Metro Vancouver's Echo Lin prepares to plug an electric charging cable into a Tesla roadster at a recent electric vehicle demonstration event.

Metro to seek electric car charging sites

Up to 150 highly visible stations to be built by private hosts, province

Metro Vancouver will coordinate the development of a network of electric car charging stations across the region.

A $75,000 provincial grant will allow the region to hire a consultant who will work to find private land owners willing to host the proposed 75 to 150 highly visible charging sites.

Metro board chair Greg Moore said the aim is to locate them at places like malls, theatres and tourism destinations.

“Making charging stations visible and accessible will build confidence in electric vehicles and will promote clean transport and clean air,” he said.

A handful of public charging stations exist in Vancouver but advocates say a broader network is needed – especially in areas where drivers tend to park for long stints – to reduce owner anxiety about running out of power and encourage more people to buy electric cars.

Actual construction of the charging stations – at $4,000 to $10,000 each – would be split by the private sector hosts and the provincial government, through its $2.74-million Community Charging Infrastructure Fund.

Metro applied for grant money on behalf of 14 local cities to avoid duplicating efforts. White Rock, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are not among the communities that are partners in the initiative.

The regional district also plans to build six to eight of its own publicly accessible electric charging stations in select Metro Vancouver regional parks.

Pacific Spirit, Boundary Bay, Caplilano River and Burnaby Lake regional parks are among those Metro planners have discussed as potential charging sites.

A second grant from the province covers half of the $64,000 construction cost.

While four to six hours is needed to fully charge an electric vehicle’s battery, an hour or two typically provides enough of a top up to travel another 20 to 40 kilometres.