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State of Charge: Tim Hortons Installs Charging Stations
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2014_timhortons, June 25, 2014 – Michael Bettencourt

Gord Krantz, the smiling mayor of Milton, Ontario sat in the discontinued but still attention-grabbing Tesla Roadster to celebrate the official opening of the town’s sparkling new Tim Hortons, complete with two electric vehicle chargers to match its two drive-through lanes.

It’s one of four Tim Hortons locations in the province to offer EV owners a place to recharge with faster Level 2 machines, and twelve across the country. “We have been outfitting new restaurants with provisions, like conduit to designated parking spaces, for two years now,” said Olga Petrycki, senior manager for public affairs at Tim Hortons. “This will make the future install of stations quicker and easier for our restaurant owners.”

The final decision – and costs – however still come down to each independently owned franchise location, said the Thompson Road South Tim’s franchisee and Tesla Model S owner Daniel Sdao. This means it will be more likely for new stations in the works to offer them, rather than current locations that would have to rip up busy parking lots to run wiring underneath it, said Sdao, whose parents have been Tim’s franchisees for over 25 years.

The charging stations are meant to encourage folks to come and stay a while, said Sdao, as is the fireplace and big screen TV inside. “It’s expensive (to install), but it’s the future.”

The stations, at 48 amps continuous and installed by Saskatchewan-based Sun Country Highway, are the fastest L2s in the country available at a quick-serve restaurant, said Kent Rathwell, president of Sun Country, though there’s a St. Hubert’s in Quebec that offers an even faster L3 charger. These chargers actually came online along with this Tim’s opening in November, but Sun Country has since upgraded the location with retractable cords for free, said Sdao, which keep the cords tidier all year long, and out of ice and snow in the winter.



Line of plug-ins showed up to help celebrate, including one future one

Sun Country also brought along the V-Trux plug-in pickup it will distribute in Canada, complete with a prototype solar panel bed cover that can add 10-12 km of range in a day when parked out in the sun. Like the Chevrolet Volt, this truck runs on battery power alone, with a gasoline engine that acts as a generator whenever the large 22 kWh lithium-ion battery depletes. The company plans to start fleet sales of the full-size Silverado-based pickup in Canada in late 2014 or early 2015, with its first plug-in cargo van slated to be delivered this summer, said Rathwell.

This was likely the first time in Canada that a complete row of any Tim Hortons parking lot was full of plug-in vehicles, its owners passing by to help celebrate the opening as well as encourage the local mayor and Ontario government to open more such stations, as other provinces have done.

This also marks a good opportunity to run down some of the most popular plug-ins available now on the Canadian market – which is much more limited in choice than the U.S. – starting with the latest BMW i3, and in future installments we’ll cover significant changes to current EVs and what’s coming for 2015.

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