Electric Vehicles (EVs) – an Update
From the CCI Newfoundland and Labrador Winter 2023 Condo Chronicle Newsletter
An extensive article on Electric Vehicles (EVs) was published in the Summer 2021 CCI-NL Condo Chronicles Newsletter that includes the following and is available on the CCI-NL web site at https://cci-newfoundland.ca/sites/default/uploads/files/CCI-NL-Chapter-Summer2021.pdf#page=11:
- the advantages of electric vehicles over vehicles powered by internal combustion engines,
- the Federal and Provincial tax incentives available at that time,
- a detailed description of the 3 levels of EV charging stations,
- as well as the challenges related to accommodating an EV in a condominium environment.
The overall message of the 2021 article was that the time to start planning for EVs is NOW!
The environment for electric vehicles in Canada and our province is changing rapidly and therefore this current article was written to keep CCI-NL Members up to date on the latest EV developments.
Updated information from the Government of Canada:
Main Points from a Dec 21, 2022 News Release from Environment and Climate Change Canada:
The Government of Canada has published proposed regulations that set zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) sales targets for manufacturers and importers of new passenger cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks. The regulations will require that at least 20 percent of new vehicles sold in Canada will be zero emission by 2026, at least 60 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035. These targets will help increase supply so that more Canadians who want a ZEV can buy one.
In addition to making sure there are more ZEVs to buy, the Government also announced the following investments to make buying and charging an electric vehicle (EV) easier for Canadians:
- Invested in 50,000 more EV charging stations across the country, for almost 85,000 federally-funded chargers across Canada by 2027. This is in addition to charging stations supported by provincial governments and the private sector.
- Renewed the program that provides Canadians up to $5,000, and businesses up to $10,000, toward the cost of buying or leasing a ZEV. Over 180,000 individuals and businesses have taken advantage of this program to date.
- Making historic investments in EV manufacturing in Canada, which will mean made-in-Canada ZEVs by Canadian auto workers and for Canadian drivers to buy.
News Release Dated Dec. 21, 2022: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2022/12/let-it-roll-government-of-canada-moves-to-increase-the-supply-of-electric-vehicles-for-canadians.html
Updated information from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador:
NL EV Rebate Program: now you can save $2,500 on the purchase or lease of a 100% all-electric vehicle and $1,500 for a plug-in hybrid. That means you can save up to $7,500 when you combine our rebate with current federal incentives ($5,000) for the purchase of a new EV.
Starting April 1, 2022 rebates, an initiative of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and administered by NL Hydro, are available to eligible individuals, businesses, not-for-profit organizations or municipalities in NL for:
- The purchase or lease (minimum 48 months) of a new 100% all-electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.
- The purchase of a pre-owned 100% all-electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.
Rebates will be issued to qualified participants for eligible all-electric EVs and plug-in hybrids purchased on or after April 1, 2022. Electric motorcycles and bikes are not eligible. Completed applications will be accepted from April 1, 2022 to March 15, 2023. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-serve basis or until program funding is depleted.
For vehicles being purchased between March 15 - 31, 2023, please reach out to EVRebate@nlh.nl.ca, preferably before March 15, 2023 and no later than March 31, 2023. If you contact us prior to March 31, 2023, a rebate may be able to be held for you. If you wait until after March 31, 2023, you will not be eligible for a rebate as the 2022-2023 government fiscal budget will be closed.
Further information on rebates qualification, how to apply for a rebate, eligible electric vehicles/models etc. can be found at: https://nlhydro.com/electric-vehicles/ev-rebate/
Issue: Are there going to be enough EV charging stations available in NL??
There is a concern that if the province is flooded with EVs, there will not be enough charging stations to accommodate them and this will result in frustrated consumers. The number of charging stations is expanding but the question is, is it expanding fast enough? The information below gives you some idea of the current NL EV charging station situation:
EV Charging Stations in St. John's:
The City of St. John’s has installed Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations for public use at these locations:
- Farmers Market, 245 Freshwater Road
- Paul Reynolds Community Centre, 35 Carrick Drive
- Southlands Community Centre, 40 Teakwood Drive
- Downtown, 172 Duckworth Street
Additionally, Level 2 EV Chargers will be installed at Churchill Square (Rowan Street), Metrobus, City Hall, on Duckworth Street and at the new H.G.R. Mews Community Centre (once construction is complete).
The city of St. John's has 67 public charging station port(s) (Level 2 and Level 3) within 15 km. 98% of the ports are level 2 charging ports and 71% of the ports offer free charges for your electric car. For additional information on St. John's EV Charging including how to use the EV Chargers, applicable fees, enforcement, types of chargers etc., visit: https://www.stjohns.ca/en/streets-parking/public-ev-charging-stations.aspx
Other helpful EV charger web sites:
- From NLHYDRO & Newfoundland Power: https://takechargenl.ca/evs/ev-101/charger-station-finder/
- To find an EV Charging Station in NL, interrogate the following web site for EV charging sites and to determine whether the charger is available. Chargers are listed across the island as well as the first few chargers available in Labrador. EV Charging Stations in NL: https://chargehub.com/en/Charging-Stations-Map.html
Issue: Should the tax payer be paying to install and expand the EV charging infrastructure?
Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro recently applied to the Public Utilities Board (PUB) to start billing ratepayers for the equipment needed to set up and service new electric vehicle chargers across the province.
According to Hydro, the cost of building the first phase of the province's charging network was shared between the utility, and the provincial and federal governments. As well, for many EV drivers, the majority of their charging can be done at home.
There is opposition to public money being used to pay for installation of the charging station network from some consumers as well as the province’s consumer advocate Dennis Browne. Source.: CBC News · Posted: Feb 05, 2023 https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/who-pays-nl-ev-chargers-1.6737458
Issue: Does NL have enough power to support a large increase in EVs?
Response from NL Power: Yes. As part of our responsibility to manage the province’s electricity system, Hydro monitors the electrical system 24/7, ensuring reliable service for all customers. Once the Muskrat Falls project is commissioned, Hydro will have access to a surplus of clean, renewable energy to meet the expected increase in electricity consumption from EVs. Increasing the number of EVs in the province will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide rate mitigation benefits for all electricity customers. Source: https://nlhydro.com/electric-vehicles/faqs/#1649441457593-3b9ac15b-5ce8
Note that thus far, the Labrador Island Link (LIL) has not been successfully tested due to failures of the operating software and the transmission lines. Until Muskrat Falls can successfully deliver full power to the island, power for EVs will depend on burning expensive oil at Holyrood (which defeats the goal of promoting green EVs) and a number of hydro plants on the island of Newfoundland.
- CBC News · Posted: Feb 03, 2023 https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/newfoundland-power-concerns-muskrat-falls-transmission-1.6734889
- Newfoundland Thermal Generation (Holyrood) - https://nlhydro.com/operations/thermal-generation/
- Newfoundland Hydro Generation - https://nlhydro.com/operations/hydro-generation/
Issue: Is an Electric Vehicle too expensive for most people?
Prices of EVs currently available for purchase in Canada can range from $39,498 to $189,000, according to the Canadian Automobile Association.
Mark Stewart, chief operating officer for Stellantis North America, told CBC "the technology is expensive." He said that on average, an electric vehicle is 40 to 45 per cent more expensive than a classic internal combustion engine power train.
Edgar Faler, a senior industry analyst with the Centre for Automotive Research based in Ann Arbor, Mich., said the industry will need to find a solution to the affordability problem, especially when it comes to electric vehicles. "They have to become affordable," he said. "The average consumer can't afford these vehicles, that they're often secondary vehicles in many households and luxury purchases. That will need to change if we're going to hit these aggressive targets of 100 per cent battery electric vehicles by 2035."
The federal and provincial government hope that rebates can help bridge some of the gaps.
Source: Posted: Jan 31, 2023
Issue: Supply Chain Issues Impeding the Availability of Electric Vehicles
Supply chain issues are hitting EVs especially hard – especially regarding semiconductors. EVs require more chips than regular vehicles, resulting in extended wait times for consumers anxious to appropriate an EV.
On the other side, the relatively slow expansion of the public EV charger network means that the available chargers may perhaps more closely align with the available EVs.
Issue: Can an Electric Vehicle Handle an NL Winter?
Estimates vary, but according to a study from the American Automobile Assoc.(AAA), EVs can lose about 40% of their range when the temperature drops from 24 deg. C to -7 deg. C. The range dip is attributed to a couple of things, such as natural battery capacity loss in colder temperatures as well as the increased energy needed for heating the vehicle cabin. Using other passenger comfort features, such as the heated seats and heated steering wheel, also requires energy and cuts into a car’s range.
To mitigate the effects of the cold on the battery, it is recommended that the vehicle be started while it’s still plugged in to allow the battery to warm up. This helps get the battery to a temperature where it can work more efficiently using the grid’s power instead of the car’s.
Dec 13, 2022: Source: https://www.cars.com/articles/how-well-do-electric-cars-work-in-cold-weather-459914/
CCI-NL Members - progress regarding moving to EV’s in their condos.
The CCI-NL Membership was solicited for this article regarding whether any Member condo corp. have installed EV chargers on their property. There are members that are currently in the research and planning stage with respect to implementing EV chargers but no one responded that they had installed an EV charger on their property.
After reviewing a number of sources on this subject, a common general strategy emerges regarding installing EV chargers in a multi-unit residential building (MURB):
1) Condo Board arranges a General Meeting to gauge the EV interest of the residents and solicit approval to investigate the EV implementation issues. Clearly outline the available Federal and Provincial government support including rebates to the meeting participants. Review the proposed EV implementation strategies for different condo environments outlined in the Section ‘Accommodating an EV in a Condominium Environment’ in the Summer 2021 CCI-NL Newsletter.
2) Schedule site visit to your property by a local EV charging provider to determine the electrical availability for EV charging and service options. In older buildings, a major upgrade of the electrical system may be required prior to installing EV chargers that would increase the load on the condo corporation’s power system.
NOTE: The electric vehicle (EV) chargers in the NL Hydro network are made by ChargePoint. ChargePoint is the largest and most open electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, with more than 20,000 charging locations. Visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ChargePoint for background information on ChargePoint.
3) After the Condo Board completes their investigation of the EV issues, another General Meeting is arranged to convey to the condo owners what the different options/issues are that includes rough costing/time frame. The Owners review the options and vote on the preferred EV strategy to be implemented. These options include:
- Chargers installed in Visitor parking spaces for everyone to use,
- Future-proof by roughing-in 100% of all the corporations parking spaces in one Fiscal Year or phase in the EV installation over a number of Fiscal Years to spread out the costs,
- Assigning one designated parking space with a charger at a time (first-come, first-served),
- Use load-sharing technology (smart charger vs. smart panel vs. dynamic) to install more stations with the same amount of power in the electrical infrastructure. Smart charging allows charging point owners and grid operators to manage their charging points remotely and, through this, to optimize energy consumption and costs. For instance, setting the charging to start at night when energy rates are lower.
- Smart (networked) vs. dumb chargers? (Smart require Wi-Fi or cellular phone reception). Smart EV charger vs a dumb EV charger: A “dumb” charging station just charges the car, period. And for some Owners, that's all they care about. A smart charging station has the ability to connect to Wi-Fi or a smart phone and allow the Owner to monitor their charging, check the power being delivered, review statistics from past charging sessions etc.
4) Solicit costs for the selected options from EV charger suppliers/installers.
5) Condo Board approves the budget/time frame for the selected EV charging supplier/installer to provide the work.
6) Proceed with the installation of the EV chargers.
The key in preparing to accommodate EVs on your condo property is doing the necessary research, enhancing communication between the Board and Owners, and advanced strategic planning and preparation. EV’s are coming! Will your condo be ready?
David Cumming serves on the Board of the CCI-NL Chapter as Secretary/Treasurer. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the CCI Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter. Readers are encouraged to seek the advice of professionals to address specific issues or individual situations. This article may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without acknowledgement to the author.
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