The city of Ontario is all in.
The Canadian city on Tuesday set a date for its second official charging station, which will reportedly become the busiest electric vehicle (EV) charging station in North America. Drivers of Leafs, Teslas, Porsches and Camaros are so eager to charge their vehicles that most of the stations have already reached capacity.
The TTC’s plan to provide public access to EV charging doesn’t just help accelerate EV adoption across Ontario — it suggests that the rest of North America is on its way to charging stations of its own. On the morning of Jan. 22, the Toronto Transit Commission (the Metro Toronto Authority) opened its electric vehicle support facility on top of the TTC’s underground metro station, on Gerrard Street West. However, the station’s capacity is so full that it’s inaccessible to anyone, forcing all vehicle owners to park in the lot below.
“We’re ahead of many other jurisdictions,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a statement. “People are now coming to us for the installation of the charging stations, and they’re willing to put money into the infrastructure. Now, we have to follow through and secure funding for our Second Site.”
In Canada, Quebec had the country’s first official public EV charging network when it installed its first charging stations in December 2015 at Montreal’s VentolinStation. Next, Ontario introduced its first official charging station (and a full map of all other charging stations) when it put in place charging stations at the Etobicoke GO station, in the city’s west-end. Since then, Ontario has installed more than 400 EV charging stations.
But with Ontario’s first official charging station hitting capacity in less than two years, one might think that the province needs to speed up its plan. For decades, Ontario has viewed the state of EVs as a secondary economic driver. According to a 2017 report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario’s incentives for EVs have “fallen considerably short of production of gasoline-powered vehicles in the province.”
In the same report, the ACPA estimated that Ontario’s EV market would reach $2.1 billion by 2030, compared to $327 million projected for the total Ontario market for gasoline-powered vehicles.
So if EV charging stations are a growth industry, why isn’t Ontario spending more taxpayer money to build more?
But it would seem that Ontario has found an answer: Connect the province’s charging stations to the newly launched Queen’s Park EV Charging Network.
The chargers on Queen’s Park’s chargers were installed with the help of the Ontario Electric Vehicle Pilot Program, a regional effort spearheaded by the cities of Kitchener-Waterloo, Waterloo, Cambridge, Hamilton, Oshawa and Sault Ste. Marie.