Newfoundland and Labrador Trans-Canada Highway EV Fast-Charger route
Route 1 is the easternmost stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway. Map: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Provincial plan for Level 3 chargers will help complete a pan-Canadian fast-charging infrastructure, joining a raft of other initiatives pledging completion by end 2020

Newfoundland and Labrador is taking a major step towards making electric vehicles a more familiar site on the province’s roads.

On Oct. 23, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro issued a tender soliciting bids for land leases for 14 high-speed Level 3 charging stations along the full length of the Trans-Canada Highway from Greater St. John’s to Port Aux Basques. Currently only Level 2 stations exist at private businesses in the province.

“Hydro is actively working to bring the province more in line with EV accessibility levels seen across the country”

Erin Squires, Manager of Communications, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro 

“Without the necessary EV structure in place, some consumers may continue to be reluctant to purchase an EV,” says the tender. “As such, a variety of publicly available charging stations of various capacities are expected to be needed to support EV growth and to reduce consumer concerns in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The tender proposes a list of communities where it wants the charging stations to be installed. Some of the sites are specific (like Main Street in Stephenville Crossing), but most just reference the highway and the designated communities (such as Bishop’s Falls and South Brook).

In order to qualify, a prospective location must meet 18 different criteria points. These include: being near the Trans-Canada Highway or a major route; being able to add signage at its location; accessibility 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and being the “least cost option” among those in that area.

Prospective locations must also have room for two full-sized parking spaces (2.75 metres by six metres), along with four metres by 20 metres for infrastructure. NL Hydro will undertake any electricity costs.

“Increased domestic ownership of electric vehicles will help to reduce carbon emissions and support electrification efforts in the province. Further, a fast charging network has the potential to increase vehicle based tourism to the province “

Erin Squires, Manager of Communications, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro 

“Hydro believes that investing in this initiative will have long‐term positive impacts on the province,” the tender says. It also expects the winning bidders will benefit by having drivers stop and spend time in their area. Consequently, “no compensation in the form of rent or otherwise will be paid to the owners.”

The plan hinges on one critical qualifier: it is contingent on NL Hydro receiving approval of funding. The tender does not offer any further details on the source of that money.

“As noted in the tender document Hydro is still progressing through the funding process, and therefore we aren’t able to provide many further details at this stage,” says Erin Squires, communications manager with NL Hydro, in an e-mail statement following a request for comment. “However what we can say is that Hydro is actively working to bring the province more in line with EV accessibility levels seen across the country.”

The tender closes on Nov. 13. Work is expected to be done next summer and fall with completion by late 2020.