Adrian Dean is looking forward to having greater freedom in his 2014 Nissan Leaf, an electric car, now that fast charging stations are coming to Saskatchewan.
“Really it gives electric car owners freedom. It gives us the freedom to travel, it allows us to move beyond the small radius that we’re used to,” he said.
Driving an older electric vehicle, Dean’s range isn’t too far. The longest regular road trip he’d do is going from the Queen City to Regina Beach.
Now, Petro Canada has opened its first of four fast-charging stations in Saskatchewan at their east Regina location.
The company is building 50 fast-charging stations across Canada, with four in Saskatchewan. All four will be along Highway 1, with chargers being built in Whitewood, Moose Jaw, and Swift Current.
“This is a huge boost for us here in Saskatchewan. Prior to this we only had an investment from Peavey Mart and the Sun Country Highways chargers about five or six years ago. With this we’re expecting about 20 fast chargers to be built in Saskatchewan in the next six to eight months,” Saskatchewan Electric Vehicle Association founder Matt Pointer said.
Tesla plans on building superchargers all along Trans Canada. Saskatchewan stops include Maple Creek, Swift Current, Chaplin, Moose Jaw, Regina, Wolseley, Moosomin, and Davidson up on Highway 11.
Audi dealerships in Saskatoon and Regina opened public fast-charging stations “about three or four months ago.”
Websites like chargehub.com can also help drivers find charging stations all across Saskatchewan, from Assiniboia to Prince Albert. However, many of these will take upwards of a few hours for a full charge.
These new fast-charging stations are capable of energizing a depleted vehicle in about an hour.
Both Pointer and Dean said their fueling mentality changed when going from a gas to electric vehicle. Instead of fueling up fully every week or two, they charge enough to get their desired range on the road.
“Ninety per cent of the time people actually charge their electric vehicles at home and very rarely use the public charger, but once they get out on the highway that’s where these chargers really come into play,” Pointer said.
Pointer added he is hopeful expanding electric vehicle infrastructure will encourage more drivers to make the switch. The most common questions he gets is “where do you charge your vehicle.”
Currently, the Petro fast chargers are free to use. The company says they will begin charging customers for electricity in the fall.