Data shows public EV charging nears pre-pandemic levels
New BC Hydro data shows use of its public EV charging stations has rebounded since COVID-19 restrictions were eased, nearing almost pre-pandemic levels, despite the ongoing health crisis.
In February, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more than 21,000 charging sessions at BC Hydro’s 70 fast charging stations across the province. When COVID-19 stay-at home measures were implemented in mid-March, that number dropped by nearly 20%, and by April, charging sessions had dropped by nearly 30% more to 12,700.
Since then, charging sessions have been steadily increasing with B.C.’s economic restart, and have increased by almost 50 per cent since their lowest point in April. In fact, there were almost 20,000 charging sessions in the month of June, which is almost on par with pre-pandemic levels, BC Hydro reported July 24.
Although public charger use has rebounded equally at BC Hydro stations across the province, data shows the most popular charging location is at the Grandview Highway Superstore in Vancouver, likely due to its proximity to Highway 1. Other popular charging stations near major roads or highways include Colwood Park on Vancouver Island, Britton Creek Rest Area in the Fraser Valley and Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops.
The majority of BC Hydro fast chargers are located within 300 metres of a major road or highway. In addition, the frequency of charging at its highway stations indicates more British Columbians are commuting or taking road trips in an EV, despite a what survey conducted on behalf of BC Hydro found last year. Close to 70% of British Columbians indicated they are hesitant to purchase an EV because they do not think it can travel long distances.
BC Hydro is encouraging EV drivers to charge at home as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but recognizes many customers rely on public charging infrastructure. When using a public charging station during the pandemic, BC Hydro recommends: Taking care to practice social distancing at stations and staying two metres apart from others at all times, if possible. And bringing sanitizing wipes or gloves to minimize potential transfer of COVID-19.
Lead image: The EV charging station at Elkford’s Community Centre. Image was taken during the 2019 S. e-KNOW file photo