The Atmosphere is Electric in South Hill

November 16, 2018
Cross Sector

Recently the South Hill Business Area got a big boost: two DC Fast chargers (DCFC) and two Level 2 stations (L2) are now operational in the parking lot behind the West Fraser Street retail strip at East 44th Avenue. The new EHub installation is an initiative of the South Hill Business Association in partnership with the City of Vancouver. South Hill’s Executive Director, Susan Lilholt predicts the EVCS will have a positive impact on the area.

“With a bike score of 100%, a walk score of 91%, great public transit and parking, and now the activation of our new Electric Vehicle Charging Stations this week, it’s easy to see why; South Hill has completed the transportation loop and truly become a ‘green-friendly’ commercial and residential neighbourhood.”

 – Susan Lilholt, Executive Director SHBIA

The Market Sets the Charging Rate

The cost of a DC Fast charge right now in South Hill is $0.21/minute ($13/hr.) The DC Fast chargers are only the 5th and 6th installation of this type in Vancouver and are designed to get you on your way faster. Climate Policy Analyst for the City of Vancouver, Ian Neville, elaborates on the pricing structure: “The cost of a DC Fast charge right now in South Hill is $0.21/minute ($13/hr,)” Neville says.

Since charging for car battery electricity is fairly new for the City, the approach by planners is to set the price based on usage – if usage is too low, the City will reduce the price. Similarly, prices would rise to respond to low vacancy at the stations. “That way,” explains Neville, “we can get the right price for the market at each site.”

“Fifteen minutes on a DCFC typically gives you about 50km of range,” states Neville. “One hour on an L2 typically gives about 30km of range. So at $0.21/min, you’re spending about $0.06/km. Compare that with a 7L/100km gasoline car, where you’re spending $0.11/km with gas at $1.50/L (and of course, right now, it’s more than that).”

Charge Up the Local Economy

“Those charging stations are an excellent example of ‘if you build them people will come.’ I now frequent more restaurants/stores that have [EV charging options] (and pass by others that don’t).”

 – Pat S., Vancity client and EV driver

Providing EV charging in good proximity to diverse retail means EV drivers can charge up while taking full advantage of the shopping district. If you’re planning a stop in South Hill, then you might wish to plug in to an L2 which currently will cost you $2/hr. Using the Level 2 charger for a one-hour battery boost gives you time to stroll Fraser Street to take it all in. All that cash you save buying electricity instead of gasoline could be spent stocking up on dinner supplies at Buy-Low or one of the many produce stores, or dining out at one of 29 restaurants in the area; there are tastes of the world to be found here. There’s also a veritable financial centre in South Hill with all five major banks as well as Vancity, Khalsa Credit Union and SBI in the nine-block area. With the holidays approaching, check out some of the area’s destination stores like Sunny Electronics for brand name audiovisual systems, Veloholic for the serious cyclist, and Homewares for kitchen wares. You can even take in a yoga class at Eastside Fitness while charging up. South Hill is well served when it comes to the medical community and has two walk-in clinics and several pharmacies including a Chinese herb shop.

Just look for the orange ChargePoint Ehub in the public parking lot on the south side of 44th, just behind the West Fraser Street shops.

Tools & Etiquette

Applications like PlugShare and provide information on where to find charging stations locally and further afield. PlugShare also provides information on the kind of connectors available at each public charging site. Another app, ChargePoint has one of the largest charging networks in the world. Their mobile app also can notify you when your charge is done and advise you when a station opens up.

If you’re a new electric vehicle driver you’ll want to be respectful of your fellow green drivers. It’s polite to move your car from the chargers to a regular parking stall once your vehicle is charged so that the service is available to others.

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