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Charging up: A City-UVic partnership develops best practices for equitable EV charging infrastructure

December 11, 2023

An electric car charging at a new EV charging station

Access to electric-vehicle (EV) charging is the single most impactful measure the City of Victoria can take to support EV adoption, according to researchers Curran Crawford of the University of Victoria and Runa Das of Royal Roads University.  

Victoria's Climate Leadership Plan has set targets of 30% renewable-energy powered passenger vehicles by 2030 and 100% by 2050. Modelling has shown that provision of Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) infrastructure significantly influences EV adoption, prompting Greater Victoria investment in expanded public and private EV charging infrastructure. 

In partnership with the City, Crawford, Das and three graduate student interns have researched where the DCFC stations can best be sited for equitable and optimal use in neighbourhoods with multi-unit residential buildings that have few dedicated parking stalls. 

Optimal siting, they point out, requires considering electrical infrastructure alongside business cases, consumer adoption preferences and neighbourhood planning in the wider context of low-carbon transport and community planning. 

“The City will continue to promote projects and advance policies to support mode shift to public transit, walking and cycling,” says Steve Young, Climate and Environmental Sustainability Specialist. “In addition to this, we have an important role in supporting charging infrastructure for private and shared automobiles.”  

While this project is specifically helping to guide Victoria charger installation efforts, it has also already produced a best-practice guide for Crown corporation BC Hydro to ease the process for other municipalities and provide practical support for communities that need neighbourhood DCFC to meet their own GHG reduction targets. Crawford and Das’s team is also documenting a detailed GIS-based siting approach that can be used by other municipalities. 

Part of the research also included a survey for Victoria residents in the fall of 2023, whether they are EV drivers or not, to help shape the future of sustainable transportation in the city. The survey will be repeated in the fall of 2024 after additional DCFC stations are installed by the City, and combined with analysis of charger use data, the findings will be used to verify and update effective and equitable best practices for charger siting. 

Together, the City and the research partners are advancing equitable access to electricity to help keep the city, the residents — and climate action — moving forward. 

Rachel Goldsworthy