A Glimpse into the Future: Better Access to Charging can Accelerate the Electric Vehicle Revolution
By Suzanne Goldberg
Canada has an ambitious plan to achieve its climate change targets and the increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EV) and buildout of EV charging infrastructure will play a critical role in meeting them. To that end, the federal government has laid out a series of goals for increasing sales of zero emission vehicles – 10 per cent of total sales in 2025, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040. The market potential for EVs is growing too, driven by increasing model availability, consumer demand and aided by government policy. A recent poll by Abacus Research and Clean Energy Canada found that consumer interest in EVs across Canada is on the rise and we know that supporting new EV drivers will require an all-hands-on-deck effort.
What Drivers Need to Make the Switch
BloombergNEF predicts that “EVs will account for 58 per cent of new passenger vehicle sales by 2040,” making it clear that there is a tremendous opportunity to deploy more charging infrastructure across Canada to support the transition. Being able to charge up when and where drivers need to is key to that success and will require convenient, reliable and accessible charging from coast to coast, in both urban and rural areas.
As the shift to electric mobility accelerates, a critical piece of enabling widespread adoption of EVs is ensuring that the driver experience is seamless. The experience of locating, starting a session and paying for a charge no matter where a driver is located must be as easy as possible. As ChargePoint’s chief marketing officer, Colleen Jansen, said at the recent VERGE 20 conference, “When you’re asking consumers to change a pattern, something they’ve known for so long, you have to meaningfully demonstrate how the experience can change their lives.”
Simply put, fueling an EV can’t just be different than gassing up an internal combustion engine-powered car, it has to be better. That’s one reason ChargePoint has worked with other charging networks around the globe to make EV driving more accessible.
Why Open Access to Networks is Key
Canada is a big country, often with long distances between destinations, which is why roaming integrations between EV charging networks are crucial. Roaming integrations allow drivers to charge between multiple networks with one account and no additional fees. One of ChargePoint’s first roaming integration in North America was with Canadian charging provider FLO, in 2018. The roaming integration enables drivers on both networks to charge at public charging spots across the U.S. and Canada, giving them access to more charging stations along their route. Thanks to these types of integrations, EV drivers across North America can easily travel between provinces and countries with access to tens of thousands of public chargers. Whether someone is travelling from Brandon, Manitoba, to St. Catharines, Ontario, or from Quebec to Maine, ChargePoint believes they should be able to charge up when and where they need to.
How Businesses Can Help
With demand for EVs increasing rapidly in Canada, businesses have an opportunity to help get more Canadians in EVs and provide new offerings to customers by playing a role in the deployment of charging that can meet the increasing demand. Having an EV charger at your business can help attract EV driving customers who need a charge and spend more time (and potentially money) in stores, creates loyalty and adds a benefit for customers, and can fill an essential need for employees that are increasingly driving electric.
That’s why businesses, from convenience stores and gas stations to parking lot providers and grocery stores, have a role to play, and an opportunity to capitalize upon, offering EV charging to their customers. Already, offering EV charging at these businesses is emerging as an important way to retain existing customers while attracting new ones. Making sure charging is available and reliable while conveniently supporting a seamless driver experience will go a long way.
For its part, federal and provincial governments are providing incentives to support investment in charging infrastructure. These programs continue to support investment by businesses in the deployment of charging between provinces and across the country.
The Road Ahead
The shift to electric mobility is well underway and the benefits of embracing the electric revolution for drivers and businesses are numerous. Businesses are already benefiting by offering their employees and customers convenient charging options, governments are making progress towards climate targets by making EVs and charging infrastructure more accessible. Organizations like ChargePoint are fulfilling their goal of enabling the movement of more people and goods on electricity by providing a seamless and connected charging experience.
Now and in the years ahead, the shift to electric mobility will not only play a pivotal role in helping combat climate change, but reduce costs, increase energy savings, and improve the environment for communities around the world. The change is upon us and now is the time to act.
Suzanne Goldberg is an energy, climate and electric vehicle policy professional with over 10 years of experience. She is currently the director of public policy for ChargePoint in Canada, the world’s leading EV charging network, with more than 100,000 places to charge on its network around the world. In this role, she covers federal, provincial and municipal affairs, managing engagement on electric vehicle policy across Canada. Prior to ChargePoint, Suzanne was the director of research and outreach for START at Simon Fraser University and a founding partner of the consulting firm Navius Research Inc.