With the announcement of largest electric vehicle funding to date in Canada, there was a celebratory mood amongst participant at a late September conference in Toronto – which one presenter called “a victory lap.”
The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) announced a $500 million commitment to support large-scale private sector EV charging across the country. These projects have revenue-generating potential but also present financial risk for companies in the short-term, said Charles Todd, managing director of investments at CIB.
“We’re absorbing a big portion of that risk for them, as they know that they won’t have that huge payment at the end,” said Todd.
This funding is key because the government wants to reassure consumers and businesses that concerns over EV battery range – especially in cold weather – are being addressed. It plans to add 50,000 more chargers soon. This is in addition to the 22,000 public charges announced by the government in August. “We’re targeting mostly fast chargers across the country so folks can leave their home areas without concern,” said Todd.
The announcement was made at the first in-person gathering of the Electric Mobility Canada, an association of companies, utilities and government agencies, since 2019. During the conference, François Lefèvre, Nissan’s chief marketing officer for EVs, was asked about claims by several automakers that Canada needs more than 1.6 million public chargers to achieve its 2035 mandate of 100 per cent zero emissions new vehicle sales.
“I drive Leafs, I don’t roll leaves – that number is a little bit ridiculous,” he said jokingly, referencing the company’s EV. “When talking fast chargers, we believe a number of 13,000 to 15,000 is a realistic figure.
Michael Bettencourt bought his first EV in late 2011 and has followed the Canadian EV scene ever since. Follow him on Twitter @MCBet10court
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