Three of five fast charging stations along Hwy16 west of Prince George are out of service, putting a temporary crimp into the plans by the provincial government to expand the Level 3 network into the northwest.
The three stations at the Cluculz Rest Area between Prince George and Vanderhoof, at the Savory Rest Area east of Burns Lake and the Boulder Creek Rest Area west of Kitwanga and all have broken cord ends.
“These units are inoperative. Replacement cables are on order, however the latest estimated time of arrival we have for delivery is the end of December 2021,” a notice on a charging station information and location website reads.
All three stations are owned by the provincial transportation ministry which recently announced plans to add a fourth location along Hwy16 in the park and ride area just south of the Hwy16/37 roundabout in Thornhill.
The transportation ministry does add that each station has what it calls a back up Level 2 charger which charges at a slower rate than does a Level 3 one. Drivers may need to carry an adapter to use the Level 2 charger.
“The Delta cable supplier has advised us that there are serious shipping and logistics issues at their end due to global supply chain disruptions, and we can expect further delays up to several months in receiving the replacement cables,” the ministry added in a statement.
“The ministry is exploring options to resolve this ongoing issue as we recognize the importance of having fast chargers in convenient locations to help electric vehicle drivers reach their destination safely and in good time.”
The other two Level 3 charging stations along Hwy16 are in Burns Lake and in Prince Rupert and are owned by BC Hydro. No major troubles with these have been reported.
BC Hydro is set to install more of its Level 3 stations, including ones in Smithers, Houston and in Kitimat.
It won’t be installing one in Terrace, saying that the planned one by the transportation ministry is sufficient to fit in with a plan for a coordinated series of Level 3 stations spaced out along Hwy16.
Level 3 chargers, which reduce waiting times considerably compared to Level 2 ones, are being regarded as necessary to encourage more people to purchase electric vehicles.
Unlike the transportation ministry chargers which are free to us, BC Hydro charges 21 cents a minute.