Houston getting new electric vehicle charging station

Using provincial and federal grants, along with the financial participation of local governments, the 55 stations will cost more than $1 million

Houston is in line to get a new electric vehicle charging station, part of a network of 55 such stations following last week’s announcement that completes the financing for their purchase and installation.

Using provincial and federal grants, along with the financial participation of local governments, the 55 stations will cost more than $1 million, helping to fill a gap in the central interior, along Hwy16 east of Prince George, into the Nass Valley and on Haida Gwaii.

The Northern Development Initiative Trust has also committed $192,000 to the network project called Charge North.

These are to be Level 2 chargers which can charge a vehicle’s batteries in approximately two to four hours.

Each station will cost a participating local government $5,000 and the District of Houston approved the expenditure last year in anticipation of the complete financing package for the network.

An electric vehicle charger station would not be new to Houston — the District has hosted one for several years near the visitor centre at Steelhead Park but it is a Level 1, requiring more time to charge a vehicle.

The installation of the chargers will be managed by the Vancouver-based Community Energy Association which has worked with participating local governments over the past several years to put the wide-ranging project together.

Janice Keyes from the association says the next step is to secure contractors for the work.

“A request for proposals and site planning will take place in fall/winter 2020, followed by site assessments and installation in spring/summer 2021,” she said.

One of the ideas behind the Level 2 is to attract electric vehicle owners from away so that they’ll be encouraged to spend time in each participating community while their vehicle batteries are being charged.

Whether or not drivers will pay to use the Level 2 stations will be a decision for each participating local government, said Keyes.

“Level 2 stations use a small amount of electricity and most communities do not charge drivers at Level 2 stations,” she said.

”There is little revenue associated with it and they would rather have tourists actively choosing to charge at their station. For example, the average cost of a Nissan Leaf is approximately $0.50 for one hour of charging.”

The District has not been charging vehicle owners to use the existing Level 1 charger. It’ll be removed once the Level 2 charger is in place.

Also in the electric vehicle charging station enterprise in this region is the provincial transportation ministry and BC Hydro who are planning their own network of Level 3 chargers which can charge a vehicle’s battery in under an hour. The closest such one already in place is at the Boulder Creek highway rest stop west of Kitwanga.

Here’s a complete list of where the Level 2 chargers will be installed:

Here’s a list of where the chargers will be installed:

* 100 Mile House (two stations)

* Ashcroft (two stations)

* Barriere (two stations)

* Burns Lake (one station)

* Granisle (one station)

* Haida Gwaii – Masset (one station); Tow Hill (one station); Sandspit (one station); Queen Charlotte (one station)

* Houston (one station)

* Kitimat (two stations)

* Logan Lake (two stations)

* McBride (four stations)

* Nisga’a Nation (five stations)

* Prince George (12 stations)

* Prince Rupert (two stations)

* Quesnel (two stations)

* Smithers (two stations)

* Stellat’en First Nation (one station)

* Stewart (one station)

* Sun Peaks (two stations)

* Terrace (two stations)

* Valemount (two stations)

* Vanderhoof (two stations)

* Village of Hazelton (one station)

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