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Electric vehicle charging station opens in Canmore

The Peaks to Prairie project aims to establish infrastructure to support EV adoption, encourage regional travel and tackle greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector.

CANMORE – A new electric vehicle charging station in Canmore is officially open beside the Miners Union Hall. 

The installation of the charging station was a collaboration between ATCO and the Peaks to Prairies Project. An electric vehicle (EV) charging station for the community was also identified as a goal in Canmore’s Climate Action Plan.

“When the Peaks to Prairies project started up, it was actually even before our climate action plan was approved,” said Town of Canmore sustainability coordinator Lori Rissling Wynn. “We were super happy to be participating in it.” 

Peaks to Prairies is a community-driven initiative in partnership with Alberta Southwest Regional Initiative, the City of Calgary, The City of Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Medicine Hat College. The project aims to establish infrastructure to support EV adoption, encourage regional travel and tackle greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector.

“It makes sense for it to be a part of a network for Southern Alberta where we’re really trying to build the adoption of EV vehicles that people can leave Calgary, charge in the Bow Valley and if they wanted to carry down the Cowboy Trail towards Taber, Lethbridge or any other points in between in Southern Alberta, they can do that in an electric vehicle,” Wynn added.

While electric vehicles and the infrastructure they need are more common to urban centres, efforts to adopt it in rural areas have been met by “range anxiety.” According to a media advisory from the Town of Canmore, range anxiety is the concern people have about driving an electric vehicle and running out of power before arriving at their destination.

It is also one of the biggest concerns when considering electrification of transportation, said ATCO director of innovation Francois Blouin.

“It’s one of the main concerns – people are worried about, ‘will I be able to travel across the province or maybe even going to my cottage or my family or friends?’”

With the Peaks to Prairies Network installing EV charging stations across Southern Alberta, the technology will be more accessible to rural areas and would also diminish range anxiety for drivers.

“What the partners were interested in doing was filling that gap that would have previously prevented electric vehicle drivers from exploring Southern Alberta,” said Peaks to Prairies project manager Megan Lohmann. “They saw that the market in British Columbia was transitioning towards supporting electric vehicles and there is quite a bit of charging infrastructure in that province … Southern Albertan partners saw this as an opportunity to fill that gap and really benefit from that transition towards electric vehicles.”

The parking lot in Canmore has two spots for electric vehicles – A Level 2 charger, which charges 21-40 km/h of charging, and a Level 3 DC fast charger, which charges 80 per cent (in only half an hour) of the vehicles battery.

Furthermore, the electricity powering the charging stations come from renewable energy sources. ATCO, which was in charge of the station’s installations, will be purchasing renewable energy certificates to cover the electricity consumed by the stations.

Other than the environmental benefit, implementing EV charging stations also provides an opportunity for economic development. 

“Electric vehicle drivers tend to design their trips based on where they can access charging stations,” Lohmann said. “By hosting a station, a community puts themselves literally on the map in terms of where a person will stop and charge.”

In addition to the charging station in Canmore, there are now a total of four stations available for locals and travellers passing through town, including at artsPlace, Canmore Rocky Mountain Inn and Petro Canada.