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New program powering southern Alberta electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Global News

May 31, 2022

Roadblocks are falling away for electric vehicles (EVs).

Roadblocks are falling away for electric vehicles (EVs).

Since Brian Sexton purchased his first EV in 2018, he’s seen more charging stations pop up in southern Alberta.

“We could go maybe as far as Fort Macleod, Coaldale, not much farther than that,” Sexton said. “A few years later, the Peaks to Prairies system was installed and that opened up the south for us.”

SouthGrow Regional Initiative helped create the Peaks to Prairies project, which installed 20 fast-charging EV stations across southern Alberta.

Now, the group is hoping to expand that network.

“It is essential infrastructure that every community and various businesses need to start having available as the density of electric vehicles increases,” said SouthGrow’s executive director Peter Casurella.

With funding from Natural Resources Canada, the SouthGrow zero emission vehicle infrastructure program will provide a rebate of up to 46 per cent for businesses and other organizations installing EV charging stations.

“This is an opportunity for our municipalities and businesses to take advantage of grants that are available nationally to lower the cost of the transition,” Casurella said.

“It’s going to happen. We might as well make sure our people have as easy of a transition as possible.”

And there could soon be longer lines at those plug-ins.

Some Lethbridge dealerships are seeing more interest in their electric vehicles.

“It’s growing at a rate that is very hard to keep up with,” said Lethbridge Hyundai general manager Kyle Puchinger.

“We just need more (charging) stations,” Sexton said.

According to Casurella, funding requests have been steady since the application process opened this month.

“Obviously places like hotels and car dealerships are very interested in taking advantage of it, because it’s a cost they have to incur,” Casurella said.

“There’s also opportunity for landowners who own large apartment buildings to install stations for their tenants.”

By Erik Bay

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