Sunday, July 21, 2024

Public Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Coming to Meaford

Meaford council has authorized municipal staff to submit an application to the EV ChargeON program in hopes of bringing public electric vehicle charging stations to the municipality.

Launched by the provincial government in October of last year, the EV ChargeON program will provide funding to municipalities for the installation of public use electric vehicle charging stations. Seventy-five percent of the total project costs can be covered by the program for successful applicants.

The Provincial Government opened the EV ChargeON Program 2023-24 in late October to provide funding for the installation of public electric vehicle chargers in Ontario communities outside of major cities. The funding deadline is January 31, 2024. The program allows for 75% total project costs for municipalities and indigenous communities, and 50% total project costs for other applicants to a maximum amount depending on the number and type of EV chargers identified for installation through the application,” staff informed council in a report presented at council’s January 29 meeting.

Meaford’s council has identified electric vehicle charging stations as a priority in their 2023-2026 strategic priorities which were finalized late last year.

As part of the 2023-2026 Strategic Priority process EV Chargers were identified by Council as a priority in urban Meaford. Through the discussion to develop the project charter it was identified that this project was time sensitive and should be implemented as soon as possible to allow for residents and visitors to have access to a public EV charging station,” noted the staff report to council.

Calls for public charging stations in the municipality and throughout the county have increased in recent years as electric vehicles have become a larger portion of the new vehicle market. The report to council noted that Grey County is also applying to the EV ChargeON program with plans to install charging stations throughout the county including two Level 2 chargers in Meaford.

The County of Grey has partnered with the counties of Bruce, Dufferin, Huron and Perth, the City of Guelph and the Nuclear Innovation Institute to develop a regional EV Charging Network Strategy. As part of this partnership they are looking to install a minimum of four Level 2 chargers in Meaford at the parking lot located at 22 Trowbridge Street East. As part of the project they are applying for the 2023-24 EV ChargeON grant funding. The Municipality has no involvement other than to provide a land lease for the EV chargers at no cost for a 10 year period,” informed the staff report. “Based on the available grant funding and County project an evaluation of EV chargers and locations was completed to identify a recommendation for a municipal project. Staff are recommending applying to the EV ChargeON Program 2023-24 to install two 100kW Level 3 charging stations at the proposed 28 Nelson Street West parking lot.”

The cost to install EV charging stations is significant. Staff told council that to install two Level 3 100kW chargers would cost an estimated $285,000; $35,000 for engineering, $100,000 for hydro upgrades, and $150,000 for the charging station infrastructure. The EV ChargeON program would cover $225,000 of the cost, leaving the municipality to fund $71,250 of the cost.

The funding available through the EV ChargeON Program 2023-24 grant is the most significant grant funding available to municipalities. Previous grant funding available only covered 50% of the total cost and some required installation of a significant number of charging ports. With the additional funding, the cost of Level 3 chargers becomes more economical for the Municipality,” staff noted in their report.

The EV ChargeON program requires that the chargers must be installed and operating for a minimum of five years, and they must be publicly accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Staff told council that the 100kW chargers “will provide the most cost-effective option for the Municipality for a Level 3 charger based on the cost estimate above. This is as a result of the higher grant funds available for this style of Level 3 charger. To ensure maximum funding is received a contingency will be included with the grant application to ensure the Municipality applies for the full amount of grant funding available in case there are any unforeseen costs related to the project.”

The cost to users of the chargers will be determined after staff have conducted a review of local rates being charged in other municipalities, and the rates for Meaford’s chargers will be re-evaluated following the first six months and one year, based on actual usage.

A service provider has not yet been decided upon, however staff advised council that options will be reviewed following completion of the grant funding process.

EV charging companies typically provide similar services with slight variations in product and customer support once the EV chargers are installed. Following completion of the grant funding the Municipality will complete a thorough review of the available options to determine the best approach. As this product is very technical, the procurement process could be overly complicated. Therefore, staff are looking into the option of utilizing the Canoe Procurement Group of Canada instead of completing the procurement process in house. Through this program the competitive bid process is already completed allowing for reduced staff time at no cost to the Municipality. The program also allows for group buying power which typically results in lower costs than the Municipality would receive. The Canoe program could also allow for consistency with charging units in local municipalities including stations in City of Owen Sound, Town of Collingwood and Town of the Blue Mountains,” staff advised council. “As electric vehicles are a growing market it is difficult to identify future needs within Meaford. Once EV chargers are installed in Meaford usage will be evaluated to determine if additional units are required and the type of units that are needed to meet the demand in Meaford for this infrastructure.”

Council voted 7-0 in favour of authorizing the submission of an application to the EV ChargeON program.

 

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