The leader of the battery pack

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Government, property owners and employers all have a stake in the EV economy

The rise of the electric vehicle (EV) over the past few years is changing the auto industry profoundly, with many major auto manufacturers focusing their attention on newer, greener technology to help the environment.

While the number of EVs is on the rise, another problem has also arisen: there is simply not enough charging infrastructure currently available in Canada to make owning an EV a convenient option for drivers.

For current EV owners, the reality is that most of the existing charging stations are in residential or public properties. Office workers especially need adequate charging stations in place so that employees can charge while they work to reduce range anxiety.

And for would-be EV owners, this lack of charging infrastructure could be a huge impediment to purchasing an EV.

In Edmonton, for example, there are only 11 charging stations within the city’s vicinity, according to the Canadian Automobile Association’s online EV Charging Station Location.

The good news is that there are existing government incentive programs available today to encourage fleet owners and residential building managers to go green.

In British Columbia, for example, provincially-funded programs like the Fleet Champions Program and the Multi Unit Residential Building (MURB) Charging Program provide reimbursement and support for electric fleets and charging station installation in residential buildings.

The MURB Charging Program, in particular, has been widely successful in the province and can easily be expanded to include commercial buildings as well.

The MURB Charging Program provides a rebate of up to 75 per cent or up to $4,500 per each Level 2 charging station installed in a multi-unit residential building.

Residential building managers and owners are required to apply for the incentive; once approved, they receive unparalleled support during the installation process.

Car Dealers and auto manufacturers offering electric vehicles to consumers are only part of the solution. We need everyone to get onboard to carry on the momentum, including office managers and corporations.

Last year was a big year for the electric vehicle market in Canada.

According to Fleetcarma, the total sales for EVs in 2016 was a record-setting number of 11,000 vehicles sold, with the total number of EVs in Canada being just shy of the 30,000 mark. British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec accounted for 95 per cent of all electric vehicle sales in 2016.

Perhaps a solution to the lack of workplace charging stations are provincial and federal “workplace charging challenges” — incentives similar to what the U.S. Department of Energy is doing south of the border.

The U.S. Department of Energy provides guidance and support for workplaces looking to install charging stations through their Workplace Charging Challenge. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of American employers offering workplace charging.

Having workplace charging is not only an invaluable employee benefit, it also demonstrates great corporate leadership.

The EV market needs more support overall in order to attract more drivers to purchase clean energy vehicles.

Perhaps an organization such as the Building Owners and Management Association (BOMA) will take the lead on this in Canada.

By helping employees extend the electric driving range of their vehicles and reducing commuting costs, businesses have the ability to further drive the popularity of EVs even further in Canada.

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