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Stone Road Mall Unveils Electric Car Charging Stn.
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City gets its first electric vehicle charging station – Guelph, ON

GUELPH — There are two parking spaces at Stone Road Mall reserved specifically for electric vehicles.

Although they don’t have any distinguishing markings on them yet, come springtime, they will likely be painted green.

At the south end of the parking lot, up against Stone Road, sits a small charging station. On Wednesday afternoon, officials from Guelph Hydro, Stone Road Mall and Sun Country Highway officially unveiled the station and invited local electric vehicle owners to plug in and charge up — free of charge.

“Electric vehicles, in our minds, are the way of the future,” said Erik Veneman, Guelph Hydro’s director of operations. “We’re hoping to stay ahead of the curb.”

The station, supplied by Sun Country Highway, is the first to be installed in Guelph. Two more are expected to be built in 2013.

Veneman said one of those stations will likely be placed downtown and another will be placed in the north end of the city. However, he said Guelph Hydro is open to suggestions from the public as to where the stations should go.

At the unveiling, Rob Kerr, the city’s corporate manager of community energy said the City of Guelph supports the electric car industry and is looking forward to seeing a future with more of these types of vehicles. “We expect it to take off,” he said.

The station is able to charge cars with 240-volts, instead of the standard 120-volts commonly found with the average household outlets. The station also has two 120-volt connections, in case the 240-volt plug is occupied by another car.

The cost of the station was $1,500, paid for by Guelph Hydro.

The general manager of the mall, Tony Stapley, said the charging station is a perfect fit for the parking lot, providing customers with the charging service while they shop.

It’s also a really good fit to fulfil our environmental goals, he said adding the electric vehicle movement is only going to gain momentum over time.

Rolling up in his own 2012 Chevrolet Volt, Guelph’s Andrew Sullivan said he’s happy to see the city and Guelph Hydro supporting the charging station. He said he’s had his electric vehicle for 15 months and loves using it as a commuter car.

Initially, there is a premium to owning an electric vehicle, he said. But when you do the math, “it just makes economic sense.”

Also, he said if one needs to recharge somewhere, it’s a lot easier to ask someone to borrow an outlet than it is to ask them to siphon a bit of fuel out of their car’s tank.

Every day, he travels to Burlington for work — a 57 kilometre trek, each way. When he arrives at work, he plugs his car into a standard 120-volt outlet. And then when he gets home, he does the same thing. “It’s no different than plugging in your phone,” he said.

Guelph Hydro will be monitoring the use of this station to gauge how much need there is in the city for this type of service.