Getting a charge in downtown Kelowna

City opens two electric vehicle charging stalls in museum parking lot at Queensway Avenue and Ellis Street.

  • Apr. 22, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Mark Warren

Just in time for Earth Day today, visitors to downtown Kelowna now have two new options for charging electric vehicles.

Two stalls in the museum parking lot at Queensway Avenue and Ellis Street are now serviced with electrical vehicle charge units, the result of a unique pilot project between the City of Kelowna and FortisBC. One stall is for public use and the second is dedicated to the local car-share program.

“This collaboration between the City of Kelowna and FortisBC is an ideal way to support the use of electric vehicles in our City,” said Alf Soros, City of Kelowna fleet services manager. “These charge stations will allow people to park, plug-in and return to a charged vehicle after spending time exploring downtown’s many amenities.”

As part of the collaboration, the city  provided the location while FortisBC purchased and installed the units. The city will be responsible for day-to-day monitoring and the electricity consumption.

FortisBC will own the equipment and arrange maintenance services. These stations will provide valuable information that will help both the city and FortisBC better understand electric vehicle use in the community and be prepared as more people adopt them.

When charging, users won’t have to pay for the electricity but standard parking rates for the stall will apply.

“One of the best ways to support our customers who are choosing electric vehicles is to work directly with communities like the City of Kelowna,” said Mark Warren, director, customer service technology and systems, FortisBC. “The city can provide the insight into their resident’s needs while we can provide the technical expertise, access to infrastructure and ongoing support.”

The Ellis and Queensway location was chosen because of its central location to downtown amenities and transit. Its proximity to existing electrical infrastructure also made the installation easy and cost-effective. These two charge stations are Level 2, 240-volt units with a SAE J1772 connector allowing communication and charging with most common electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.

These charge stations add to the growing list of work FortisBC does to support clean energy choices for transportation. Since 2011, FortisBC has led the adoption of natural gas for commercial transportation in B.C., making the move to  displace diesel in over 400 fleet vehicles.

In 2015, FortisBC worked with BC Hydro to deploy stations in Penticton, Keremeos and Princeton and is working with partners to complete the southern interior highway section of the province-wide charging network.

The City of Kelowna has also been supporting electric vehicle usage through the Eco-Pass parking program for on-street parking.

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