The Municipal Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy was approved by Halifax Regional Council on Nov. 21, 2021. The strategy supports the transportation targets of HalifACT, the municipality’s climate action plan. The transportation sector represents approximately 20 per cent of community emissions in the Halifax Regional Municipality, with 90 per cent represented by light duty, personal vehicles.
The municipality is dedicated to supporting the decarbonization of transportation, in part through our investment in public charging infrastructure. Our main goals with this strategy are to ease range anxiety and encourage the transition to electric vehicles.
While the private sector is expected to be the primary source of public charging infrastructure across the province, Regional Council has committed to leading infrastructure development in the short-term as electric vehicle adoption increases. This approach aligns with jurisdictions like Toronto, Victoria and Montreal.
The Halifax Regional Municipality will begin installing public charging infrastructure in spring 2024 at key locations across the Halifax region spanning urban, suburban and rural areas. Sites were selected based on the following criteria:
- Near amenities
- Near highway corridors
- In multi-unit residentially dense areas
- Distance from other public charging infrastructure
More information on the location of public charging infrastructure will be available soon.
On January 16, 2024, on behalf of the municipality, Mayor Mike Savage publicly accepted $980,000 in funding from the Natural Resources Canada Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) to help install the first 56 EV chargers across the Halifax region. This fundings supports the Municipal Electric Vehicle Strategy and the decarbonizing transportation targets set out in HalifACT, the municipality’s long-term climate action plan.
Because there is so much to learn about electric vehicles, the municipality collaborated with Next Ride to create a Q&A document that addresses many of the common questions people have about EVs.
Launched in 2019, Next Ride is an EV awareness campaign run through Clean Foundation. Visit their website for information about their EV test drive events and to find out more about the EV Assist program, a combined initiative of Natural Resources Canada, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables and Clean Foundation.
What do people think about electric vehicles?
- Why is the municipality installing public Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations?
The transportation sector represents around 20 per cent of community emissions in the Halifax Regional Municipality. As part of our effort to meet the objectives of HalifACT, our climate action plan, the municipality is investing in public EV charging stations to encourage the transition to EVs by filling gaps in the existing charging network and easing range anxiety. While the vast majority of EV charging takes place at home, the installation of a network of fast chargers along main commuter corridors throughout the municipality will support extended commutes and travel. Additional details can be found in the Municipal Electric Vehicle Strategy.
- What else is the municipality doing to support individuals without access to at-home charging?
The installation of level 2 chargers in densely populated areas will serve those without access to at-home charging. This will be a more cost-effective option to all EV drivers than relying solely on fast chargers. To support people living in apartments and condos, we are working on mandating “EV Ready” parking in all new builds and working closely with Efficiency Nova Scotia as they roll out their EV Ready Program.
- What are the approved EV charging user fees?
On Tuesday, June 6th, 2023 Regional Council passed the second reading of Proposed By-Law U-113, an Amendment to By-Law U-100, Respecting User Charges – Electric Vehicle Charging Fees. This by-law sets the cost to use public EV charging stations owned and operated by the Halifax Regional Municipality. The approved user fees are:
- Level 2 (3.3 to 19.2kw): $0.03 per minute, or $1.80 per hour
- Fast Charger (100+kw): $0.75/per minute, or $45 per hour
- If I don’t use the full charging time, am I charged the full cost of a session?
No, you are only charged for the time that you use, rather by one hour session. Fees will be prorated by the minute.
- How long will I need to charge?
How long it takes an EV to charge will vary depending on the vehicle, battery size and current level of charge. An increasing number of economical EVs on the market have fast charging capabilities and can expect an 80 per cent charge in 20-30 minutes for less than $30 at the municipality’s 175kw fast chargers.
- Why did the municipality choose this cost, while other private charging stations are charging less?
Our user fees were developed to offset the ongoing operating costs of the charging infrastructure (which includes maintenance, electricity costs, service fees, transaction fees and snow clearing). While other private charging stations in the region may be charging less, they are also lower capacity. Comparing rates to other provinces is also difficult, as utility rates differ and national networks can absorb the added cost in jurisdictions where charging is generally more expensive. If a driver’s rate of charge drops, these fees encourage them to move to a lower capacity charger, freeing the fast charger up to a new driver.
- Will the fees ever change?
Any changes to the user fee structure will be at the discretion of Regional Council. Staff will monitor the usage rates and operating costs of EV chargers as they are deployed. Based on the realized operating costs, staff may return to Regional Council with any user fee change recommendations.
- Why is the municipality billing per session instead of per kilowatt-hour (kWh)?
Billing by the kilowatt-hour for electric vehicle charging was approved for use by Measurement Canada in February 2023 on a temporary basis. The municipality is conducting a review to determine if we are eligible to use per kWh or tiered billing and monitoring the national rollout of this billing method. If per kWh billing is found to be appropriate in the future, staff will return to Regional Council with recommended amendments to the fees.