Electric Car Charging Stations Coming to Trans-Canada Highway

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The federal government is encouraging Canadians to adopt electric vehicles by investing millions of dollars in a network of brand new, fast-charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH).

The project aims to create a network of 34 fast car charging stations with a total of 102 individual charging units along the TCH thanks to a $17.3 million investment from the feds and an $8 million repayable contribution from from Natural Resources Canada under the Canadian Energy Innovation Program.

"Canada recognizes the key role electric vehicles will play in reducing emissions from the transportation sector," said Jim Carr, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. "With more electric vehicles becoming available, we want to make them an easy choice for Canadians. This strategic investment brings us closer to having a national coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle charging stations while growing our economy and creating good jobs for Canada's middle-class."

This public-private initiative will also be supported by an investment from eCAMION, Leclanche and SGEM, the companies that have partnered to make this project possible.

As for a bit of background on each company, eCAMION is a Toronto-based, privately-held provider or smart energy storage solutions, Leclanche is a Dallas-based global leader in energy storage solutions, and, SGEM is an independent power producer based in Geneva.

eCAMION and Leclanche have created a Toronto-based venture called FAST Charge Inc. to manage the TCH project and implement electric vehicle charging systems across all of North America.

The 34-station network would make intercity travel much easier and faster for Canadians with electric vehicles, according to the Canadian government.

That’s because most public vehicle charging stations currently operate at Level 2, which means that a vehicle needs to charge for six to eight hours to reach full battery, but the new stations will operate a level higher.

According to Leclanche, these stations would operate at Level 3, which means that a vehicle only needs to charge for 20 minutes to reach full battery.

"Our system will recharge the battery storage units during off-peak times at considerable cost-savings and reduction in stress to the grid," said Bryan Urban, EVP of Leclanche North America and president of FAST Charge. "Vehicles will be able to power up during peak hours using off-peak energy and continue on their journey in a relatively similar amount of time it would take to fuel a fossil-fuel vehicle, grab a snack and visit a bathroom."

Leclanche explained that the new energy storage system would use large-format lithium-ion batteries, allowing vehicles to charge more quickly, along with multiple outlet charging units that can be charge several vehicles at once, which would help overcome the slow charge issue.

"This is perhaps the largest infrastructure project for electrical vehicles to be deployed at one time anywhere in the world," said Elad Barak, VP business development of eCAMION.

The TCH project’s ultimate goal is emission-free driving. The project already boasts environmental benefits, such as reducing emissions by an estimated 0.7 million tons over the first five years of operation, according to Leclanche.

Carbon-intensive fuels currently generate about a quarter of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Leclanche says that each of the charging stations can be connected to a renewable energy source like solar of wing, which will gear the project towards the goal of 100-percent emission-free driving.

Manufacturing is scheduled for early 2018, and the project is scheduled for completion at some point between January and March, 2019.

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