Power to the people.
West Kelowna has joined a growing list of municipalities across the province that are now have public charging stations for electric vehicles.
On Friday, the latest addition to B.C.’s growing network of fast-charge stations officially opened when Premier Christy Clark Mayor Doug Findlater pulled up in an electric vehicle and plugged it into the new facility at 3678 Brown Road.
“This station demonstrates a win, win, win for electric vehicle users, businesses in downtown West Kelowna and the fight against climate change,” said Findlater.
“This project is another great example of the great things that can be accomplished for local economies and the environment when leaders in government and industry create strong partnerships.”
The new West Kelowna charging station is the first facility of its type that vehicles will encounter when they arrive in the Central Okanagan from the Okanagan Connector (Highway 97C) and the last when they leaving the the area if they are taking the same route heading points west, including the Lower Mainland. Kelowna also has several public outlets to charge electric vehicles.
The West Kelowna facility is the 23rd of a 30-station network planned for B.C. that, once complete, will create fast-charging loops for electric vehicles travelling on B.C.’s major Interior highways, including Highways 1, 3, 5, 97 and 97A, 97B and 97C.
“Under the province’s Clean Energy Vehicle Program, we’re investing in charging infrastructure and incentives to encourage more drivers to choose a clean electric vehicle,” said Clark, who is also the MLA for Westside Kelonwa.
“Encouraging green transportation is part of our broader plan to ensure British Columbia remains a climate action leader.”
The fast-charge station enables a vehicle to gain an 80 percent charge in 20 to 30 minutes, compared to eight hours at a level two, 240V station, or overnight using a standard 120V wall outlet.
The new station was installed under an agreement between B.C. Hydro and West Kelowna with B.C. Hydro installing the station at a cost of $85,000.
Funding for the station came from from the federal government (50 per cent), the province (25 per cent) and B.C. Hydro (25 per cent). The city provided the property for the station and will cover the cost of annual site maintenance as well as the monthly electricity costs of about $75.
The charging station is station is easily accessible, less than a block off Highway 97 in the Westbank town centre and will be available free of charge for electric vehicles during its first few months of operation as part of West Kelowna’s commitment to reducing the city’s carbon footprint and fighting climate change, said Findlater.