A cure has been found for range anxiety in the Kootenays.
That’s because a new public electric car charging station, purchased and installed by Nelson Hydro, has just been installed on Baker Street near the CPR station in Railtown.
It’s part of an initiative to get enough charging stations across the Kootenays so electric vehicle drivers don’t have to worry about running out of power. (“Range anxiety” is common parlance in electric vehicle circles.)
“This is a cohesive collaboration strategy to bring electric vehicles, first as tourists, and later on to transform our market so that locals can purchase and maintain and service electric vehicles,” said Trish Dehnel, who co-ordinates the project known as Accelerate Kootenay.
Nelson’s new car charger is a Level Two charging system, which takes two to four hours to charge a vehicle. Dehnel says one of the side benefits is that travellers will have a few hours to explore Nelson and spend money here while waiting for the car to charge.
The station can charge two cars at a time. Eventually there will be a cost, but as part of the city’s attempt to encourage electric vehicle usage it will initially be free.
Accelerate Kootenays plans to have 40 Level Two systems across the Kootenays by the end of the year. Nelson will receive one more, but its downtown location has not yet been decided.
The group also plans for 13 Level Three systems that will charge a car in a half hour. Those will be restricted to Highways 1 and 3, and will charge only pure electric vehicles, not hybrids.
Accelerate Kootenays a project of the Community Energy Association, which Dehnel describes as “the trusted independent advisor to local governments in emission awareness and reduction.”
The car charging network project is funded by the Federation of BC Municipalities, the three local regional districts, the Columbia Basin Trust, and the government of B.C., and it receives in kind assistance from BC Hydro and FortisBC.
Nelson Hydro funded and installed the Baker St. charger at a cost of $36,000 which included provisions for special event power at the foot of Baker Street.
Dehnel says the public charging stations nearest to Nelson are in Castlegar, Trail, and Rossland. There is one in Salmo that will charge only Teslas, for which drivers of other models would need an adapter. Dehnel says one goal of the project is for a network of charging stations that can be used universally by all electric vehicles.
In addition to the new public charger on Baker St. there is a charger at Nelson Commons for use only residents and shoppers.
There are also a few at private residences, and Dehnel says, “there will be some showing up at campgrounds because at campgrounds you can charge your RV, but you would have to be staying at the campground.”
The website Plugshare.com has an interactive map of all electric vehicle charging stations in North America.