Halifax regional council’s environment committee has endorsed staff-recommended fees for the municipality’s new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, coming this summer.

HRM recently issued a request for proposals looking for a contractor on a standing offer to install 18 EV chargers in the municipality. That RFP, issued following council’s adoption of an EV strategy, closes on April 14.

“Each of the 18 sites will have a fast charger and one or two Level 2s … depending on the parking space,” Kevin Boutilier, manager of community energy, told the Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee on Thursday.

Those fast chargers output 175kW, and should provide an 80% charge in 20 minutes, according to the staff report to the committee. The Level 2 chargers’ output is lower, at a maximum of 19.2 kW, and those are designed to charge a vehicle over a longer period of time.

Under bylaw amendments before the committee on Thursday, the charging fee for fast chargers would be $45 per hour, or 75 cents per minute. The Level 2 chargers would cost $1.80 per hour, or 3 cents per minute.

Those fees are designed to cover HRM’s operating costs, assuming an average utilization rate of at least 2% — meaning a half hour per day. The capital cost of installation is covered by the climate action tax on last year’s tax bills.

The municipality plans to have eight of the 18 charging stations installed by August, Boutilier said, with the remainder complete by June 2024.

Boutilier’s colleague, environmental professional Martha Horsman, listed off seven* of the eight confirmed sites for the committee:

  • J. D. Shatford Memorial Public Library
  • Cole Harbour Place
  • 40 Alderney Dr.
  • Canada Games Centre
  • Bedford Park and Ride
  • Armdale Rotary
  • Musquodoboit Harbour Library

Parking compliance, equity concerns

Deputy Mayor Sam Austin worried about compliance, with people using the chargers as long-term parking spots.

Horsman said there’s no time limit on the chargers, but as long as the vehicle is plugged in, they’re getting charged the fee.

Coun. Patty Cuttell pointed out that $1.80 an hour is cheaper than on-street metered parking in some areas.

“I do get concerned that people will be using it as a parking spot because it’s cheaper and it’s giving preference to people with electric vehicles,” Cuttell said.

“And there is a bit of an equity issue because we know that most people buying electric vehicles are probably higher up on the income scale than others … I do worry about having the prime parking spots for electric vehicles, and people in their nice, beautiful Teslas pulling up and paying less money to park there.”

Boutilier clarified that in areas where parking isn’t free, drivers will pay both parking fees and charging fees.

“So down at 40 Alderney, they’re going to pay the $2 or $3 to park for however long they want to park, just like everyone else, and then they’re going to pay the $1.80 for the charging session, as to make it so it is not an incentive for the individual,” Boutilier said.

Boutilier said the chargers are best installed on the outer reaches of the parking lot, not close to the door, as close as possible to a high voltage power pole.

“There will be no preference given to EV drivers in relation to optimal parking,” he said.

Boutilier said in areas like the Bedford Park and Ride, HRM wants to encourage people who may not have charging infrastructure at home to stay for a long time.

The new fees go to council for final approval.

Update: A previous version of this story indicated staff had listed all eight sites.

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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  1. So according to a story by CBC fast charging rates should be about $0.28 per minute. My latest Tesla charges (last Nov.) were $0.32 per kWh. It appears the city is gouging at $0.70 per minute.

  2. The picture with this article shows Tesla chargers. As a recent owner of an EV, I learned that only Tesla cars can be charged at those stations. The vast majority of cars using chargers are not Tesla. Is it clear which kind of chargers will be installed?

    1. Based on my read of the RFP, they’ll be the non-Tesla type (it specifies SAE J1772 on the Level 2 chargers, 150-920V CCS1 and 150-500V CHAdeMO on the fast chargers).

      I used the Tesla charger photo because we had it. I apologize for the inaccuracy and will get photos of different chargers for future stories.

    1. Nice catch! They actually only listed seven of the eight. It is, for now, a mystery site.