Program plugs into cost-saving incentive
Thunder Bay, Ont. — The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission has started the second intake phase of the Plug-in Thunder Bay program which aims to increase the availability of charging and hydrogen refuelling stations.
Kirsten Kabernick, the project co-ordinator with the development commission, says one of the critical barriers to electric vehicle (EV) adoption is just overcoming the electrical upgrades that may be required for some sites.
“Organizations that are looking to install EV chargers that don’t have the infrastructure would have to consider the electrical installation as well as the purchase of the unit,” Kabernick said. “We are seeing some shipping delays in the unit as well as an electrical contractor shortage in Thunder Bay.”
Kabernick outlined the benefits of businesses moving ahead of the game with installation of EV charging stations, especially with the funding aid from the Plug-in program.
“This program is great because it offers a 50 per cent cost (saving) incentive if they were to install as an early adopter now, versus waiting a couple years,” she said. “There would be increased costs having to pay 100 per cent themselves in the future whereas now they could get 50 per cent covered.”
Kevin Marostica, sales manager with Marostica Subaru, says their company identifies EV technology as the way of the future and were one of the local businesses to take advantage of the first phase of the Plug-in program.
“It’s important to us as a business to get ahead of the game,” Marostica said.
“We are a progressive-thinking business and the truth is, EVs are here to stay. We wanted to not only be able to offer our customers electric vehicles but also a place to come and charge them when they’re on the road.”
Marostica added that having EV charging stations at their business will encourage EV owners to stop and charge their vehicle while enticing them to peruse the lots for vehicles.
“This is a learning experience and this is new to us. It was important for us to get on it early so that we can help serve our customers to the best of our capabilities,” he said.
Marostica Subaru was one of 44 businesses that were part of the Plug-in program’s first phase, which is funded by Natural Resources Canada through the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission.
“This is the second intake of the program, (which began in 2021), and we’ve committed all the funds from the last intake,” Kabernick said. “The program will run similarly to last time in terms of eligibility, program structure, type of costs that are being covered, with the only difference being having all the chargers installed by the end of this year.”
Kabernick noted that by the time both phases of the program wrap up, Thunder Bay should have upwards of 70 EV charging stations installed at various businesses and locations, plus the addition of privately owned EV charging stations already installed on their own.
Applications for the funding program will remain open until the funds are committed.
Go online at gotothunderbay.ca/plugin to learn more about the Plug-in Thunder Bay initiative and how to access funding through the development commission.
Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal