 30 people come charge their car. He thinks the popularity will only grow. "The people I talk to, a couple of them are from the States, and I think the cars are more readily available in the States right now and I think the popularity of them is rising."
Fichot agrees and says the electric cars on the market now have a range of 130 to 150 kilometres. "Given that the technology is available and there's a growing interest in it, there is a little bit of a chicken and egg thing, and having the availability of the infrastructure will help encourage uptake," she said.
The announcement of funding for Metro's plan comes on top of the City of North Vancouver's grant approval to build five electric charging stations. The city will get $40,000 to establish and operate the stations, which should be working by next spring, said Connie Rabold, spokeswoman for the City of North Vancouver.
Meanwhile the District of North Vancouver has put forward an application to build an unspecified number of charging stations, said Stephanie Smiley, spokeswoman for the North Vancouver District.
Not to be left out the District of West Vancouver has also put forward applications to fund two charging stations at their community centres, said Donna Powers, spokeswoman for the municipality.