Toronto needs to step up EV infrastructure to meet targets, critics say

If Toronto is to meet its ambitious goal of having all residents driving electric vehicles by 2050, it had better step on the accelerator on its infrastructure plans, critics say.

The city aims to install 3,000 charging stations at the curb and in public parking lots by 2025 and 10,000 by 2030, in line with its strategy for electric vehicles. But at the moment, it has less than 1,000, reports the ChargeHub database.

A pilot project launched last year saw the city install 17 charging stations on the street, but much more ambitious policies are needed to convince residents to buy, said Ian Klesmer of the Atmospheric Fund.

“Achieving these goals is really important in order to have a reliable and convenient network of chargers that Torontonians can use to take full advantage of electric vehicles,” said Klesmer.

He said continued adoption of electric vehicles is “absolutely essential” for Toronto and other cities to meet their goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“The sooner we can electrify our fleet of cars, the sooner we can dramatically reduce carbon emissions, which will lead to a much cleaner and healthier city,” he said.

The city told CBC News it is following council guidelines and exploring other ways to support shared electric vehicle fleets, including reducing license fees. It also plans to encourage residents and businesses to install charging infrastructure on their properties.

Montreal invests in charging stations

Com. Mike Layton, who represents Ward 11, Université-Rosedale, agreed that Toronto has a long way to go, especially compared to other major Canadian cities like Montreal.

Mayor Valérie Plante announced this week that the country’s second city is investing $ 885 million over three years to electrify its transport networks. This includes doubling the number of charging stations to 2,000 by the end of 2025 and reducing parking fees for electric car owners.

“What we want to show today is how serious we are about encouraging, supporting and rewarding people who buy an electric car,” Plante told reporters on Monday.

Toronto is well positioned to catch up with Montreal and become a North American leader, said Layton, who is pushing the city to take a more aggressive approach. The city has both the hydroelectric infrastructure to power the cars and the parking lots to house them.

In the first quarter of this year, 6.5 percent of new vehicles, or more than 9,000 registered, were plug-in hybrids or battery-powered hybrids, according to Statistics Canada. (Hannah Yoon / Canadian Press)

Drivers are gradually buying more electric cars. In the first quarter of this year, 6.5% of new vehicles, over 9,000 registered, were plug-in hybrids or battery-powered hybrids, almost double the 3.9% in the same quarter of 2020, according to recent data from Statistics Canada. .

The city estimates that Toronto accounts for 20 percent of all electric vehicles in the province. In 2018, there were more than 6,000 registrants in total, according to a staff report.

The federal government is pushing for more dramatic increases. He announced in June that he wanted every new car and light truck to be emission-free by 2035.

But Olivier Trescases, director of the Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of Toronto, said the price of an electric car, which costs more initially, deters people from buying it and that it is up to them. provincial and federal governments to provide more incentives.

He said the city has limited tools “to drive this change and is strapped for cash… At the end of the day, this is a huge federal and global problem.”

“Distance anxiety” also still exists, but large urban centers like Toronto can help address it, said Theresa Di Felice of CAA, assistant vice president of government and community relations. Drivers worry about being able to find a charging station while traveling, especially if they don’t have an aisle and are dependent on public infrastructure.

But Ontario and its municipalities are facing a chicken or egg situation, she said.

“Do you need a critical mass of owners to provide the infrastructure, or do you need to put the infrastructure in place to encourage people to make that buying decision? Said Di Felice.

“We’re still having this conversation even though it’s been a few years.”

About Robert Pierson

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