Ivy will bring 73 stations to locations across Ontario, with charging speeds ranging from 50 kW with potential for up to 200 kW in some locations
Ontario electric vehicle drivers will have more public charging options than ever following the official launch of the Ivy Charging Network, which will launch 160 fast chargers at 73 locations across Ontario by the end of 2021.
Ivy is the product of a landmark partnership between Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One, the province’s largest electricity generator and largest distribution utility, respectively. The two corporations jointly own Ontario Charging Network LP, the parent company of Ivy.
“At OPG we’re preparing for the not-so-distant day when millions of electric vehicles will drive on our roads”, said Theresa Dekker, OPG’s vice president, corporate business development and strategy and co-president of Ivy, from a press conference Friday at the Canadian International AutoShow.
Natural Resources Canada will contribute $8 million of funding for Ivy through its Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative. Through the initiative, the federal government is providing $96 million towards the development of low-carbon vehicle infrastructure across the country.
The announcement was led by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, who spoke on behalf of Natural Resources Canada.
“Our government is committed to supporting innovative, green infrastructure projects that will bring us closer to a competitive, zero-emissions transportation sector,” said Bains.
“Today’s investment will ensure that Canadian-made solutions are at the forefront of solving the global climate change crisis, leaving our children and grandchildren with a healthier planet and cleaner air to breathe.”
Due to the province’s predominant use of nuclear and other clean energy sources, the proliferation of electric vehicles in Ontario would be especially effective in reducing carbon emissions.
“The grid is largely decarbonized, which is why it makes sense to use [it] to decarbonize transportation,” noted Dekker.
Urban, rural Ontario to receive chargers
The first phase of Ivy’s rollout will be focused on highway-adjacent locations, according to a spokesperson from the company, and will include 43 stations with 100 chargers total across Ontario by September of this year.
As previously reported by Electric Autonomy in October, Ivy’s soft launch included two fast-charging units in Huntsville, Ontario. As it stands now, another station has been opened in Blind River; two more in Parry Sound and Sault Ste. Marie are currently being commissioned and are expected to be operational imminently.
Phase two, which will begin this year and will be completed in 2021, will focus on deploying chargers in urban and suburban areas. Thirty sites with 60 total chargers will be installed in areas including the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, Ottawa and Windsor.
“Hydro-One and OPG are uniquely positioned to create an expansive EV charging network that meets the needs of today’s EV drivers, while also facilitating increased EV adoption in Ontario,” said Imran Merali, vice president, customer service, Hydro One, and co-president of Ivy Charging Network.
“We brought power to rural and northern Ontario, and together we will bring EV charging there too.”
Charging is currently free while Ivy’s network is being built out. Eventually, payment will be accepted via the Ivy mobile app. There will also be a 24/7 call centre to provide customer support and to accept direct credit card payments. The chargers will be capable of supplying a variety of power levels between 50 kW to 200 kW based on anticipated level of traffic at sites.
Ontario joins B.C., Québec
With Ivy, Ontario joins Canada’s two next-largest provinces in introducing public charging networks sponsored by public utilities. Québec’s Circuit Electrique, which currently operates a number of Level 2 and fast charging stations across Québec and Eastern Ontario, was launched in 2012 by Hydro-Québec. B.C. Hydro operates a network of 70 fast chargers along the province’s major highways.
The delay could be attributed in part to the nature of Ontario’s energy system. B.C. and Quebec each have a single government agency which both produces and distributes electricity. In Ontario, however, OPG and Hydro One perform those roles separately.
As such, the launch of Ivy is a landmark event not only for its contribution to Canada’s national charging infrastructure, but because it serves as an example of the sort of public-private collaboration that will be required to facilitate electrification to occur on a much wider scale.
“As you look around this morning, we can see an increase in the number of electric vehicles available to consumers,” said Merali from the AutoShow. “This tells me that we’re entering the EV charging space at precisely the right time, and that we can help facilitate consumer adoption and help them travel with confidence and ease.”
“We want everyone to say goodbye to range anxiety and say hello to Ivy.”