Surrey opened up its first DC Fast Charge (DCFC) station for electric vehicles on Nov. 4.
The new station, located near the Surrey Museum in Cloverdale, just off 176 and 56A Ave, has the capability to fully charge an electric vehicle in approximately 30 minutes and is the first one of its kind south of the Fraser River.
Anna Mathewson, sustainability manager for the city of Surrey anticipates the station to be “quite busy.”
“We have already seen quite a bit of use at this Surrey Museum station, including drivers coming up from Washington state,” said Mathewson, who also pointed out the station’s strategic location. “It was located at the crossroads of Highways 10 and 15, in part to address the charging needs of travelers moving both north/south and east/west.”
Ride along the “Green Highway”
The new station was installed as part of the “West Coast Green Highway,” a network of electric vehicle charging stations located every 40 to 80 kilometres along Interstate 5 and other major roadways in the Pacific Northwest, extending from Vancouver to Baja, California. Its location makes it the last place to recharge before entering the United States, or the first recharging point for Americans entering Canada.
Bruce Stout, president of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association said charging stations placed at regular intervals are essential for anybody who wants to travel in their electric vehicles.
“Most of the electric vehicles that are available today have approximately 100 kilometre range, so to drive from anywhere in Vancouver to Whistler in one go isn’t possible,” said Stout. “So a half hour charge to 80 per cent capacity offered in Squamish is fantastic.”
While there are only about 700 electric vehicles currently registered in B.C., Bruce Hayne, Surrey city councillor and chair of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee said the New Car Dealers Association of BC is targeting electric vehicle sales to be “somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 per cent of car sales by 2020.”
Hayne acknowledged the “infrastructure before demand” dilemma facing the city
“It’s sort of like the chicken and the egg,” said Hayne. “Do you have the infrastructure in place to support it [first]? Or do you have the vehicle demand out there first?”
Mathewson said that while there is some demand for DCFC stations in B.C., the main goal right now is to work on establishing the EV system now so more people will make the switch in the future.
“This is really more the city planning ahead and putting the infrastructure needed to encourage the uptake of EVs in Surrey and the region,” said Mathewson. “We know that for some drivers, ‘range anxiety’ is an issue and they need the comfort of knowing they can charge their vehicles while out in the community. So the city sees these stations — both the Level 2 and new DC Fast Charge — are being part of that initial infrastructure to encourage the uptake of low-emission vehicles.”
What recharging options are currently available in Surrey?
Currently, there are 14 public Level 2 charging stations in the City, which can fully charge a vehicle in about four hours. Hayne said there are two more DCFC stations planned for Surrey in the near future.
“Those will be rolled out in the early part of the new year,” said Hayne. “There will be one in City Centre near city hall and then probably one in South Surrey. At this point we’re still working out details of what the best location for that one will be.”
Installing charging stations is just one of the steps being taken by the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A bylaw was passed last year which requires that every new gas station or retrofitted gas station in Surrey must have an alternative fuel source in addition to gas and diesel to encourage the use of alternative fuels in the city. City vehicle fleets are also being converted to natural gas as part of the Community Climate Action Strategy.
Stout is confident more people will continue to make the switch to electric vehicles due to lower costs and smoother performance.
“Once you’ve gone for a test-drive in an electric vehicle, you’ll be sold.”
For more information on sustainability initiatives by the city, click here.