BC Hydro Expands Charging Station in Coquitlam

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50 kilowatts of power sounds like a lot, but when it comes to EV charging, what that means depends on who you ask. When there’ s nothing else available, it’s a whole lot better than a 6 kW Level 2 station (or worse, an RV park). But, compared to a 250+ kW station and a car that can pull all of that power, it’s pretty awful. Also, where it is matters, because if you’ve got the time to waste and the price is right, it could be a decent option.

If 50 kW sounds terrible either way, we also have to keep in mind that we’re facing an onslaught of new EVs in the next few years. In most of North America, we’re already behind on infrastructure, so every station (assuming it’s reliable) helps

That’s why I think it’s good news that BC Hydro recently expanded its fast charging site in Coquitlam, even if it’s only adding two new 50-kilowatt charging units. This at least puts the total at the site up to four, so that people passing through are less likely to need to wait and then wait again if they need to charge at this site. Plus, it’s located at a grocery store, so Canadian drivers are probably going to have a spare hour anyway.

“This expanded site with four chargers will make public charging more convenient for electric vehicle drivers in Coquitlam,” says Selina Robinson, MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville. “The site is located in a busy commercial area and will support EV drivers with access to reliable charging while they shop.”

The expansion has been a long time coming. The Coquitlam site was built in March 2018, and in terms of the growth of the EV charging network, that feels like eons ago. So, it’s definitely high time the company did something, even if that means adding capacity and not power.

“This expanded charge site will help British Columbians get to where they need to go more quickly and reliably, all while using clean energy,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “More electric chargers bring both environmental and economic benefits as we work towards lowering our climate-changing emissions 40 per cent by 2030.”

The company also made some changes other than the chargers themselves. The renovated location features a curbless design and lower displays on the new chargers, making for better accesibility.

“B.C. has one of the largest public electric vehicle charging networks in Canada, but running out of power with no place to charge up, especially on longer trips, can still be a worry for people,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Together with BC Hydro and other partners we’re continuing to expand our public charging network to reduce range anxiety and encourage more drivers to make the switch to an EV powered by B.C.’s clean electricity.”

Another good thing is that this expansion is part of a larger plan. In September 2021, BC Hydro revealed its Electrification Plan, which aims to motivate people, businesses, and industries in the province to transition from fossil fuels to hydro-power for transportation and other needs.

“As the primary fuel supplier for electric vehicles, we are building out charging infrastructure to ensure we can accommodate the volume and variety of electric vehicles that will be on B.C. roads in the coming years,” says Chris O’Riley, President and CEO of BC Hydro. “BC Hydro will have 325 charging units in its network at 145 sites by the end of 2025.”

Featured image provided by BC Hydro.

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