February 23rd, 2023

Joy Lachica, Town Councillor, poses next to a City of Peterborough Level 2 Charging Station.

Joy Lachica, Town Councillor, poses next to a City of Peterborough Level 2 Charging Station. (Photo by Lili Paradi, Communications Manager, GreenUP)

By: Jackie Donaldson, Hub Coordinator, Green Economy Peterborough

In 2022, the Government of Canada proposed new electric vehicle (EV) targets for auto manufacturers and importers. Aligned with global trends, these regulations recommend that by 2026, 20% of new vehicles manufactured and shipped in Canada must be zero emissions. Plans like these aim to accelerate the market and are a proposition of the Federal government to increase access to EVs.

Like the general consumer, business owners are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of electric vehicles. EVs have low maintenance and operating costs, protect owners against volatile fuel prices, and have high resale value. Plus, they do not emit greenhouse gases.

“From our perspective, as a business, it was a very, very good decision [to change over to an all-electric fleet],” said Jennifer Heagle, Co-owner of Red Apron, a restaurant and food delivery service based in Ottawa. “It’s a decision that we will only go forward on.”

Heagle spoke recently at “Demystifying Electric Vehicles: How to Accelerate EV Adoption at Your Business”, a webinar offered by Green Economy Peterborough (GEP). GEP is a GreenUP program that guides business participants to become more efficient, resilient, and sustainable.

Founded in 2006, Red Apron makes 150 meal delivery stops per day to locations in Ottawa. In 2018, Heagle took a chance and switched from hiring contracted drivers in conventional vehicles to using company-owned electric vehicles. With an initial investment in two EVs, Red Apron now owns five.

ShelleyStrain_creditLiliParadiShelley Strain, Sustainability Coordinator at Trent University, poses next to a Level 2 Charging Station located by Lady Eaton College on the West Bank of the campus. The hourly rate for charging is $1.50 a Trent parking permit is required as well.

ShelleyStrain_creditLiliParadi Shelley Strain, Sustainability Coordinator at Trent University, poses next to a Level 2 Charging Station located by Lady Eaton College on the West Bank of the campus. The hourly rate for charging is $1.50 a Trent parking permit is required as well. (Photo by Lili Paradi, Communications Manager at GreenUP)

Heagle finds that electric vehicles are perfect for city use and cost little to operate. Once daily deliveries are complete, she explained, they plug in their EVs and they are ready to roll the next day.

Shelley Strain, Sustainability Coordinator with Trent University, also spoke at the GEP webinar, sharing practical advice on how to install a charging station.

“The number one take-home I can give an organization on EV charger installation is that there are companies ready to set this up,” Strain told the audience. “They will come to you, tell you what you need, and take care of everything. You don’t need to be an expert to do this!”

Strain explained that before installing a charging station, business owners must understand how they will use it. Will it be for customers, staff, or fleet use? Where will it be located? What level charger is needed? These are the questions that need to be asked, she said, installing is the easy part.

There are three EV charging options. A Level 1 charge is the slowest and is obtained by plugging into a regular outdoor wall outlet using the cable provided with the vehicle. Sometimes called a “trickle charge”, this is the most common method of charging.

Level 2 and 3 chargers are found at charging stations in our communities and along our highways.

A Level 2 charger is faster than a Level 1 but still requires 4 to 10 hours to “fill the tank”. They are a great option for businesses with heavier vehicle usage and are relatively affordable to set up.

A Level 1 charging plug (left), commonly used by general consumers to charge their electric vehicles overnight, can charge an average of 200 kilometres of driving in an electric vehicle in 20 hours. A Level 2 charger (right) is faster than a Level 1, but still requires four to 10 hours to “fill the tank”. They are a great option for businesses with heavier vehicle usage and are relatively affordable to set up.

A Level 1 charging plug (left), commonly used by general consumers to charge their electric vehicles overnight, can charge an average of 200 kilometres of driving in an electric vehicle in 20 hours. A Level 2 charger (right) is faster than a Level 1, but still requires four to 10 hours to “fill the tank”. They are a great option for businesses with heavier vehicle usage and are relatively affordable to set up. (Photos: Jackie Donaldson and Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

Level 3 chargers charge quickly and are found near busy throughways. Charging at one of these stations can take 10 to 45 minutes depending on your needs and the distance to your destination. For most businesses, these costly-to-install, high-speed chargers are unnecessary.

At the GEP webinar, the City of Peterborough Climate Change Specialist James Byrne explained that the municipality collects local vehicle emissions data to help set their climate change goals. In 2020, he said, Peterborough produced 75,000 tonnes of vehicle-generated CO2 per year.

To help meet the local greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 45% by 2030, several City-sponsored public charging stations have been installed with funding assistance from Natural Resources Canada.

In a recent visit to one of the new stations, City Councillor Joy Lachica stated, “Where we can transition to EV, we should, across all sectors. We need to consider how we can do things in the most climate-friendly way we can.”

City-owned chargers are located at Del Crary Park, Memorial Centre Arena, the Simcoe Street Parking Garage, and the King Street Parking Garage. Other local charging stations can be found at Riverview Park & Zoo, Lansdowne Place Mall, Tim Horton’s, and some car dealerships.

You can find more EV charging stations using Google or EV-support apps, like Flo.

Trent University boasts a charging station that showcases it’s power supply! Two-way solar panels both absorb the sun’s rays and the light reflected off of parked electric vehicles underneath the panel.

Trent University boasts a charging station that showcases it’s power supply! Two-way solar panels both absorb the sun’s rays and the light reflected off of parked electric vehicles underneath the panel. (Photo by Lili Paradi, Communications Manager at GreenUP)

Though electric vehicles are inexpensive to run and maintain, there is an upfront cost. Interested businesses should look for financial incentives such as those provided by Canada’s Bill C-30 which states that businesses can write off 100% of an EV purchase. There are also EV charger incentives currently available to businesses through Green Economy Canada.

“Demystifying EVs” was part of an ongoing educational event series hosted by GEP to support the local transition to a green economy. Green Economy Peterborough is now recruiting business members to join their program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To learn more, visit www.GreenEconomyPeterborough.ca.