Electric vehicles are great. Even better if you live in Ontario but not so much if you live in a major city.
We’re past the discussion part, electric vehicles are here and they’re here to stay. With most full EVs capable of 100 - 150 kilometres of range, these vehicles are best suited for urban living where access to charging is plentiful.
Problem is, it’s not.
In a recent story the Toronto Star reported on a local resident, Todd Anderson, who after buying a 2016 Chevrolet Volt had to install an EV charger in his front yard. His house in the downtown city core has no parking garage, or driveway even. So he finds himself needing to park on the street, in front of his house and run the charging cord across the sidewalk to charge his car.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the area of the street directly in front of his house is a no parking zone. And according to Anderson, he’s already received a few parking citations for parking his car there to charge it. The cord across the sidewalk is also a tripping hazard which also puts Anderson at risk of additional fines or litigation.
While we scratch our heads wondering if buying an EV was the right choice for this urbanite, there are issues we need to address.
Toronto city council approved a $65,000, one year pilot project where Transportation Services and Toronto Hydro would work together to install five curbside charging stations in the city. That was in 2012.
As of today, there are no stations installed stemming from this initiative. The pilot project intended to gather information on how EV drivers would use these easy-to-access curbside stations and where to put additional ones has resulted in no usable data in four years.
With provincial electric vehicle purchase rebates ranging from $3,000 to $13,000, Ontario is one of the best places to by a new EV.
Ontarians are also eligible for rebates up to $1,000 when installing an in-home EV charging station.
By the end of March, 2017, Ontario will also have the largest network of public charging stations in the country. A network that would allow an EV driver to cross the mammoth province purely on electric power, and for free.
And while it all sounds great, the problem still remains. Ontario is a great place for EVs, but living in the city core means scarce access to space for charging a car.
While public charging stations would be the interim solution, what happens when there are more cars that need charging than there are charging stations available? What happens when you need to plug in, but the only charging stations within driving range are all in use?
All things to consider before making the leap to EV for daily use in Toronto.