NB Power will be installing 52 new electric vehicle chargers across the province using a $350,000 investment from the federal government’s zero-emission vehicle infrastructure program. It’s welcome news to New Brunswick EV owners who say more stations are needed as more motorists move away from gas-powered autos.
The chargers, which will all be available by February 2024, will primarily be used to charge NB Power’s fleet vehicles, as well as vehicles used by NB Power employees.
At a press conference on Tuesday, NB Power representative Jean-Pierre Ouellette said that the chargers would be available for use by the general public in certain places.
“In areas where we have visitors, like in Mactaquac, we’ll have workplaces chargers there that the public will be able to use if they have access to the flow network through the e-charge network app,” he said.
Electric vehicle owners like Moncton’s Dan Landry are calling for an increase in infrastructure in order to keep up with the rising popularity of the vehicles.
“At the moment with the amount of EVs on the road it’s not a problem yet, but if we keep doubling the amount of EVs on the road every year then we could be getting into problems,” he told Global News.
Most of the charging stations in the province are Level 2 chargers, which charge an EV over six to eight hours.
Landry said there is a greater need for access to faster Level 3 chargers.
“For example, I drove to Montreal last month and I would stop at (Level 3 chargers). You charge up an EV for around 15-45 minutes and you can hit the road again. So that’s really what we would need for more road-trip capacity,” he said.
Miramichi resident Tracy Miersch, who is often on the road with her EV for her work as a merchandiser, said it can sometimes be challenging to charge her vehicle in the north of the province.
“In Campbellton there is only one NB Power charging station and it’s got one Level 2, and one Level 3. Because it’s right on the border of Quebec it’s very busy now that the borders are open again,” she said.
Like Landry, she is hoping to see infrastructure increase as fast as the number of electric vehicle drivers does.
“It’s definitely going to become more of a concern,” Miersch said. “Because in a lot of these small communities there may only be one or two charging stations in the entire small town, so as EVs become more popular it’s going to become more challenging.”