Drivers of electric cars will soon have more incentive to travel to West Kelowna.
The District of West Kelowna is expected to receive one of 30 direct current (DC) fast charging stations being installed throughout the province by BC Hydro.
The initiative is part of the provincial Clean Energy Vehicle Program, with the goal of promoting electric vehicle tourism in the province.
BC Hydro’s first DC fast charging facility was installed in Surrey in 2013. Since then, additional stations have been placed in Nanaimo, Duncan, Merritt, Kamloops, Squamish and Langley.
Now BC Hydro is looking to expand the project to several communities in the Southern Interior, including: Chase, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Revelstoke, Vernon, Penticton, Keremeos, Princeton, Manning Park Resort/Eastgate and West Kelowna.
A fast charging station will provide an 80 per cent charge in 20 or 30 minutes, which is significantly quicker than level two charging stations, which can take up to eight hours. West Kelowna’s station will serve one car at a time.
BC Hydro is proposing to cover the $85,000 installation cost associated with the project. The district’s estimated operating cost is $1,000 per year, which would cover minor maintenance, station monitoring and cost of electricity service. West Kelowna is expected to operate the station for at least two to five years.
It will likely cost consumers $2 per charging session to use the station.
“It’s kind of hard to say, ‘no,’ to such a feel-good opportunity,” said Coun. Rick de Jong.
De Jong, however, questioned whether the station may be a target for vandalism and whether the district’s costs could be higher than the estimated $1,000 per year.
West Kelowna council will be able to choose three potential sites where its charging station could be installed in the community.
“One (idea) suggested to me that makes a lot of sense…would be to locate it on civic property, near the museum, Greater Westside Board of Trade and RCMP (building),” said Mayor Doug Findlater.
“We want this to get the maximum amount of use.”
Findlater added having it near the RCMP facility may deter the vandalism concern voiced by de Jong.
West Kelowna council unanimously voted to submit a letter of interest to BC Hydro regarding the project during its council meeting Tuesday.
Once the official green light has been given to the project, installation could take anywhere from four to eight months, according to Will Mbaho, senior media relations advisor with BC Hydro.