Hydro Ottawa launches electric vehicle charging program

Pilot program installs EV chargers in 100 Ottawa homes

With automakers investing billions of dollars into electric vehicles, a revolution in how Canadians commute is on the horizon. Electric vehicles are growing in popularity among Canadians, with sales increasing by 68 per cent in 2017, according to a report by Ontario cleantech firm FleetCarma.

Locally, Hydro Ottawa is preparing for an influx of electric vehicles to the nation’s capital.

“The bottom line is that these vehicles just make sense,” says David McKendry, Hydro Ottawa’s Director of Customer Service.

The public utility recently announced a pilot program to help Hydro Ottawa better understand the impact of electric vehicles on the city’s power grid.

Hydro Ottawa has teamed up with FLO, Canada’s largest electric vehicle charging network, to offer a turnkey service for residents looking to install an EV charger at their home. Through this pilot program, Hydro Ottawa is able to offer 100 residents FLO Home X5 charger at a 40 per cent discount. The charger normally retails at $1,295, but Ottawa participants can snag one for just $777 under the pilot program.

The utility assists with any rebate applications pertaining to the chargers in addition to connecting participants with licensed installers and walking users through the approvals process with the Electrical Safety Authority.

Hydro Ottawa is no stranger to the process, having recently helped with the installation of charging stations at Ottawa City Hall, the Rideau Centre and the Brookstreet Hotel.

The X5 charging station connects to an app on the user’s phone, which allows residents to monitor their energy usage. But the chargers will also transmit data to Hydro Ottawa, offering a glimpse at how an increase in electric vehicles will change the utility’s scope of work.

Many signs are pointing to a massive influx of electric vehicles on Ottawa’s roads in the coming years as automakers place big bets on the technology.

McKendry notes that some have even committed to eventually phasing out gas-powered vehicles altogether. Volvo, for example, promises to only manufacture either electric or hybrid vehicles starting in 2019.

And for those unswayed by the environmental benefits of electric vehicles, McKendry also points to the relative cost of a “fill up.” For residents who charge their vehicles overnight during off-peak hours, it can cost as little as a dollar to return a car’s battery to full.

“This is revolutionary,” says McKendry. “This is the renaissance of the electricity sector.”

To learn more about the pilot program, head to HydroOttawa.com/EV.