Two new electrical vehicle charging stations have been installed at c’usqunela elementary.
The pair are the first set of charging stations to be installed in the school district and were part of the the c’usqunela planning process.
They were already built out into the infrastructure of the building, explained Derek Oppedisano, manager, energy and environmental sustainability for School District 42.
“This was a first step for us to really test the waters and see how it works,” said Oppedisano.
The district went with a company called SWTCH, a company based out of Toronto.
“They have an open network system so eventually down the road if there is a cheaper network provider, a better network provider, we can easily switch without having to break some contract or buy any kind of new hardware,” noted Oppedisano.
And, he said, they are more economical per piece than the charging stations located downtown Maple Ridge, that are with the company ChargePoint.
Most of the cost of installing the chargers was included in the original installation phases of the c’usqunela Elementary School building. However, Oppedisano explained, the cost of the chargers themselves were more than $3,000 each.
“The nice thing about this is that the community centre will be built next to it eventually in the next couple of years and once that happens it will be more broadly used by the community,” said Oppedisano.
The cost to charge at the stations is $2 per hour and they are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. or while the school is open.
Vehicles can fully charge at the level two chargers in about four to five hours.
There are no set plans to put more charging stations at other schools just yet. But, over the next 10 years, as the district aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and replace their existing fleet of vehicles with hybrid plug-ins, Oppedisano would like to see better infrastructure to support the transition.
“This gives us a springboard to be able to say, look, it works or it doesn’t work. What can we do to improve it? And then we can set out those long-term goals,” he said.
However, the amount of power for level two chargers to be installed usually has to be planned in advance.
“A lot of buildings won’t have that in their capacity and if you do you still need to get that power to the outside,” noted Oppedisano.
For other schools in the district, added Oppedisano, installing an EV charger will depend on what kind of extra electrical capacity they have and where it is relative to the parking lot.
But, anything is possible, he said, as long as there is demand.