Electric Vehicle (EV) owners in Vancouver will now have to pay up if they want to charge up.
Vancouver City Council has approved a new policy that will see EV owners, who had previously been able to charge up for free at city charge stations, on the hook for electricity.
According to the new policy, EV owners will have to pay $2 per hour for a slow charge.
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Those in a hurry and looking to power up quickly will be on the hook for $16 per hour.
In both cases, drivers will still have to pay an hourly parking meter rate, which was already in place for the use of charging stations.
The city estimates the new rates would be equivalent to about 50 cents per litre of gas.
Green Councillor Adriane Carr says high demand for the charging stations was part of the decision to move ahead with the fees.
“It looks like it’s going to be a pilot project that staff are going to start on quickly. They are very keen to see the response. There are parking meters right now that have electric vehicle charging stations, they are backed up and it’s hard to get at them.”
Council also approved another pilot program calling for 20 new charging stations, 15 of which would be residential installations.
The city currently has 16 curbside charging stations.
Use of electric vehicle charging stations has more than doubled in the past two years in Vancouver and the city says the stations where fees are being introduced had over 17,000 charging sessions last year.
BC Hydro expects the number of electric vehicles in B.C. to increase to about 300,000 in less than 15 years, and Vancouver alone expects to see about 30,000 of the rechargeable cars.
The city says the pilot programs will continue for two years and the results will be reported back to council.
-With files from Canadian Press