Vancouver takes next step to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure

March 14, 2018 (Vancouver, BC) Today Vancouver City Council approved the recommendations made in the Electric Vehicle (EV) Ecosystem Program Update, which focus on accelerating EV adoption, growing the public charging network, and ensuring that EVs can be charged at all new residential parking stalls. The actions will help reduce carbon pollution and improve air quality by increasing opportunities for residents to move away from fossil fuel vehicles in Vancouver.

Council has approved the recommendation to update requirements for new multi-unit residential buildings to increase EV-ready residential parking stalls from 20 per cent to 100 per cent, as well as expand charging station infrastructure across the city, and develop a preferential parking policy for zero emissions vehicles.

“Council’s approval of a massive expansion in electric vehicle charging will help reduce car pollution and make transportation more affordable,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vancouver is a leader on clean transportation and with today’s decision we are now one of the first cities globally to require new residential buildings to be 100 per cent EV ready. This is another example of how we are taking action to be 100 per cent renewably powered by 2050.”

Vancouver is one of the first cities in North America to adopt a 100 per cent EV-ready policy for all new multi-unit residential buildings. The increase in home charging infrastructure aims to support the growing number of Vancouver residents that want to plug-in an EV now or in the future.

The previous requirement of 20 per cent EV parking spots meant a limited number of residents had access to an outlet. The cost of adding charging infrastructure in the construction phase of a building is much lower than retrofitting a building later on, which will save residents up to $3,300 and avoid the more complex process of increasing electrical capacity in the future. Since 2014, the existing requirements have resulted in approximately 20,000 EV-ready stalls in buildings.

The update also informed of the plan to add more DC fast charging points across Vancouver, which can provide up to 200km of range in an hour. The goal is to put all Vancouver residents within a 10 minute drive of a DC fast charging station by 2021. Already, there are plans for a new DC fast charger to be installed at Science World, on E. 44th at Fraser Street, along Richards St., and an expansion of the number of DC fast chargers available at Empire Fields in east Vancouver. BC Hydro will also be adding DC fast chargers at their head office and in Kerrisdale.

There are currently over 250 electric vehicle charging stations across Vancouver, and the City owns and operates 72 of these public plugs. Over the coming years, there will be an increase in public charging infrastructure so that as more people choose electric, the expanded network is ready.

Electric vehicles sales are growing steadily, with about 70 per cent growth every year since 2011 in Vancouver, the first year that mass market electric vehicles were available. As more manufacturers start making zero emissions vehicles and second hand vehicles circulate in the market, the number will undoubtedly grow. By expanding home and public charging infrastructure, Vancouver’s charging network will make a world of difference to those thinking about an electric vehicle.

The City has committed to reduce emissions from vehicles, outlined in Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy, by investing in transportation infrastructure to improve options for moving around the city by foot, bike, transit, and, when a vehicle is needed, supporting the transition to EVs.   

To learn more about the Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Strategy visit Vancouver.ca/EV.