A new initiative from the federal government and NB Power could be an important early step in transitioning to a more environmentally friendly transportation model.
But experts say creating a massive change might require more than just this plan on its own.
The Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s Executive Director, Lois Corbett, applauds the announcement of the eCharge Network that will see fifteen charging stations set up throughout the province, however she doesn’t believe it’s the only initiative government should roll out to help drivers make the switch.
“I don’t think it’s the entire solution but I think it’s a key part of the solution,” Corbett said. “Other states and provinces have provided almost a package of incentives to help us make the transition from gas guzzlers to more fuel efficient vehicles to the ultimate electric vehicles.”
One thing a large network of fast charging stations is said to accomplish is providing existing electric vehicle drivers with a bit of peace of mind by combating what she describes as “driver’s angst”.
“Because we’re so used to having a full tank of gas or knowing where the gas gauge is,” Corbett said of traditional driver habits. “We’re uncertain about how much charge is left in our battery and we’re wondering whether or not it will actually get us there.”
Brad Wasson, NB Power’s Director of Product Development, indicated that many drivers of electric vehicles share this uneasy feeling and the strategic placement of charging stations at large fuel facilities is specifically designed to alleviate such concerns.
“They essentially wanted our charging stations to be located about every 65 kilometres along the TransCanada Highway,” Wasson explained. “So if you start at the border of Quebec and you continue on until you get to the border with Nova Scotia.”
NB Power’s successful bid to the federal government secured a $500,000 investment to set up the network throughout the province.
The eCharge Network will coincide with the establishment of other networks across the country such as FLO and Electric Circuit, allowing drivers to sign up for a membership and add credits to a single account.