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Canada’s EV charging network grows to meet rising demand

FLO, Hypercharge deals add over 540 public chargers to country in need of far more, according to research

Metro's deal with FLO to install over 500 chargers at its grocery locations in Quebec and Ontario makes a small dent in Canada's overall projected demand. (Courtesy FLO)

Canada’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network is continuing to make incremental growth, with both FLO and Hypercharge Networks Corp. expanding their reach as the country’s demand for chargers begins to exceed availability.

Quebec City-based FLO announced plans to install over 540 EV chargers in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia in two deals with Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and grocer Metro.

Vancouver-based Hypercharge signed a deal with Deveraux Group to install 79 chargers at multifamily properties in Winnipeg and Edmonton.

The progress on building out the EV charging network comes as the country needs far more charging stations to keep up with EV sales which remained steady in 2023, putting more pressure on demand.

Meeting needs for Canada’s 2035 zero-emissions vehicle sales mandate will require between 442,000 to 469,000 public charging ports, according to Natural Resources Canada using research from Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors.

But that number currently stands at just under 28,200, according to Transport Canada.

FLO, Hypercharge’s latest charging station deals

In late May, FLO publicized a deal to supply 41 of its 100-kilowatt SmartDC fast chargers to FCL, a mix of energy distribution co-operatives operating in Western Canada.

The chargers will be installed at 23 FCL retail locations in B.C starting in the summer, a release states. Chargers will be in urban and rural sites, aimed at equipping a “highway charging corridor.”

FLO will provide the equipment, software, network operations services, maintenance, construction and installation.

"Fast chargers are not just dots on the map, they are much-needed opportunities to keep EV drivers on the road," Louis Tremblay, FLO’s president and CEO, said. "FLO's project with FCL will expand access to fast, reliable charging throughout British Columbia – particularly in rural cities and towns – as the province moves toward 100 per cent zero emissions vehicles by 2035."

Then on Tuesday, FLO unveiled its partnership with Metro to install approximately 500 of its dual port FLO Ultra-fast chargers at more than 130 Metro, Super C, Food Basics and Marché Adonis grocery stores in Quebec and Ontario.

The 320-kilowatt FLO Ultra chargers can charge most new EVs to 80 per cent capacity in 15 minutes, the company says, and has a charge up to 500 kilowatts when paired with a second of its kind.

Most of the Metro installations will be supported by the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s commitment of $235 million to bring over 1,900 public fast charging ports to Canada by 2027.

Hypercharge also announced on Tuesday it would work with Calgary-based real estate company Deveraux to install 60 charging stations in three apartment communities in Winnipeg and 19 charging stations at an apartment community in Edmonton. Delivery is scheduled for mid-2025.

"As we build on our strong, existing relationship with Deveraux that's already seen the installation of 110 charging stations at 10 Deveraux communities across Canada to date, Hypercharge is proud to support Deveraux's ambitious goals to electrify their parking stalls," Chris Koch, head of growth and partnerships at Hypercharge, said in a release.

Canada facing a deficit of EV chargers

Though more public EV chargers are being installed or promised, Canada still lacks the number needed to power an increasingly electrified future, research suggests.

An analysis by Electric Autonomy found an almost 33 per cent increase in public EV chargers from 2022 to 2023, indicating there is growth.

Meeting Natural Resources Canada’s estimate for Canada under a 2035 zero-emissions vehicle sales mandate will mean installing almost 16-times as many public charging ports as there are now, during the next 11 years.

A January 2024 report by Pollution Probe and Mobility Futures Lab on the charging experience in Canada found a ratio of approximately 20 EVs to one EV port in Canada, double the global average of 10 EVs to one charging port. The country is also one of the largest in the world in terms of land mass, meaning many travellers must cross greater distances to reach their destinations.

Having a sufficient amount of public chargers may be crucial to popularizing EV adoption. Public EV charging accessibility in places frequently travelled was named as an important factor behind the decision to buy an EV, a survey of over 1,500 Canadian EV owners by Pollution Probe found.

Over $20 billion in investment over the next three decades is needed to build out an EV charging network, the study from Dunsky calculated.

The federal government has invested over $1 billion into EV charging as of March 2024.

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