New electric car charging stations will be coming to Golden in the coming months with the Accelerate Kootenay’s continuing plan to install more stations throughout the Kootenay region.
The Community Energy Association facilitated the project and it is Canada’s first community-driven, collaborative strategy to build a clean transportation network. The full network will transform the entire Kootenay region from one that has limited access to electric vehicle charging stations to one of the better connected regions in British Columbia.
The stations will be installed by the Cenotaph near Town Hall and will include one fast charging station, which charges in around 20 minutes, and multiple level two stations, which charge cars in a couple of hours. Many different partners have come together to help fund the stations with the town contributing $1,000.
Megan Lohmann, head of Community Energy Management, says that the charging station will be a big benefit for the community.
“The opportunity for tourism will increase,” she said. “Electric drivers often choose to design their trips around access to charging and the Kootenays were a gap in that opportunity.”
Lohmann says it’s an opportunity for local government to demonstrate leadership and to say they want the benefits of local tourism and economical development.
“As a result more people will purposefully be coming to your downtown and having to spend some money while their vehicle charges by being out and shopping downtown.”
Manager of Development Services/Planner Phil Armstrong says the location is a perfect spot for the charging stations.
“The partners have been great by allowing Golden to pick a location that’s central to our two downtowns,” Armstrong said. “Stations will go by the parking lot right by the cenotaph and the bridge, accessible to the main downtown and the south downtown.”
Currently there are four charging stations in Golden at the Travelodge on the main highway. However, those are specifically Tesla charging stations and only Tesla models can be charged. The new charging stations will be for all models.
While there are not a lot of electric vehicles in the Kootenay region, Lohmann says that is because of two main reasons. The perception of range anxiety with many people not wanting to risk driving with no charging stations around, and the second reason being the supply of electric vehicles at dealerships. There are only two dealerships in the Kootenays that are franchised to sell electric vehicles and Lohmann says that there needs to be more engagement with auto manufacturers and dealerships to get more supply here. Since the beginning of the Accelerate Kootenay’s project, the list of interested buyers at the two dealerships has grown exponentially.
Right now, the closest fast charger to Golden is located in Revelstoke, with the next closest in the Accelerate Kootenay network being in Cranbrook. This coming week, both Radium and Canal Flats will be opening charging stations as well.
The completion date of the charging stations have not yet been announced, but Armstrong says to expect them within the coming months.
Plans for the stations were first brought to the council in June of 2017 and the motion was passed that council direct staff to establish a partnership with the Acccelerate Kootenays project to bring a budget amendment forward. At the December 5 Town Council meeting, the council passed the budget amendment resolution and authorized the license of occupation be granted to BC Hydro.