A string of communities along Highway 11 could see a series of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations go up if an application from Lakeland Holding Group of Companies in Bracebridge is approved by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
NRCan is making more funding available under its Zero Emissions Vehicle Infrastructure program and Lakeland Holding is considering applying for funding that would bring a network of charging stations to communities in both the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts.
Jennifer Montpetit, manager of Lakeland's Advanced Planning and Communications department, says the deadline to apply for the funding is June 22.
Montpetit says Lakeland has been reaching out to communities like Sundridge, Magnetawan, Burk's Falls, Parry Sound, Huntsville and Bracebridge to “discuss the potential of an EV charging network.”
“It's been incredible. We're getting nothing but positive comments and interest,” Montpetit told the Nugget.
“It's amazing. I've had a tremendous response and am encouraged by it.”
Montpetit says EV charging station infrastructure is expensive and, without financial help from NRCan, “it's not possible” to put the infrastructure in place.
“NRCan funding helps make sense of it,” she said.
One Level 3 charging station can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 and installation can add another $30,000 to the bill.
Montpetit says a Level 2 charging station is cheaper, where the infrastructure can go for several thousand dollars and installing it can cost a further $10,000 to $15,000.
A Level 2 charger gives the owner of the electric vehicle 30 kilometres of driving distance for every hour of charging and, depending on the type of electric vehicle, a full charge may take six to 14 hours.
Montpetit says a Level 3 charging station uses a higher voltage and a 30-minute charge gives the owner a driving range of 100 kilometres.
A vehicle plugged into a Level 3 charging station is fully charged in one to four hours.
Lakeland has been investigating EV charging stations since 2018 and has several in place in Bracebridge and Parry Sound, including three Level 2 stations at its Bracebridge operations which are used by the company's employees.
In determining the level of interest for the EV charging stations among the municipalities, Montpetit says “we're looking for locations that make sense.”
“We're not going to put charging stations in municipalities where no one is going to use them,” she said.
“Just like with any business model, it has to make sense for the business and community.”
Montpetit says the funding stream from NRCan that Lakeland is looking at is not for residential home charging.
She says it's for businesses, as well as for people who would charge their vehicles on public streets.
Because the project is in its initial stages, Montpetit says at this point it's not known exactly how many charging stations would go into the communities interested in them or the locations.
“The number of charging stations depends on what the towns are looking for and where it makes sense to put them,” Montpetit said.
NRCan will put up to 50 per cent of the funding.
The federal government wants light-duty vehicles with zero per cent emissions to make up 10 per cent of sales in that category by 2025.
By 2030, zero emitting light-duty vehicles would make up 30 per cent of sales and hit 100 per cent of all sales by 2040.
NRCan identifies light-duty vehicles as fleet vehicles owned or leased by organizations to carry out business operations or activities.
It gives a fleet made up of taxis as an example of a light-duty vehicle.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget