Curious Comox Valley answered: Who pays for the electricity being used to charge EVs at public charging stations?

Thanks to all of our readers who submitted questions for the Curious Comox Valley.

Following the online vote, the top question, submitted Myra D. of Comox was: Who pays for the electricity being used to charge electric cars? You see free charging stations and our hydro to keep our homes running keeps increasing.

Here’s the answer: According to Neil MacEachern, program manager of sustainable transportation for Plug In BC, a program of the Fraser Basin Council, the cost of electricity at free Level 2 (240 volt) charging stations is generally covered by the business hosting the charging station.

He said while many of the Level 2 stations – which on average, give electric vehicles a range of about 35km per hour of charging – are free to use, many require drivers to join a service network to access the stations. Members are offered various ways to authorize the use of a charging station, such as scanning a member card at the desired charging station.

MacEachern noted the host generally offers the free charge as a way to encourage people to frequent their business.

The infrastructure costs to install a Level 2 station vary, and are generally covered by the host or business. MacEachern said a non-networked station could cost between $1,000 to $2,000, while a networked one would be a bit higher – somewhere around $6,000.

He explained now most public charging stations tend to be networked ones, as it provides individual tracking of usage.

Additionally, there are DC Fast Charging stations, which are located throughout the province and provide up to 80 per cent of a vehicle charge in 20 minutes or less. These are significantly more expensive to install and operate and as such, have user fees. Some, however, such as provincially-funded ones are free.

While the charging station network is expanding throughout the province, MacEachern added the majority of charging for electric vehicle owners is done at home.

“Think of it as cell phone charging – you plug it in overnight and it’s ready to go in the morning.”

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Thanks to all the readers who submitted questions. Do you have a question you would like answered, or is there something you’ve always wanted to know? Submit your questions on anything that makes you go ‘hmm’ beginning tomorrow, July 12 at 9 a.m. on or visit our Facebook page and click on Curious Comox Valley.

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