I was the principal author for this just-released primary research report on public EV charging, sponsored by Natural Resource Canada and done in collaboration with Mogile technologies, editor of the ChargeHub database. You may find a summary below and how to get the full report is at the end of this post.
As of 28 January 2022, there were 19,502 charging ports in 7,967 locations in Canada. These include 15,718 level 2 (240 V) ports and 3,784 level 3 (DCFC) ports operated by 28 charging networks. There are also six hydrogen fuelling stations for fuel-cell electrical vehicles.
ChargePoint, Electric Circuit, Flo and Tesla are the largest charging network operators, accounting for almost 70% of the ports. However, most of the chargers are owned by the site hosts where they are located. In addition to charging network operators and site owners, major stakeholders in the public charging infrastructure include automakers, utilities, charger manufacturers, governments, and regulatory agencies. The public EV charging ecosystem is nascent, and a few competing or complementary business models have emerged to link the various stakeholders. These business models are still evolving, and stakeholders are adapting to the evolution in the market.
Most chargers are owned by businesses. However, there are significant differences amongst Canadian regions, with comparatively more chargers owned by different levels of governments and utilities in Québec. By contrast, the governments, the not-for-profit organizations, and the utilities own relatively few chargers in the Prairies, with ownership types in British Columbian and Ontario falling somewhere in between. About 48 charging sites are on or near Indigenous lands.
Depending on the business model used, either the charging network operator or the site owner earns revenues from charging. About half of level 2 ports are free or partially free to use. Another quarter is at $1 per hour or less. Excluding Tesla, most level 3 ports are in the $10 to $15 per hour range, often around $12 per hour.
About 60% of the charging sites are in large cities, and these sites tend to be larger and equipped with more level 2 ports (and relatively fewer level 3 ports) than rural sites. For rural sites, charger mix varies with the distance from a highway. Sites closer to a highway have relatively more level 3 chargers than any other category — they are on-the-go corridor chargers. Further out, they are destination chargers generally installed at commercial or public sites.
Food stores, restaurants, and bars, as well as health care, finance and insurance companies, are the most common amenities found within 100 m of charging sites. Automotive repair places and gasoline stations are more commonly found around level 3 sites than around level 2 sites.
With the many EV charging stakeholders having their own objectives and priorities, and often competing amongst them, interoperability is increasingly important. The ecosystem is working toward improved interoperability between the EVs and the chargers, between the chargers and the E-Mobility systems of a network operator, and between E-Mobility systems of various network operators. However, the full interoperability is clearly not achieved yet, with multiple incompatibilities present at various levels in the infrastructure.
Usage of the charging infrastructure was estimated using data provided by some Canadian operators. Overall, Mogile assembled a dataset with nearly 2 million charging sessions in four thousand locations with level 2 or level 3 chargers (over 20% of the ports in Canada). The dataset has usage data from 2019, 2020 and 2021. Unsurprisingly, utilization of public chargers has decreased with the COVID-19 pandemic. The average duration of charging sessions has remained relatively constant, while the number of ports available to the public continued to increase. Level 3 charging sessions in the datasets lasted on average 28 minutes, and level 2 charging sessions lasted on average 2 hours and 44 minutes. There has been a slight increase in energy and power delivered from 2019 to 2021.
The weekly pattern varies greatly depending on where a charging site is located. Sites in rural areas have more charging events during the weekend, starting Friday. In general, level 2 ports are the busiest toward noon and level 3 ports are busiest in late afternoon.
Accessibility, hardware and charging issues occasionally afflict drivers attempting to charge their EVs. Most level 3 chargers are communicating to enable remote diagnostics, but some level 2 chargers are not. Cable management systems are being installed to limit potential of damage to cables and connectors. Excluding external issues such as blocked access, the typical average unavailability of communicating level 3 chargers stated by some interviewed operators is around 1%. The stated average unavailability of communicating level 2 ports is higher, around 8% or 9%. Together, these issues contribute toward the overall satisfaction of EV drivers for public charging, and drivers are more satisfied with level 2 charging than with level 3 charging based on a natural language analysis of comments left by drivers in the ChargeHub mobile app.
The full report can be obtained at https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/transportation-alternative-fuels/resource-library/3489, under the title “Biennial Snapshot of Canada’s Electric Charging Network and Hydrogen Refuelling Stations for Light-duty Vehicles”. Alternatively, you can obtain it at https://chargehub.com/en/industry/nrcan-report.html, or contact me directly.