The Ontario government has announced that by March 2017 it will have funded the installation of around 200 of the fastest electric car charging points in a network across the province, enabling drivers to charge flat batteries to 80% in as little as 20 minutes.

Electric vehicle charging stationA level 3 charging station in Montreal source: Chargehub

The project is ambitious. According to Chargehub, which aims to provide a unified map and payment scheme covering the multiple charging networks in Canada and the USA,  if you disregard Tesla SuperChargers, one of the partners, Koben Systemsis slated to install about twice as many level 3 charging stations in the coming year in Ontario than have been installed to date in all of Canada.

Chargehub's database indicates there are 56 of these "level 3" charging stations in Ontario, but 90% of these are for Tesla cars only, and the remainder are all in the GTHA. This government move will make a big difference to drivers of other electric cars who want to move around the province. There are also 662 "level 2" charging stations presently, and the government scheme will add another 300, but these take around four hours to provide the same level of charge (more background on charging stations here). According to Simon Ouellette, the Ontario government with this move will provide most of the growth in chargers in this province, though private network builders may also add some. "If Ontario succeeds in completing all 27 projects within their ambitious 10 month time frame then it will most likely leap frog Quebec and BC in provision of high speed charging", he says.

Twenty seven public and private organizations will be hosting the stations. Toronto Pearson airport is the biggest investor in a single location—it will spend $2.6m for 32 stations—while IKEA will also be funding ten level three stations. Stations will also be available at some McDonalds and Tim Horton’s restaurants, among other places. The government has provided up to 100% of the capital costs, in exchange for which the partners have to maintain and operate the stations for at least five years. Electricity costs must be met by the partner organizations as well and the province has not specified what users should be charged. 

Charging stations TorontoNetwork of non-Tesla fast charging points in Toronto

Charging stations San FranciscoNetwork of non-Tesla fast charging points in San Francisco

There were over 200 applications to host stations, totalling over $165 million in funding requests. Future funding has not been announced. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation said, "We plan on carefully monitoring the use of EVs in Ontario as well as the use of the EVCO charging stations. This will help us better understand if there are service gaps or areas where the charging stations are underutilized." In addition, the federal government has announced plans to pay for up to 50% of the cost of 70 further fast charging stations across Canada by March 2018.

Chargehub is doing a comparison of charging coverage nationwide on their blog

Electric vehicle chargingBlue is for slower "Level 2" chargers, Orange for "Level 3" Source: ChargeHub as of Mar 2016

The $20m Electric Vehicle Chargers Ontario (EVCO) project is part of Ontario's $325-million Green Investment Fund.

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