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Council green-lights workplace electric vehicle charging for city staff

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Coun. Cipolla questions type of stations chosen ‘because nobody’s going to wait two hours to charge their car while they’re at city hall’

In an effort to reduce transportation-based greenhouse gas emissions, Orillia’s electric vehicle charging stations will be available for use by city staff.

Council voted in favour of the move at its Monday meeting, which will allow city staff to charge their personal electric vehicles at $2 per hour — the rate set out in Chapter 454 of the city’s municipal code.

City staff recommended expanding the use of the charging stations as it looks to encourage city staff to utilize electric vehicles and create the infrastructure for “the city to transition our corporate fleet to more sustainable options,” said Roger Young, the city’s general manager of environment and infrastructure services.

“The city currently has two EV charging stations at the City Centre and one at the Maintenance Operation Centre, and will be expanding with three additional charging station sites in 2024 – one at the public library, the waterfront centre, and the West Orillia Sports Complex,” he said.

“The intent of the policy is to ensure the appropriate pace of investment, use of charging facilities, as well that the charging services the city provides are fully cost recovered.”

According to the city’s Climate Change Action Plan, the city’s corporate fleet currently makes up 25 per cent of total corporate emissions, and the policy will also help the city meet its goal of reducing its corporate emissions to net-zero below 2018 levels by 2040.

At Monday’s meeting, Coun. Ralph Cipolla questioned how long the charging stations will take to charge a vehicle, with Young responding that times will vary between vehicles and types of chargers, but generally take “a few hours.”

“Is there any way we can improve that? Because nobody’s going to wait two hours to charge their car while they’re at city hall or whatever,” Cipolla said. “Why can’t we go to the better one and maybe charge an extra 50 cents or an extra dollar and have it charged in 20 minutes?”

“It’s certainly an option that we can take away and review — we’re currently in the process of applying for grants and developing the specifications for those three stations that we mentioned,” responded Young. 

Coun. Tim Lauer likened electric vehicle infrastructure to a “wild west frontier,” and questioned whether the city could potentially generate revenue “by just putting in as many chargers as we possibly can.”

“There are some constraints to the city operating businesses for profit, and that’s something we would certainly have to explore,” responded Young. “This particular industry and this policy is set up to be cost neutral, so we’re trying to encourage the community and staff to move to a platform that reduces the greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

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