As the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in Canada rises, there is need for more charging infrastructure for the country to meet its 2050 net-zero emissions target. The Government of Canada is investing in EV charging infrastructure as part of the broader push to grow the EV industry, drive EV adoption in Canada, and encourage private investment.
There is a large gap between the number of chargers that currently exist (16,640), and the number needed to help the market meet its goals, which include:
- 200,000 publicly accessible chargers (both level 2 and DC fast chargers) by 2030,
- 4.6 million EVs on Canada’s roads by 2030,
- Full transition to 100% zero-emission new vehicle sales by 2035,
- 442,000 – 469,000 publicly available chargers by 2035,
- 3.9 million chargers by 2050, and
- $20-billion combined public and private investment over the next three decades.
In 2016, Natural Resources Canada (NRC) launched the Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative (EVAFIDI), offering funding to help establish a national network of EV fast chargers along core routes and highways, natural gas refuelling sites along key freight corridors, and hydrogen refuelling sites in major cities. Funding recipients included municipalities, utilities, charging and/or refuelling companies, post-secondary institutions, retailers, and provincial/territorial governments. Each dollar the NRC invested leveraged another two dollars of outside funding, resulting in $260 million in total investments. And the Liberal government’s most recent election platform included a $700 million pledge to add an additional 50,000 new EV chargers and hydrogen stations across the country.
While utilities have shouldered purchase and installation costs of many public charging units in Canada’s existing network, private investments are increasing across the country. Large companies (such as General Motors, Petro-Canada, Hydro-Quebec, Flo, and others) have developed charging infrastructure initiatives independent of government programs.
Building charging infrastructure in Canada is very complex task; the country is large, with very different charging needs from coast to coast. There is a vast chasm between the current number of available public charging ports, and the several hundred thousand pure public chargers that will be required. Businesses with services and products that can help fill this need may find opportunities in the Canadian market.