Letter to the Editor: District’s EV math doesn’t add up for this reader

I am a resident of Peachland and an EV owner who makes regular use of the EV charger while taking part in 50+ Centre activities and visiting local shops. While I appreciate the current free service, I accept that some level of charge is appropriate. The question would be what that level should be. I believe the staff report and recommendation are wrong, lacking important detail, and inaccurate.

First, it is incorrect to say most level two chargers in the Okanagan are private to the use of customers. A brief look at Charge Point or Flo maps will show the opposite is true in Summerland, Penticton, west Kelowna and Kelowna. Summerland alone has over 24 publicly available chargers.

Second, most public level 2 chargers provide a minimum of 6.5 kw and those that do charge have a maximum of $2/hour charged in one minute increments. The Peachland chargers provide a shared 7kw which means that if both are in use that each vehicle is only receiving a maximum of 3.5kw – half most level 2 chargers in the area. To put that in perspective, my Nissan Leaf has a 40kw/hour battery and will do about 5km per kw/hour.  A one hour charge gets me about 18km.

Third, the numbers stated for Penticton are both out of date and misleading. The $2/hour quoted only applies to the Downtown parking area where there is  $2/hour parking fee. The rest of Penticton has no charge. In any case, I understand Penticton is likely to rescind the first hours charge in the near future.

Fourth, it is also misleading to say most EVs can only charge at a maximum of 6.6kw. This may be true for older hybrids, but EVs less than five years old can charge at 60 to 350kw.

Fifth, I notice that staff does not forecast what revenue would be generated by the new charges. Using the 2021 numbers in the Staff report (rounded) there were 9000kw/hours used which equates to 2500 hours occupancy and therefore 900+ sessions of 2.75 hours each. If charges are by the hour at the proposed rates, this would provide revenues of $7,200+, compared to costs of $2,000. But of course, most people won’t pay that rate, except in an emergency, and will go to Summerland or West Kelowna to shop because they are a third of the cost.

I believe council can achieve its objectives with a charging algorithm of the first hour free,  hours 2 to 3 at $2/hour and hours 4 on at $4/hour, all charged by the minute. This would more than recover costs (roughly $2,700 revenue against $2,200 costs) while encouraging shopping and dissuading ‘hogging’ of the chargers.

Graham Smith, Peachland

Written by Kristen Friesen

April 22, 2022

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