Cranbrook residents and road trippers will soon have a new place to charge their electric vehicles.
Chevron gas station is installing two charging units, to be located at the corner of 7 St. North and Kootenay St. North, beside pre-existing gas pumps.
The project is coming along quickly. Construction will wrap up on Oct. 6, two weeks after Kelowna-based company Bronag Contracting Ltd. began working on the site. It is part of a larger plan that will see charging stations built at all Chevrons located off Canadian highways. A station was built recently at the Revelstoke Chevron, and another is on the way in Castlegar.
“The Canadian government already announced that by 2035, most of the vehicles will be electric … I see that after 10 years, maybe we won’t have as many pumps here. Maybe we’ll have more electric chargers,” said site operator Norman Tahir.
In June 2021, the Liberals announced a new accelerated goal for electric vehicle regulations, requiring all new passenger vehicles and light trucks sold in Canada to be electric by 2035 (the previous target was 2040). The regulation will be phased in gradually starting in 2026, where 20 per cent of new vehicles sold will be required to be electric.
Chevron staff already know that it will take about half an hour for each car to charge, but Tahir said they will learn more in the coming weeks when they are trained on how to operate the machines. They will be briefed on how much each charge will cost and how many cars each unit can accommodate.
Drivers will be able to use Chevron’s Journie Rewards card to accumulate points that will earn them a discounted charge. The rewards card is already in use for gas and for the station’s store products. When a customer reaches 300 points they get a price reduction of seven cents per litre on their next fill up.
Tahir is the owner of an electric vehicle, a Tesla, and he said stations like these will make it easier for drivers to travel long distances. He currently lives in Calgary and flies to Cranbrook each week for a few days at a time, but said he would enjoy being able to take a scenic car trip on his way to and from work. Tahir said that in Calgary, a charge costs roughly $60 at a station and $3-4 at home, making it more cost effective in the long run than gas vehicles.
Electric vehicle charging stations are popping up all over Cranbrook. There are already units at Tim Hortons, College of the Rockies and in the parking lot across the street from Morchella Market. There is a Tesla supercharger at Tamarack Centre.
In Alberta, Peaks to Prairies has built a network of charging stations that extend to Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Pincher Creek, Waterton National Park and Crowsnest Pass to the south, and Canmore and Calgary to the north, making it fairly easy for people living in the southeast Kootenays to travel east in an electric vehicle, and vice-versa.