Montreal pushes plan for electric charging stations, car-sharing
Montreal is pushing ahead with its plan to install 1,000 charging stations for electic cars in Montreal, but the plan is making a lot of people upset.
Under the latest revision of the electric plan, Montreal will create 54 charging locations in the Ville Marie borough this summer, and have 104 in place by year's end.
That's a step back from what was forecast last October, when Mayor Denis Coderre called for 106 new electic charging stations in downtown Montreal by this June.
However the city's overall plan to install 1,000 charging stations around the city, both in parking lots and on curbsides, by 2020 is still in place.
Montreal is also tying its support for electric chargers to the car-sharing companies that already operate in Montreal, Car2Go and Communauto's Automobile service.
Montreal has said those companies will be allowed to park downtown as long as they electrify their fleet, but spokespeople for both companies said the city isn't doing enough, and that they were barely consulted on this plan.
The city wants to withdraw the parking permits currently issued to the car-sharing fleets, and then allow the companies to operate 800 cars this year, increasing to 1,000 by December 2018.
Marco Viviani of Communauto said his company already has more than 1,000 vehicles in service, while its Automobile by-the-minute service operates several hundred hybrid and electric vehicles, and recently purchased more all-electric cars.
He said under the plan produced by Montreal, drivers will end up coming downtown only to find they cannot park because of a lack of charging stations.
"How do we explain to a member [with] an electric car to come downtown, maybe because they live downtown, that they can't use it. You will arrive and then you will drive around searching for a place and then by going outside of the borough," said Viviani.
Jeremi Lavoie of Car2Go was blunt: the plan wasn't feasible.
"At this point there are so many flaws in the plan that it's not workable. We'll have to sit down and talk with them once more," said Lavoie.
Both men said a better plan would have been to allow car-sharing services to park in designated lots or spots and then to encourage them to electrify their fleets, something they are already willing to do.
Last year Montreal said it wanted to have a car-sharing company operating in the city that would have 1,000 electric cars on the road, each with a range of 150 km per charge and capable of carrying four passengers.
The new plan would reserve 20 percent of parking permits for four-passenger vehicles.
That would exclude Car2Go which runs two-seater Smart cars, even though it already operates all-electric fleets in Amsterdam, Madrid and Stuttgart, Germany.
Car2Go has been operating an electric fleet in San Diego for the past five years, but this year switched to some gasoline-powered cars because San Diego never fulfilled its promise to build 1,000 charging stations, and roughly 20 percent of cars were out of use because they were being charged.
As of Jan. 1, 2016 there were 8,188 electric vehicles in Quebec, about half of which are operated in Montreal.
The Quebec government wants to have 100,000 electric vehicles on the road in the province by 2020.