Thursday, February 2, 2017

Quebec’s Electric Circuit Stations Plug Forward With Increased 2016 Usage

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy



The province of Quebec has been one of the most aggressive regions in Canada implementing an electric vehicle culture. In 2015, Quebec’s provincial Liberal government pushed forth a $420-million plan to greatly electrify the roadways that target the presence of 100,000 electric-propelled vehicles in the province by 2020. Along with extending incentives that result to an amount as high as $8,000, plans also take into account a need for a significant increase of publicly-accessible charging apparatuses for promoting electric vehicle travel.

In the first full year since Quebec’s transportation ambitious push for battery-powered vehicles, the province's major power station provider unveils encouraging signs that a large-scale adoption of electric cars is on a path of progression. During 2016, the use of Electric Circuit charging stations was recorded to be 146% higher than the previous year. In total, 114,261 charges took place over the 12 months of last year at the pay chargers within the Electric Circuit network.

A service launched by Hydro Quebec in 2012, Electric Circuit charging stations operated on a rate system varying on the type of charge being performed. Standard 240-volt chargers are rated with a $2.50 flat fee or at a $1 hourly rate. For the fast or rapid charging stations, a $10 per hour rate is billed on a minute basis. Access to the Electric Circuit terminals is obtained through a reloadable money card or through the service’s app at some stations. Electric Circuit has reported the app are rapidly becoming a preferred payment method by customers.

Contributing partly to the sharp growth in electric car plug-ins at Electric Circuit stations is the addition of 218 new charging locations created from December 2015 to December 2016 translating to a 38% rise. The vehicle charging infrastructure in Quebec includes a rapidly increasing number of fast-charging terminals. Hydro-Quebec reported the presence of fast-charge stations have grown from 29 to 66 in just 2016 alone. The count exceeds a planned 60 fast-charge stations the province announced in late 2015. By 2020, Electric Circuit’s objective is to offer 2,500 locations for electric vehicle charging. In addition to Quebec, plans are to expand their electric vehicle charging network into the neighbouring province of Ontario along major highways.

The increase use of Electric Circuit charging stations is accompanied by the realization that plug-in, electrified vehicles are becoming more prevalent in Quebec. Roughly 13,200 electric or plug-in hybrid automobiles are now registered in the province at the end of last year. The number of registered electric cars requires a charging station is a one-year increase of 63% from a total of 8,322 vehicles in 2015. The continuing growth plans of the electric charging infrastructure in Quebec will be imperative to the needs of the existing plug-in cars as well as additions to the battery-powered vehicle population. Auto manufacturers pushing to diversify their powertrains are already providing a justifiable means for increased electrical charging terminals by means of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3 and an announced electric sport utility from Ford.

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