Home / Tech News / Electric vehicle numbers have ‘exploded’ but too few charging stations in Ontario, experts say

Electric vehicle numbers have ‘exploded’ but too few charging stations in Ontario, experts say

As the 2023 Canadian International Auto Show makes its return to Toronto for the first time since 2020, experts in the vehicle industry say growing demand for electric vehicles is only putting pressure on the province to expand its charging infrastructure. 

Toronto’s International Auto Show makes return after 2 years, set to run until Feb. 26.

Ivy Charging Network's station at the 2023 Canadian International AutoShow.

As the 2023 Canadian International Auto Show makes its return to Toronto for the first time since 2020, industry experts say growing demand for electric vehicles is putting pressure on Ontario to expand its charging infrastructure.

“We have to keep up with the EV sales [and] we have to keep up with the infrastructure,” said Kevin Lisso, CEO and co-founder of EnerSavings, a Toronto-based green energy company that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by working with commercial, industrial and residential businesses.

Lisso said Ontario is lagging behind other provinces like Vancouver and Quebec in EV sales and charging infrastructure.

“[We] do not have a provincial rebate and I don’t know why,” he said. “We’ve been told it’s coming and it’s coming and it’s coming, but we haven’t seen it yet.”

Kevin Lisso from Enersavings Inc speaks at a podium.

Jason Campbell, the auto show’s general manager, said this year looks a lot different than previous years.

“We’ve seen a huge change in the industry. Most of them are planning a full electric future,” Campbell said.

“The industry’s really exploded in terms of every manufacturer that’s on the floor either has a product here on the floor that’s fully electric or is in development.”

Campbell said the show has roughly 10 times the number of electric cars featured this year in comparison to 2020.

But when it comes to infrastructure, he said Ontario in its current state is “not what it needs to be.”

Lisso said while there is great demand for EV’s in Canada, as more people continue to purchase them and as supply increases, charging stations in places like condos and malls won’t be able to keep up.

His company’s Energy Management System aims to tackle this. The system is an intelligent subscription plan which installs EV charger infrastructure for people in multi-residential buildings and adapts to increasing demand.

“You go into a condo right now, maybe out of 200 people, 10 people are looking for a charger,” Lisso said.

“But you have to think about the next 10 that are coming in six months and the next 10 the next six months. So you’ve got to build an infrastructure.”

As of last year, up to five per cent of all vehicles in Canada are either fully electric or hybrid, and that percentage is expected to climb in the coming years. By 2035, the federal government insists that all new vehicles in Canada will be electric.

Magna International, an auto manufacturing company, announced Wednesday it would be putting more than $470 million into expanding its Ontario operations, including an electric vehicle battery facility, which will be housed in Brampton, Ont. The company says it’s expected to begin operations later this year.

The provincial government is also granting Magna $23.6 million in funding through Invest Ontario.

Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s minister for economic development, job creation and trade, said the Ford government will help Ontario create an end-to-end electric vehicle supply chain.

Ivy Charging Network's station at the 2023 Canadian International AutoShow.

An analysis on Quebec and British Columbia’s mandates released in December by the Canadian Climate Institute found that the mandates helped both provinces move well ahead of the rest of the country on electric vehicle use.

B.C. is leading the field in EV sales, which account for almost 15 per cent of all new vehicles registered between January and June 2022. Quebec is in second, at 11.4 per cent and Ontario is in third at 5.5 per cent.

On Feb. 3, the federal government announced an investment of nearly $15 million in 2,100 EV charging stations across the Greater Toronto Area.

The funding, which will be provided through Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstration Program, was provided to 32 organizations, including municipalities, multi-resident buildings, private firms and utilities.

According to the federal government, more than 150,000 Canadians and Canadian businesses have taken advantage of the federal incentive to purchase a zero-emission vehicle to date.

The investment aims to help ensure all new passenger vehicles sold in the country are zero-emission by 2035.

“By investing in critical charging infrastructure, we’re helping families save money at the pump while combating climate change,” said federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who is also the MP for Toronto’s Eglinton-Lawrence riding, in a statement.

“Our government will support the building of new EV charging stations where Torontonians need them most, including in my riding.”

With files from Sara Jabakhanji and Greg Ross

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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