Original Published on Aug 17, 2022 at 11:31
By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Northern Sunrise County in northern Alberta recently installed two Level 2, dual port electric vehicle chargers as part of the updates of the municipal office.
The community has not yet activated the chargers, however; they have two Charge Point CT 4000 systems in place for tourists, community members and others to utilize in the near future.
County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Cindy Millar explains that the municipality chose to install the chargers prior to grants being available from provincial and federal funding. She explains the Level 2 chargers were the recommendation of the electrical contractor for their addition and renovation of their building.
“Administration is currently researching how other municipalities are handling EV chargers if they have or will be installing, possible rates and to develop policy if there are policies required,” says Millar.
Not just lacking in the northern part of Alberta, EV Charging stations are all but non-existent.
With only a few Level 2 charging stations scattered at various Peavey Marts, municipal buildings or hotels across the vast northern part of the province, the infrastructure is in need of development. With Northern Sunrise County choosing to install their two chargers they’ve increased the landmass that EV drivers can travel in the province.
This is also a notable achievement with Federal Government regulations that will see the majority of new automobiles sold in the country electrified by 2040.
Even though the chargers at the county office are not yet active, they have caught the attention of EV drivers in the area.
Peace River, AB, resident and Hyundai Kona driver Wanda Laurin says it’s great to see Northern Sunrise County take the initiative to install chargers to further boost their county office’s renovations, noting that the chargers will help boost tourism to the region.
“I am happy that a northern municipality has taken the initiative to begin installing infrastructure for electric vehicles,” says Laurin. “Having the infrastructure will encourage EV owners to stop and stay for a while as they charge.”
Laurin notes that she usually stops in High Prairie and then Slave Lake at the Level 2 chargers to top up to get to Edmonton. (Note: this is all dependent on range of each individual electric battery capacity.) She says there are no fast chargers between Peace River and Edmonton, so there is no quick “top up”. These Level 2 chargers permit her extra time to spend time in the towns, often utilizing their various services while she uses their charging systems.
“I have adjusted my habits to adapt to the longer layover,” she says. “I check my emails, take a walk on their lovely trail systems, go have a meal, do a Zoom meeting, whatever I would have done before leaving on my trip.”
Laurin explains Level 2 chargers are not super fast (only 6.5 to 7.5 kilowatts per hour) and the weather and wind can impact how long she has to charger, however; she has more time to enjoy what communities have to offer that she wasn’t able to explore before.
“I just use google maps to tell me how far my next destination is, my car tells me the range my batteries will take me,” she says. “I charge until I have about 30 km extra in order to get to my destination without range anxiety. Once (at my location), I’ll get a quick charge for around $20 and I am golden.”
Laurin says that she hopes more municipalities follow suit and install chargers in their communities to increase the tourism opportunities for EV drivers, who are increasing in numbers every year.
The county cannot give a timeline as to when their chargers will be in operation, but administration is working to find the answers they need to swiftly have them useable.
This item reprinted with permission from South Peace News – southpeacenews.com, High Prairie, Alberta