Trans-Canada Highway to get 34 fast-charging stations for electric vehicles

Jul 27 2017, 9:03 pm

The Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) is about to get all charged up.

A massive boost in Canada’s electric vehicle industry has lead to the development and installation of a network of 34 fast-charging stations along the highway. Toronto-based eCAMION, along with Dallas’ Leclanché North America and Geneva’s SGEM, will lead the project, which is designed to “encourage the adoption of electric vehicles in Canada.”

According to the developers, the major public private initiative entails an investment of $17.3 million and is being partially funded by a $8 million repayable contribution from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) under the Canadian Energy Innovation Program.

Canada recognizes the key role electric vehicles will play in reducing emissions from the transportation sector,” said Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, in a press release. “With more electric vehicles becoming available, we want to make them an easy choice for Canadians. This strategic investment brings us closer to having a national coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle charging stations while growing our economy and creating good jobs for Canada’s middle-class.”

To manage the TCH project, eCAMION and Leclanché formed a Toronto-based joint venture, named FAST Charge Inc.

While most EV charging stations require about six to eight hours to charge a car, the new system developed by FAST Charge will use large-format lithium-ion batteries that consist of an energy storage system. Along with the efficient batteries, there will be multiple outlets to charge several vehicles at once. This will all enable faster charging, and will allow drivers to charge their vehicles in just 20 minutes.

“Our system will recharge the battery storage units during off-peak times at considerable cost-savings and reduction in stress to the grid,” said Bryan Urban, EVP of Leclanché North America and president of FAST Charge. “Vehicles will be able to power up during peak hours using off-peak energy and continue on their journey in a relatively similar amount of time it would take to fuel a fossil-fuel vehicle, grab a snack and visit a bathroom.”

Manufacturing is scheduled to get underway in the first quarter of 2018 with installation of EV charging stations to be completed through the remainder of 2018.

The FAST Charge stations will be installed at 34 locations along the Trans-Canada Highway roadway connecting Ontario and Manitoba Provinces – a total distance of approximately 3,000 kilometres or 1,860 miles with the stations spaced approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) apart, according to the developers.

“This is perhaps the largest infrastructure project for electrical vehicles to be deployed at one time anywhere in the world,” said Elad Barak, VP business development of eCAMION. “We are pleased to collaborate with Natural Resources Canada, Leclanché and SGEM to deliver a public infrastructure improvement of this importance in terms of product innovation, environmental benefits and bold policy initiative.”

The installation of 102 charging units at the 34 different locations will reduce emissions by an estimated 0.7 million tons over the first five years of operation. Additionally, each charging station can be connected to a renewable energy source such as solar or wind to facilitate 100-percent emission-free driving.

The full project is scheduled for completion by 2019.

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