Electric vehicle owners in Whitehorse and Carcross will soon have more and faster options to charge their cars.
Federal and territorial government officials announced more than $368,000 in funding to install three fast-charging stations this summer for a three-year pilot project.
Federal funding of $212,000 will come from Natural Recourse Canada’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstration program while the Yukon government is providing $156,250.
Two of the new charging stations will be in Whitehorse — at the Visitor Information Centre and the NorthLight Innovation Building — with the other to be installed at the Carcross/Tagish First Nation Learning Centre in Carcross.
They will be the first fast-charging stations in the Yukon and will also collect data to be analyzed by the Cold Climate Innovation Centre to look at how the vehicles function in colder temperatures.
Typically it can take about eight hours to charge a vehicle (depending on the model) to run about 100 kilometres with a Level 1 charger. It’s a few hours less at a Level 2 charging station like those currently available at the Yukon government’s main administrative building, the Yukon Transportation Museum and the Mount Lorne waste management facility. The new Level 3 fast-charging stations to be installed this summer typically take about 30 minutes to charge a vehicle.
As a pilot project, it won’t cost drivers anything to plug in at the stations.
Territorial Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn and Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai joined Yukon MP Larry Bagnell in highlighting the efforts for cleaner driving options.
“We hope this is, of course, a starting point,” Pillai said.
He pointed to plans by the Alaska Marine Highway to install charging stations in Skagway. That means people travelling with their electric vehicles by ferry will be able to get off the boat in Skagway charge up, drive to Carcross where they can use the fast-charger and then make their way to Whitehorse.
Bagnell said this and other investments being made by the federal government across the country aim to provide “cleaner choices for getting around.”
Mostyn said with more infrastructure over time, there will likely be more buy-in from the public to purchase electric vehicles and more local dealerships coming on board to sell electric vehicles.
“It’s a chicken and egg problem,” Mostyn commented.
There are currently 12 electric vehicles registered in the territory, with one — dubbed Sparky — belonging to the Yukon government.
Yukonstruct executive director Lana Selby said “it made instant sense for us” to get involved with the project at its NorthLight Centre given its vision for projects like this that can help move the Yukon forward.
Meanwhile, Northern Vision Development CEO Rich Thompson said the company, which owns the Yukon Centre Mall where the NorthLight Centre is located, is seeing the need for more electric vehicle charging stations and has had to adapt underground parking areas of its condos to provide the service to residents.
“It is real and it’s great to see,” he said.
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