Telus, Jolt aim to bring 5,000 DC fast chargers, limited free charging to Canada
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EV Charging
Jun 28, 2023
Mehanaz Yakub

The Telus-Jolt partnership will allow drivers across Canada to get their first 7 kWh of daily fast charging free by 2027

Telus, a leading Canadian telecommunication and technology company, is launching a new electric vehicle charging network, alongside Australia-based EV charging company, Jolt. Photo: Jolt

The Telus-Jolt partnership will allow drivers across Canada to get their first 7 kWh of daily fast charging free by 2027

Canadian telecommunications company Telus is launching a new electric vehicle charging network in partnership with an Australian EV charging network developer, Jolt.

The two companies say they will install up to 5,000 DC fast chargers over the next five years in urban areas across Canada. The project aims to facilitate the growing demand for EV charging — and particularly for DC fast charging.

“We’ve been looking to get our whole business on renewable energy and have a target to be 100 per cent renewable energy utilization by 2025. So anything around environmental sustainability is something we’re keyed into,” says Tony Geheran, chief operations officer at Telus, in an interview with Electric Autonomy.

What makes this network different is that Telus and Jolt say much of the charging — 7 kWh daily, per customer — will be provided for free.

“Jolt and Telus partnered based on the shared values between the two businesses whereby we both want to contribute to making Canada and the community more sustainable,” wrote a Jolt spokesperson in an email to Electric Autonomy.

It was Jolt, founded in 2018, that approached Telus over a year ago with the proposal for partnering and expanding its EV charging network operations into the Canadian market.

“We wanted to go with Jolt because they’ve got a tried and tested business model,” says Geheran. “They know how the mechanics of making sure these chargers are maintained, work well and their uptime is good. Their whole business model is predicated on that.”

Jolt already offers limited free electric vehicle fast-charging stations in Australia. It also began operating in New Zealand last year where it is working to build charging infrastructure in partnership with governments, cities, utilities, transit authorities and private landowners.

It also has plans to open in the United Kingdom.

Free DC fast charging in Canada

Telus and Jolt are already starting to build “quite a number” of charging stations in Toronto and in the Lower Mainland region of B.C., says Geheran.

The sites are in urban downtown areas, the company claims, but Electric Autonomy could not independently verify this through the company’s “find a charger” webpage. Instead, viewers are redirected to a map of Australia.

Across the Jolt-Telus EV charging network, all EV drivers will have access to 7 kWh of free charging per day through the Jolt mobile app. This equates to around 40 to 50 kilometres of range and a charging time of 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the vehicle, say the companies.

Telus and Jolt estimate that taking advantage of the 7 kWh of free daily charging offered by their charging network could save drivers approximately $1,000 per year in public DC fast charging costs. (Neither company cites the information this estimate is based on.)

If EV drivers need more charging, they can extend their charging session. Billing over 7 kWh is based on the regional electricity rate.

“I think this is an exciting business model that Jolt will bring into Canada,” says Geheran.

Telus will leverage its expertise in network-building partnerships to help with the infrastructure rollout of the charging network.

Geheran adds that Telus not only focused on using renewable energy for its own purposes but also on assisting its customers in enhancing energy efficiency within their respective businesses.

“[This partnership] seemed like an extension of our business model and it’s good for our communities. It’s good for making EV charging accessible and for getting more EVs on the road,” says Geheran.

Possible NACS plug adoption

The Telus-Jolt network in Canada will be 100 per cent certified renewable power. The charging stations will offer both Combined Charging System (CCS) and CHAdeMO connectors.

However, given the latest buzz around the North American Charging Standard (NACS) charging plugs gaining support from automakers and charging network operators alike, Electric Autonomy reached out to Jolt to learn more about their plans to adopt this connector type for their Canadian charging network.

“As we consistently optimize our product and technology based on market changes and customer needs, we will be monitoring any further opportunities for further product optimizations as we progress,” says Jolt’s spokesperson.

Geheran also acknowledged Telus’ commitment to creating an inclusive network accessible to all EV users.

“We want to make [our chargers] accessible for all EV users. It has to fit the predominant charging connectors in the market, so that would be where we’ll be going on that,” says Geheran.

In addition to charging plugs, the stations will integrate Telus’ public Wi-Fi functionality and power. The WiFi will support digital advertisements displayed on the charging stations and enable customers to connect via the Jolt app.

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