electric vehicle

Program plugs electric vehicle use in workplaces

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Employers, commercial building owners and managers interested in enabling their employees and tenants to charge their electric vehicles (EVs) while at work just got a boost from the Ontario government. Steven Del Duca, still acting as minister of transportation at the time, last week announced an incentive program through which these groups can apply to receive funding for as much as 80 per cent of the costs of buying and installing EV charging stations, capped at $7,500 per charging space.

“Workplaces are a very common place where EV drivers choose to charge their vehicles,” Monte Kwinter, MPP for York-Centre, said in a press release announcing the program. “Building more charging stations at workplaces and commercial buildings across Ontario will undoubtedly offer employees added convenience as they go about their daily lives.”

The Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program comes as part of a broader push by the province to curb greenhouse gas emissions. It also follows proposed regulatory changes designed to make it easier to install electric vehicle charging stations on condo properties, as well as roughly $2.2-million in incentives delivered through a program that has seen 2,600 home charging stations installed.

Up to $5-million in funding has been allocated to the new program offering incentives to install electric vehicle charging stations at workplaces. Applications are now being accepted and will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

To qualify for the incentive, applicants have to either own or directly control the parking spaces in question and provide them mainly for employee use at workplaces with 10 or more employees. The program calls for level 2 charging stations, which run on a 240-volt system and take around four to eight hours to completely recharge electric vehicles.

The number of incentives available to a particular location is limited to two spaces or four per cent of employee parking spaces, whichever is greater. The number of incentives available to a particular applicant is limited to 50 annually.

Commercial building owners and managers applying for the incentive for parking spaces that are available but not exclusive to their tenants’ employees are to make the four-per-cent calculation based on half of their parking spaces. Tenants applying for the incentive for leased parking spaces have to show that they have the property owner’s permission to install charging stations.

Recipients will have six months after securing approval of their application to get their charging stations up and running and report back to the ministry to claim their incentive.

The program requires incentive recipients to operate charging stations for no fewer than five years and maintain them in working condition throughout that time, setting a two-week deadline for repairing out-of-service stations. Incentive recipients who relocate before that five years is up are expected to pay out of pocket to bring the charging stations with them.

During the five-year period, incentive recipients will have to fulfill annual reporting requirements, which will include providing data such as the number of different employees who used the charging stations and the gross revenue generated by user fees, which may be levied to recover related electricity costs but no more than that.

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