“No driveway, no problem,” says Toronto to EV drivers, as it deploys 17 Level 2 chargers in nine neighbourhoods offering resident-only overnight charging
A joint effort between Toronto Hydro, the city and a national EV charging network is bringing neighbourhood charging options to local drivers in Toronto who use street parking at their residence.
Nine locations throughout the city have been chosen for the initial opening phase of the pilot, with Level 2 chargers — supplied by AddÉnergie’s subsidiary FLO — attached to existing utility poles. The pilot will run for one year.
“One objective at the heart of this project is to make it possible for Torontonians without a private parking space to own an EV and to be able to charge it conveniently in their neighbourhood,” says Brookes Shean, general manager, USA East and Central Canada at FLO.
Installed in two weeks
EV advocates have argued that Toronto lags other Canadian cities in installing curbside charging. However, once the pilot was approved, getting it up and running was unusually efficient — needing just two weeks to install the 17 chargers and have them ready for use.
The idea of curbside charging was first proposed in a 2017 Staff Report to Toronto City Council. In 2018, data showed the city was home to more than 6,200 EVs, a number that’s kept climbing. Transportation accounts for roughly 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the city. Toronto’s Electric Vehicle Strategy is critical to boosting the EV population in line with reduction targets.
According to the city, 71 per cent of residents who participated in a poll conducted in preparation for the pilot said they were likely to purchase an EV in the next five years, and more said that they would consider purchasing EVs if charging stations were available.
“Toronto is a leader in adopting emerging, sustainable and environmentally sensible technologies, and the EV charging station pilot is yet another example of this,” says Mayor John Tory, in officially launching the service Saturday in the city’s east end. “While we continue to navigate the unprecedented times of a global pandemic, we must also remain diligent in our commitment to finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Vancouver and Montreal led
As noted, Toronto’s curbside charging pilot comes after several similar projects in other cites. Montreal started its first pilot program in 2014, with Vancouver following suit in 2017. Ottawa is poised to join the curbside charging wave in the next few months.
Toronto’s chargers are reserved exclusively for overnight use by valid street parking permit holders and only those permit holders who drive EVs are able park in the designated charging spots. During the day the charging spots will be open to the public EV drivers as well. Rates during the day will be $2 per hour, while overnight will be a flat $3 fee.
This rate structure is “unique” compared to FLO’s other urban installations across North America, says Shean. The higher day rate encourages users to free up the station for daytime drivers. But the lower flat fee between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. means residents can leave their car overnight connected and drive off in the morning with a full battery.
“We expect this to be a feature local residents will particularly appreciate and we are eager to see how this will translate into more EVs in the neighbourhoods where stations have been installed,” Shean says.
Funding for the pilot was provided by Toronto Hydro, with support from Natural Resources Canada. The City of Toronto provided signage, bylaws and the dedicated EV parking.
If phase one goes well, the city is prepared to expand the project to other areas.
Full list of residential curbside chargers:
|500 Commissioners St. (M4M 3N7)|
|43 Alton Ave. (M4L 2M3)|
|Oakcrest Ave. & Westlake Ave. (M4C 1B8)|
|248 Shaw St. (M6J 2W9)|
|10 Palmerston Ave. (M6J 2H7)|
|29 Bowmore Rd. (M4L 3H8)|
|124 Mountjoy Ave. (M4J 1J8)|
|91 Elizabeth St. (M5G 1P4)|
|355 Wellington St. W. (M5V 1E7)|
Editor’s note: This story was updated on November 7, 2020 to correct the date of the first curbside pilot in Montreal.