Saskatoon city councillors are now considering investing in a pilot program that would bring EV charging stations into the city. Specifically, the councillors are considering the implementation of two city-owned charging stations, located at Lawson Civic Centre and Lakewood Civic Centre. The proposed EV charging station would also provide free power to users for the next two years.
The consideration of this program can be attributed to the administrations’ desire to encourage EV use in the city. Without the introduction of policies and infrastructure aimed at creating a more sustainable automotive sector, emissions related to transportation could increase by 47 per cent by 2050.
“This is a common approach in other municipalities,” said Amber Weckworth, manager of climate strategy and data for the city. “It allows cities to show environmental leadership and promote the use of these chargers, measure their use and set the expectation that a fee can be introduced later.”
To Weckworth’s point, this approach has been utilized in other major Canadian cities like Toronto and Calgary. However, many of those city-owned charging ports have since shifted to paid public use.
According to reports, there are 39 privately-owned level two charging stations in Saskatoon as of February, with a total of 95 charging ports (21 of which are free to use). The total cost of the pilot program, combining building the power stations and providing electricity, is expected to be between $117,000 and $122,000, depending on the cost of electricity. If the pilot program is approved at the next city council meeting, the EV charging stations could be opened to the public as soon as this summer.