Charging forward

How one Ontario municipality is making it easier to drive an EV.

The story

It’s no secret that vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) are exacerbating the climate crisis – but the transition to clean mobility won’t be easy. As more of the population seeks to convert to electric vehicles (EVs), more challenges, demanding unique solutions, will continue to present themselves.

Like many cities, one major Ontario municipality is working hard to lay the groundwork for a smart EV future.

Not only is it starting to electrify its own fleet, but it’s taking steps to encourage EV adoption among the community. Specifically, the municipality recently completed a pilot project to address a growing concern among residents: as it is in any densely populated city, not everyone resides in a dwelling with a garage or parking space, or has the real estate to install an EV charger. These folks who have to park on the street are sometimes referred to as ‘garage orphans’.

So, while much of the conversation has been focused on “range anxiety” – the fear of your battery running dry on the road – many are now wondering how they’ll charge their EVs at all.

In this case, it was especially important to be the least invasive as possible when installing the chargers; several of its buildings hold historical importance.

The main residence in Ottawa, for example, dates back to the mid-1800s. It was important to preserve the integrity of both its structure and aesthetics.

The customer needed an efficient way to connect an EV charger to the electrical room while drilling through as few walls as possible.

To support this subset of the population, the municipality wanted to install curbside chargers in a number of neighbourhoods.

But EV charging, in many respects, is still a new frontier, especially in public spaces; sometimes there’s no power source nearby, or the existing infrastructure might complicate an installation. There’s a lot to consider, and a lot of people involved, which is why it’s important to have an experienced partner.

In this case, the municipality turned to Envari Energy Solutions to help guide them and lead the way. They started by facilitating funding through the federal Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program.

From there, close collaboration was paramount to nail down the best locations for the chargers.

That included reviewing each location and pivoting when necessary to ensure power could be accessed efficiently and cost-effectively; crossing a road to connect to a utility pole, for example, could incur additional costs and the inconvenience of roadway construction.

Other considerations, like community input, sidewalk accessibility, signage, maintenance and a fair charging rate, all had to be factored in.

And given these chargers would be in public spaces, they’d require new service accounts from the utility, too, with each charger location needing its own meter point.

The right product was critical.

From engineering and procurement to installation and project management, Envari was there to help the municipality serve its community by adding more chargers to its network: 24 curbside, two at busy park-and-rides, and three more to support its municipal fleet plan.

As more municipalities make the switch to clean mobility, more specialized solutions may be required and having the right partner to lead the way will be key. It takes a village, after all, and when everyone has the willingness to get there, there’s no challenge that can’t be conquered along the way.

Ready for an EV-lution?

Contact us today to schedule a readiness assessment. Let’s explore your EV charging options.

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