Wednesday, June 12, 2024
June 12, 2024

Opinion: Fire hall charger a great result

By JIM STANDEN 

The Salt Spring Island Electric Vehicle (EV) Group congratulates the Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District for the successful negotiation with BC Hydro for the installation of the electric vehicle DCFC charging system (“Fire district agrees to new EV charging station,” March 6 Driftwood).

Pay-for-use DCFC charging on our island has been the top priority of the EV group for the last two years and we are pleased that our reaching out and lobbying with BC Hydro helped pave the road.

Our initial meetings with BC Hydro revealed that DCFC installations along numbered highways were their number-one priority, which makes sense. By providing some additional information, we were able to steer them to the needs of smaller communities and the possibility of a test-dip to one that has a lot of EVs (estimated 450 owners, based on the most recent ICBC stats) and is located near Vancouver and Victoria. Salt Spring then moved from “not on the five-year installation list” to a higher priority, which led us teaming up to investigate possible locations and approaching local business partners.

The new DCFC stations fill an important gap. Even though our community is blessed with 18 currently free public chargers and, according to the CRD, 10 additional chargers are planned for the Ganges area, DCFC provides an additional unique service: very fast charging. This is required for the busiest of our high-demand vehicles that may need a quick boost during the day.

That could include taxi and delivery vehicles, but in the near future, other uses, which could include hospital, public transportation, RCMP and emergency vehicles that are now coming to the market in EV format. The vehicles have a much lower cost of operation, which draws the attention of government and agency bean counters.

There is also another need, and that is tourism. I have personally received messages from day-trippers coming to Salt Spring who did not bring their EV to the island as they were concerned about getting in “tourist time” and then taking a few minutes to obtain a fast charge to get back home.

Other uses are an alternate way to charge your vehicles if your Level 2 port is damaged, or for homes where Level 2 charging is difficult or impossible to install. For those uses, think of DCFC charging as the gas station model (pay and fill).

The centrally located DCFC chargers will be a welcome solution to the above challenges, and probably some additional ones that will reveal themselves.

Thank you, Fire Chief Jamie Holmes, the fire hall board and the negotiation crew for a great result.

The writer is the team lead for the Salt Spring Island Electric Vehicle Group.

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1 COMMENT

  1. EV charging stations are FREE?? Who is covering costs? Why isn’t there free gas or diesel? Let’s be fair. EV owners are getting a FREE ride. Not fair. Our gas taxes are paying for this?

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