More vehicle charging stations for Oxford?

By Chris Funston, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

An electric vehicle charging station. JASON KRYK/Postmedia Network photo.

An electric vehicle charging station. JASON KRYK/Postmedia Network photo.

With more people making the switch to electric vehicles, the need for charging stations continues to rise in Oxford County.

Oxford County is currently home to 48 public and private electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in 22 locations, not including the 13 chargers council approved last March, but the county is hoping to install many more in an effort to encourage ownership of electric vehicles.

In a study done by Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium, the Oxford County Feasibility Study: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Data Mapping and Analysis in Support of Oxford County’s EV Accessibility Plan recommends an additional 237 charging stations in Oxford County.

Of these charging stations, 163 would be level-one chargers, which use a standard household electricity outlet to provide about eight kilometres for every hour of charging. These chargers range from $1,600 to $2,200, including installation. In total, it would cost around $1 million to make all of Oxford fully EV-capable.

Dr. Jospia Petrunic, the CEO and director of the consortium, explained there are currently about 180 electric-vehicle owners in Oxford County – and that number is growing.

“We can see a growth curve which is exponential. The horse has left the stable,” she said. “Therefore, the question for a lot of communities is how do we prepare for this energy transformation?”

The study indicates Oxford is aligned with the provincial electric-vehicle ownership statistic of 0.8 per cent. Ontario is hoping to see that number rise to five per cent by 2020, which would mean more than 1,000 electric vehicles in Oxford County.

While that goal is not expected to be met, they do expect the number of electric vehicles in Oxford to rise significantly over the next five years.

To meet this need, the study suggests prioritizing 16 new locations for charging stations, targeting Ingersoll, Norwich, Springford, Tavistock, Thamesford, Tillsonburg and Woodstock. Upgrades are being looked at for stations in Woodstock, Foldens, Ingersoll and Tillsonburg.

High-traffic locations, such as workplace parking lots, hospitals and shopping centres, are the most likely to have stations installed.

In order to densify the Oxford County electric-vehicle supply network, the towns of Lakeside, Embro, Innerkip and Drumbo are being looked at for new chargers as well.

Petrunic explained these four locations fell into a complete gap in the landscape, where if an electric vehicles owner would have no hope of finding anything nearby if they ran out of charge.

“These might be geographical gaps that you address for the sake of humanity to not strand people in the middle of nowhere.”