NRCan seeks proposals for EV fast chargers along underserved areas of national highways
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EV Charging
Mar 27, 2020
Luke Sarabia

RFP calls for proposals for electric, hydrogen and natural gas refueling stations, with up to $5 million available per project and a deadline extended to reflect the COVID-19 outbreak

Canada’s national highway network. Source: Transport Canada

RFP calls for proposals for electric, hydrogen and natural gas refueling stations, with up to $5 million available per project and a deadline extended to reflect the COVID-19 outbreak

Natural Resources Canada has launched a request for proposals (RFP) under its Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative (EVAFID), which provides funding for electric vehicle fast charging and hydrogen and natural gas refueling projects across the country’s key transport corridors.

The RFP calls for proposals to build fast chargers along underserved areas of Canada’s national highway system, which consists of over 38,000 kilometres of road across the nation including the Trans-Canada Highway as well as a number of smaller regional routes.

The program also calls for hydrogen and natural gas refueling projects that will extend freight corridors or create new freight corridors. It is accepting applications until July 23rd, an application period which is extended to reflect the current outbreak of COVID-19. 

NRCan will provide 50 per cent of funding for fast chargers rated for 50 kW and above, up to a maximum of $50,000 per charger. If built on the same site as 50 kW plus chargers, chargers between 20 kW and 49 kW can also receive up to $15,000 each, and Level 2 chargers up to $5,000 per connector. Each project is eligible for total funding of up to $5 million.

Hydrogen and natural gas refueling projects can receive 50 per cent of project costs up to a maximum of $1,000,000.

This round of funding follows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s directive in his December mandate letter to Seamus O’Regan, minister of natural resources, to have “up to 5,000 additional [electric vehicle] charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway and other major road networks and in Canada’s urban and rural areas.”

Open source given priority

Proposals for charging projects must be for new projects located in Canada, and must be open to the public at all times. Applicants must demonstrate that they are able to secure 50 per cent of the funding required for the project, and that they have the proper authority to install the infrastructure on the land.

At least one charging connector must be CHAdeMO compliant, and another must be CCS compliant or be a proprietary make such as Tesla’s. Additional proprietary connectors may account for up to 75 per cent of proposed installations.

Priority will be given to projects which are co-located with existing infrastructure and propose stations located at an optimal distance from each other, which the request identifies as 65 kilometres. Charging infrastructure which is interoperable and communicates using an open source protocol will also be given preference.

The EVAFID program was established in 2016 with $96.4 million of federal funding over six years; last year’s budget provided an additional $130 million to renew the fund until 2024. As of March 2020, the program has selected 837 EV fast chargers, 23 natural gas refuelling stations and 8 hydrogen refuelling stations for funding.

Fast-charging networks grow

This request for proposals is set to bolster a quickly growing national network of fast charging stations, many have which have already benefitted from NRCan funding.

The recently announced Ivy Charging Network, for instance, received $8 million of funding from EVAFID towards its plan to build 160 fast chargers across Ontario by the end of 2021. Petro-Canada’s cross-country fast charging network, the Electric Highway, also received $4.6 million in funding.

Despite this growing strength, the majority of fast charging stations are still located along the Trans-Canada Highway, leaving many rural areas lacking the infrastructure which makes longer-distance EV drives possible. As such, this RFP’s targeting of underserved areas will make it easier for Canadians in all parts of the country to go electric. 

Natural Resources Canada’s website includes an interactive tool for locating electric vehicle chargers and other alternative fuelling stations, which users will likely begin to see become increasingly populated as funding decisions are made for this RFP in October of this year.

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