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Toronto solves EV charging challenge for driveway-less citizens

Modified utility poles to the rescue!

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If you’ve ever wanted to buy an electric car but have avoided it because you don’t have access to off-street parking and a home charger, there are solutions.

Recently, the city council in Toronto, Canada, in partnership with a local energy supplier and EV charging provider called FLO, installed 17 Level 2 chargers, across nine of the city’s residential neighborhoods, Electric Autonomy Canada reports.

The chargers have been installed specifically to help locals that don’t have off-street parking juice up their EVs overnight and are part of a year-long trial into the effectiveness of such chargers.

Locals will need a special permit to use the chargers overnight, and it will cost just CAD$3 (USD$2.26) for the whole night. During the day the chargers will be available to everyone with an EV at a cost of CAD$2 (USD$1.50) per hour.

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Usually, EV chargers are standalone units. However, in this case, the provider attached the charging points to existing utility poles. It’s similar to what Siemens did in London, England, when it piggy-backed streetlamps to provide curbside charging in residential areas.

“One objective at the heart of this project is to make it possible for Torontonians without a private parking space to own an EV and to be able to charge it conveniently in their neighborhood,” said FLO’s general manager for central Canada, Brookes Shean.

Electric vehicle campaigners in Toronto have been demanding better charging solutions in the city for sometime. The idea of curbside charging in Toronto‘s residential areas was first raised three years ago. However, since getting the go-ahead the 17 chargers were installed in just two weeks.

“How do I charge my EV overnight without a driveway?” is not a new question. As governments around the world push for individuals to switch to electric cars, and in some cases banning fossil fuel cars, EV charging infrastructure in residential areas will need to improve if drivers are going to get onboard.

Indeed, in Toronto, 71% of residents said they were likely to buy an EV in the next five years. More said that they would consider it if more charging points were available.

If the chargers prove popular and get more people switching to EVs the city will look to expand the project and install residential curbside chargers in more neighborhoods.

Correction, November 11, 0852UTC: The original version of this article suggested that some countries are banning EVs, this is not the case. Some governments are banning fossil fuel cars. The article has been updated. We regret the error.


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Published November 10, 2020 — 13:07 UTC