Hydro-Quebec and partners roll out “The Electric Circuit” network for plug-in electric vehicles
By Alyssa Dalton
June 20, 2011 – Hydro-Québec and its partners–Rona, les Rôtisseries St-Hubert, Metro and the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT)–have teamed up to create “The Electric Circuit,” which they say is Canada’s first public charging network for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).
Supplied with clean renewable energy, the first hundred 240-V charging stations are expected to be operational in early 2012 at the founding partners’ business sites and at several AMT park-and-ride facilities. Quick-charge (400-V) stations will be rolled out in 2012, once they have obtained Canadian certification. According to the partners, the circuit will allow PEV operators to drive worry-free, knowing that a public network of charging stations is available to meet their needs.
“We are proud to be able to count on partners of this caliber whose banners can be seen at over 900 locations in Québec. These are solid, well-established companies that, like Hydro-Québec, put a high priority on sustainable development, customer satisfaction and growth in electric vehicle use,” said Hydro-Québec CEO Thierry Vandal. “While the vast majority of recharging will be done at home and at work, the availability of a public charging network is essential to meet customers’ backup or emergency needs.”
Rolling out the Stations
The metropolitan areas of Montréal and Québec have been confirmed as the dual starting points of ”The Electric Circuit”, said Hydro- Québec, adding that the rollout will then be extended to other cities and sites in the province.
Station locations will be chosen by the partners on the basis of criteria such as ease of access, with the objectives being accessible recharging for the greatest number of users possible, along with a quick, simple method of payment, they said.
Charging will cost a flat fee of around $2, which will include the cost of the electricity and access to a prime parking spot. PEV drivers will also have access to a charging station locator service provided by Hydro-Québec and to a 24/7 telephone help line run by CAA Quebec, the partners added.
Daniel Cousineau, president of Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert ltée, said: “Sustainable development has been essential at les Rôtisseries St-Hubert for a number of years. We are very proud to be part of ‘The Electric Circuit’ and allow our customers to charge their electric vehicles while on the go.”
“At Metro, we are proud of our accomplishments in sustainability and recognize that much is still to be done. We are proud to be part of this catalytic project and to raise public awareness about a more ecological mode of transportation,” continued Marc Giroux, vice president of marketing at Metro.
Call for Tenders: Charging Stations
To procure a first set of at least 100 charging stations for the circuit, Hydro-Québec has said it will be issuing an initial call for tenders this summer. All interested charging station suppliers will be eligible to take part. Before installation may proceed, however, the stations will have to be certified and be tested in a climate-control chamber at Hydro-Québec’s research institute to make sure they can withstand the rigors of Québec weather, it added. Further calls for tenders will be issued progressively, as market needs grow.
This initiative ties in with the Québec government’s electric vehicle action plan unveiled last April 7.
CLICK HERE for more on Hydro-Québec’s transportation electrification projects.