Electric vehicle charging stations installed at P.E.I. National Park

Parks Canada now has charging stations for electric cars in the P.E.I. National Park.

One station, which is located at the Dalvay Trailhouse visitor centre within the park, will be available for public use. The other will be used to charge the park's new staff vehicle, a Nissan Leaf that was purchased as part of the federal Greening Government initiative.

That program aims to transition 80 per cent of government vehicles to zero-emissions cars by 2030.

The stations were installed this winter and park staff say the public charger is now ready for visitors to use 24 hours a day.

"So if the travelling public are, for example, coming to the beach they're welcome to park beside our Trailhouse washroom building, plug in and charge the vehicle and come back to the vehicle after they've finished at the beach," said P.E.I. National Park asset manager Bill Courtney. 

Courtney said visitors are free to charge their car for as long as they need, whether "they're going for a meal or they're going overnight."

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The chargers are both Level-2 stations, meaning they may take up to eight hours to fully charge a completely drained battery.

But visitors can use it for a much shorter charging time if that's what they need, said Courtney.

'We expect to see more and more'

Courtney said Parks Canada does not currently have any rules in place for how long someone can keep their car connected to the charging station.

"If it becomes an issue about people lining up waiting to charge vehicles then we might establish, in the future, some guidelines about the maximum length of time," Courtney said.

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The organization installed the charging stations near the Dalvay operations centre in order to monitor how much it's being used and to troubleshoot any problems.

"There's not a lot of electric vehicles on P.E.I. but as the years go by, we expect to see more and more electric vehicles on the road," Courtney said.

Courtney also said Parks Canada hopes to add charging stations to more of its P.E.I. locations, like Ardgowan in Charlottetown as well as in Cavendish and Greenwich.

Those potential additions all depend on how much visitors use Dalvay's station and on its financial viability. Whether they go ahead or not, Courtney thinks this first station makes a difference.

"It certainly makes sense from a green or climate change point of view," said Courtney about both the new staff vehicle and charging stations. "And hopefully at the end of its life it demonstrates that it makes financial sense as well."

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