Starting next year, EV drivers in Quebec and New Brunswick will get the chance to plug in and give back using Canada’s first DC fast-charger network run by a national non-profit
Earth Day Canada, a Montreal-based, national environmental non-profit organization, has announced the launch of an electric vehicle fast-charging network across Quebec and New Brunswick.
The network, called EcoCharge, will consist of 100 DC fast-charging stations located at 50 IGA grocery store locations, for drivers who want to power up while stocking up.
EcoCharge is unique among charging networks in Canada in two ways: first, it’s the only such network run (and chiefly financed) by a non-profit organization; secondly, it’s the only one that offers to donate a portion of charging proceeds to charity.
Specifically, all charging fees collected on the 22nd of each month (Earth Day is April 22) will be donated to a local charity in the host’s jurisdiction.
“Earth Day Canada wants to inspire citizens to transition to electric vehicles by focusing on the customer experience,” said Pierre Lussier, president of Earth Day Canada in a press release about the announcement. “Using the EcoCharge network means contributing to protecting the environment in two ways — encouraging the electrification of transportation and supporting Earth Day Canada’s programs at the same time.”
The 100 charging stations will be situated in both rural and urban IGA locations and will provide a full charge to any EV model (Tesla adapters are available) in 20 minutes — “the time it takes to shop for groceries” — notes Earth Day Canada.
With units operating at 62.5 kW charging speed, it claims to be the fastest network of multi-vehicle charging stations in Canada. All units feature two connectors: CCS Combo and CHAdeMO.
“The presence of independent IGA stores in all regions of Quebec allows us to offer a practical solution to electric vehicle drivers who will be able to charge their vehicles in the time it takes to shop for groceries,” said Luc Daigle, president of the IGA Extra Daigle Supermarkets in the release. “Contributing to the installation of charging stations in the parking lots of our supermarkets is another way that we are doing our part for the environment.”
All but two charger sites are in Quebec — from Témiscaming in the west, to Rouyn-Noranda and St-Félicien in the north, and Gaspé in the east. The New Brunswick stations are in Edmundston and Caraquet. The full network is expected to be online by fall of 2021.
The project is financed with a combination of public and private funds: $8 million from Earth Day Canada, $5 million from Natural Resources Canada, $1.75 million from participating IGA grocers and Fonds Éco IGA.
Charities can apply
Charities eligible for the monthly program include those that do work in ecological or food security fields. Those that want to be included are encouraged to apply through Earth Day Canada’s website. Local IGAs and Earth Day Canada will choose recipients together.
And if all goes well with the launch, Earth Day Canada has plans to push the EcoCharge network national, says Lussier, in an e-mail to Electric Autonomy Canada.
“Our dream and vision is for Canadians to be able to drive across Canada powered by the EcoCharge network.”