The British Columbia Electric Vehicle Smart Infrastructure Project

Project Lead:  Richard Fry, NRCan – Ottawa
Lead Proponent:  BC Hydro
Location:  Vancouver, BC
ecoEII Contribution:   $ 4,125,000
Project Total:  $ 8,802,895
Strategic Area:  Smart Grid


Light duty vehicles account for 15% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in British Columbia (BC). Electrifying these vehicles with the efficient use of BC’s electricity, 93% of which is produced from clean and renewable resources, will directly reduce the emissions of CO2, the most prevalent of the Greenhouse Gases (GHG’s), will improve urban air quality, will support technology innovation, and will create new business opportunities.

Electric vehicles (EV’s) have a limited driving range of about 100 to 140 kilometres before requiring re-charging, and this limited range, coupled with the current scarcity of charging stations leads to driver range anxiety, which is a major barrier to the uptake of EV’s. This Project will provide for the installation and operation of both urban and inter-urban charging stations to help alleviate this range anxiety.

As well, when EV’s soon begin to appear in large numbers there will be a need for grid and resource management of the charging station infrastructure, and the installation of new enabling technologies to provide the electric utility with the tools for that management control. This Project will provide for the installation and operation of an “EV-Cloud” data acquisition, data evaluation and control system for the charging station infrastructure.

Project Objective:

BC Hydro EV Charge Park at Powertech Labs – Multi-DC Fast Charger Station for Advanced Operations Testing

This Project supports a market transformation towards the efficient use of clean energy in the transportation sector in the Province of British Columbia by addressing barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), which include range anxiety, electricity grid management, a lack of enabling technologies, a need for business models for operating charging stations, a need for increased level of public awareness, and a need for new policies and standards. The project is expected to deliver 300 charging stations for public use in urban areas, 30 fast charging stations along major transportation corridors and a data network which will centrally collect charging data. 

Benefits to Canada:

A market transformation towards the use of electric vehicles presents Canada with environmental, economic and social benefits.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has identified the Lower Fraser Valley region in BC as an air shed with severe ground level ozone problems. Overall, 84% of criteria air pollutants in the region, some of which act as precursors to the formation of ground level ozone, come from mobile sources and EVs, representing zero tailpipe emissions, can help alleviate the problem.  As well, the use of EVs will replace some of the oil currently being imported into BC with locally generated electricity, leaving more oil resources for Canadian exports.

With respect to job creation, up to 250 jobs can be associated with the deployment of 10,000 EVs over a 5-year period.

Project Status:

The BC EV Smart Infrastructure project has been running for 3 years now since October 2012. 

  • Two more DC fast chargers were installed, completing 17 of 30 stations for the Critical EV Infrastructure component of the project.
  • The  EV Cloud is providing rich data to the sister project in the ecoEII R&D stream, “Powering Plug-in Electric Vehicles with Renewable Energy Supply in BC."
  • Design work has commenced for smart charging signature sites.

Project Partners:

Province of British Columbia