Two businesses in the Terrace area and one in Kitimat are installing fast-charging electric vehicle stations thanks to $800,000 in provincial government subsidies.
The Circle K/Esso in Thornhill, the Kitsumkalum First Nation-owned Kasiks Wilderness Resort on Hwy16 between Terrace and Prince Rupert and the Circle K/Shell in Kitimat are all having two Level III stations, of two charging ports each, installed with in-service dates scheduled for next May.
Costs for each of the Circle K installations is $420,857 with each location to receive a $200,000 subsidy, while the Kasiks installation is $630,764 buffered by a subsidy of $400,000. The three northwestern installation locations are part of a package of 44 announced by the provincial government.
Also on the installation list are locations in Coquitlam, Nanaimo, Surrey, Mission, Port Alberni, Summerland, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Richmond and Victoria.
Placing fast-charging stations along more remote locations in the province is intended to encourage more people to buy electric vehicles and take them on longer journeys, knowing they won’t run out of power.
Fast chargers allow electric vehicle drivers to drive approximately 100 to 300 kilometres from 30 minutes of charging.
In addition to private charging facilities in this area, Prince Rupert already has a BC Hydro fast-charging installation, there’s one owned by the provincial highways and infrastructure ministry in the car park area just south of the Hwy16/37 roundabout and a second one, owned by the ministry, at the Boulder Creek rest area west of Kitwanga.
BC Hydro is also placing an electric vehicle fast-charging installation in Kitimat and just two weeks ago completed civil and underground works in preparation for installing the chargers and electrical equipment for public use early next year.
While BC Hydro charges to use its stations, the provincial highways and infrastructure ministry does not.
As for the stations at Circle K and Kasiks Lodge locations, a statement from the provincial energy ministry indicated that subsidy applicants aren’t required to indicate whether there will be a fee to use their chargers.
A separate program called Charge North, which is financed by the provincial and federal governments with contributions by local governments throughout northwestern B.C. and down into the Cariboo, is installing a network of Level 2 charging stations.
Vehicles take longer to power up on a Level 2 charger but the intent is that drivers and their occupants take the opportunity to shop, eat and sight-see in the meantime.
As of March 2022, the provincial government states there are more than 3,000 public charging stations in B.C., including more than 750 fast-charging stations. The province has also passed legislation requiring all new light-duty vehicle sales to be zero emission vehicles by 2035.