A residential charger for Circuit électrique Hydro-Quebec

Hydro Québec, in a partnership with Quebec municipalities, is offering a grant of $12,000 per charger to municipalities that want to put accessible curbside charging in their cities

The Electric Circuit, the electric vehicle charging network operated by Hydro-Québec, announced this week it will install up to 4,500 standard electric vehicle charging stations in urban centres by 2028 in partnership with Quebec’s municipalities.

The initiative is designed to provide charging options for drivers who are unable to charge their electric vehicle at home. Hydro-Québec will fund the project by providing grants to municipalities of up to $12,000 per standard charger. Each station must have a two standard chargers, making the total grant amount per station $24,000.

“The addition of these 4,500 charging stations is excellent news for the electric vehicle drivers of today and tomorrow who will have easier access to charging near their homes or workplaces, said France Lampron, director of transportation electrification at Hydro-Québec. “For municipalities, this is a great opportunity to support the growing number of residents who are choosing electric vehicles.”

Solution for charging deserts

Curbside charging is being promoted by other municipalities — both large and small — as a way to solve at-home charging issues. In one of the bigger projects in Toronto, 17 Level 2 chargers were installed in nine locations across the city. That program was a joint effort between Toronto Hydro, the City of Toronto and FLO.

In order to qualify for the Hydro-Québec grant, the charging stations must provide overnight charging in neighbourhoods where EV owners do not have access to private outdoor outlets and daytime charging downtown and near shops. In addition, municipalities must allow access to the curbside stations at all hours every day of the year and provide free overnight parking.

For the first two years, the program is exclusively for curbside stations.

“This is great news for Québec’s cities and municipalities,” said Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change. “Making it possible for residents who rent, and even some homeowners, to charge their vehicles when the option is otherwise not available to them will help us meet our goal of increasing the number of electric vehicles in Québec, so that, collectively, we can drastically reduce GHGs in Québec.”

With over 3,100 stations — including 466 fast chargers — the Electric Circuit is the largest public EV charging network in Quebec and among the largest in Canada.

Interested municipalities must apply for the grant by August 31, 2021.