ABOUT CHARGE NORTH - PROJECT HISTORY
Across Canada, electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure installation and EV adoption have been concentrated in urban centres. Yet, it is the rural regions of Canada that have the highest transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, the fewest options with respect to active transportation and public transit as alternatives to personal driving, and communities with services that are often spread out and designed around automobiles.
In 2018, the Community Energy Association presented local governments with a unique opportunity to work together to address regional greenhouse gas transportation emissions. The concept was based on CEA’s experiences in facilitating Accelerate Kootenays, Canada's first community-driven, clean transportation network, and Peaks to Prairies, in southern Alberta.
Six regional districts responded and began to explore how a regional approach to installing EV adoption would advance shared priorities around economic development, enhanced tourism, and lowering emissions from transportation.
These 6 regional districts partnered with CEA to complete a Charge North Feasibility Report feasibility report that was funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and outlined a network that would allow residents and visitors to travel to and within the region in an EV. This report subsequently informed the locations for fast-charging infrastructure in the region that is being installed by BC Hydro and the Government of BC.
Today, Charge North is facilitated by the Community Energy Association together with an Advisory Committee made up of representatives from the regional districts and the Northern BC Tourism Association.
CHARGE NORTH COMPONENTS
An effective electric vehicle charging network balances community benefits with driver needs. This means charging stations are conveniently sited located for both visitors and local residents to use while contributing to the network as whole. Both the total number and distribution of charging stations should address ‘range anxiety’ and create a network that is robust and reliable.
Charge North is leading the planning and installation of Level 2 stations, working closely with local governments and First Nations.
BC Hydro and the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are continuing to install direct current fast chargers (DCFCs) along Highways 5, 97 and 16.
The Charge North partners also work to increase public awareness about electric vehicles in northern and rural areas. This work has involved workshops, videos, media interviews, and outreach to tourism associations, economic development offices, and car dealers.
In 2022, CEA staff drove approximately 2300 kilometres in a Ford Mustang Mach-E to provide information about electric vehicles to residents in 13 northern and central BC communities as part of the 2022 EV Discovery Tour.
Previously, CEA facilitated regional visions for electric mobility that aimed to develop a shared vision for regional electric mobility and identify a few priority projects. Read more about the regional visions for electric mobility.
CHARGE NORTH FUNDERS
The initiative is proudly supported by funding partners that share a vision for clean transportation, leadership, and economic development in northern and central BC:
- Province of BC
- Government of Canada
- Federation of Canadian Municipalities
BC Hydro and the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are contributing significantly to additional electric vehicle charging in the Charge North region, leading the way on the installation of fast chargers along Highways 5, 97, and 16.