EV Charging Stations in Canada 2024

EV Charging Stations in Canada 2024

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Purchasing an electric vehicle is great for the environment, but finding EV charging stations is still proving problematic.

There simply aren’t enough public charging stations to satisfy electric car owners’ demands. However, there are plans in place to improve the situation in the future. But how do you find an EV charging station for your electric car in the interim?

An interactive map like the one above can help you find your closest compatible car charge station. But many businesses now also offer level 1 and 2 charging to employees.

The alternative is to charge your electric vehicle at your residence. But those who frequently travel further may be forced to install a level 2 charger at home.

Either way, it’s essential to know your options and how to find public charging stations when needed. This article will investigate your options and provide further advice on charging your electric vehicle.

See a map of EV charging stations in Canada here.

Home EV chargers

Electric vehicle home charging is the least expensive and hassle-free way to recharge your EV. In Canada, 80% of EV drivers charge their cars at home, so understanding the solutions available for home charging is essential.

Understanding the different charging solutions available for home charging, allows you to select the option most suited to your situation. Essentially, the solutions available for home-based charging are known as “Level 1” and “Level 2”.

Level 1 EV chargers

Level 1 charging is the most basic and involves using the charger included with the car. This charger is compatible with a standard 120V outlet. And it charges at a rate of roughly 5 km of range per hour.

This means it takes around 20 hours to charge 200 km-range EV completely. And it’s ideal for drivers who don’t drive long distances and a power outlet close to their car’s parking spot.

Level 2 EV chargers

Level 2 charging is a faster charging solution that requires a separate charger installed at your home. These chargers use a 240V outlet, allowing 5 to 7 times faster charging than Level 1.

The time it takes to fully charge an EV with a range of 200 km using a Level 2 charger is around 4 to 6 hours. All Level 2 chargers comprise a SAE J1772 connector which is readily available to Canadian and US drivers. However, installation must be done by a qualified electrician.

But before purchasing a home EV charging station, ensure that it’s power requirements are suited to the electrical infrastructure at your home. And you must confirm with your utility provider whether your current electricity plan can accommodate the additional electricity usage.

ev charging stations in canada - comparewise

Advantages of EV home charging

When it comes to charging your EV, you have several options available to you. However, charging your vehicle at home with a Level 2 charger has its perks.

One advantage is the speed at which you’ll be able to charge your car. In fact, Level 2 charging can result int a fully charged battery within just a few hours.

It enables you to maximize the use of your electric car and reduces the need to stop at public EV charging stations. Additionally, home charging is typically done overnight. So, you can start each day with a fully charged battery and enough range for all your daily travel needs.

Home charging offers an ideal way to save over the long term. Depending on your region, residential electricity is typically cheaper than charging at public stations.

For instance, home-based recharging is around 30% cheaper in Quebec than recharging through the public network. While in Ontario, it’s roughly 65% less expensive.

Despite its advantages, home charging also has some drawbacks. The upfront cost of a Level 2 charger can be expensive. And installation may require the services of a qualified electrician.

Additionally, charging at home may not be an option for renters. And those living in apartments may not have access to a power outlet close to their parking spot. Public electric car charging stations may be the most viable option in these instances.

That said, home charging using a Level 2 charger remains easier and cheaper overall.

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Public EV charging stations

When it comes to public electric car charging stations, there are three primary things you need to know:

  1. The different levels of charging
  2. The various types of connectors
  3. The charging station operator networks

Selecting the correct public EV charger level

When using public EV charging stations, three levels of charging are available for electric cars:

  • Level 1: These chargers are the slowest and offer a charging power of 1kW. It can take up to 20 hours to charge an electric car with a 30-kWh battery using a level 1 charger.
  • Level 2: They are faster than level 1 chargers, with a charging power ranging from 3 to 20kW, but typically around 6kW. It takes around 5 hours to charge an electric car with a 30-kWh battery using a level 2 charger.
  • Level 3 (DCFC): This type of charger, also known as DCFC or fast EV charging station, offers the fastest charging speed. It delivers a charging power of typically 50kW but sometimes drops to about 20kW. It takes around 30 minutes to charge an electric car up to 80% for a 200 km (124 miles) range. And it takes about 1 hour for a range of 400 km (249 miles).

When choosing your public charging level, it’s recommended that you steer clear of Level 1 chargers. This is because they are generally too slow for most EV drivers’ needs. If you need to charge the fastest way possible, using a level 3 charger is best.

That said, recharging via a Level 3 charger is only worthwhile if your battery’s state of charge (SOC) is less than 80%.

Once it reaches 80% at a Level 3 station the charging speed reduces drastically. Therefore, when 80% complete, it’s recommended that you switch to a Level 2 charger.

Charging the last 20% of your EV’s battery is just as fast and cost-effective with a level 2 station. But if you plan to stop for several hours, opt for a level 2 charger from the get-go. It’s slower but less expensive.

By choosing the right charging level, you can save time and money while enjoying the benefits of electric driving.

Know your public EV charger connectors

Another factor when using public EV charging stations is understanding the different connector types and those compatible with your electric car.

The SAE J1772 EV plug is the predominant connector for Level 1 and 2 charging. All electric vehicles in the United States and Canada, such as Tesla models with a suitable adapter, can utilize this plug for charging purposes.

For fast charging at level 3, the CHAdeMO and SAE Combo (CCS) connectors are the most used. However, these two connectors are not interchangeable. So, knowing which connector your vehicle requires before heading to a charging station is crucial.

It is also important to note that Tesla cars have their own proprietary connectors. These connectors are only compatible with Tesla Supercharger stations.

In addition to these connectors, wall plugs are available for level 1 and 2 charging. They include the Nema 5-15, Nema 5-20, Nema 14-50 (RV plug), and Nema 6-50. These Nema connectors are compatible with all electric cars but require a charger.

Understanding the different connector types ensures you can charge your electric car efficiently while on the road.

electric vehicle charging stations in canada - comparewise

Shortage of EV charging stations

As electric car owners know, Canada still has a long way to go regarding the availability of EV charging stations. However, the Canadian government has set the wheels in motion to resolve this issue and expand the current network.

The government announced that it has made funds available to implement electronic car chargers for the following:

  • Commercial EV fleets
  • Businesses
  • Public areas
  • Multi-unit residential properties
  • Key spots along the roads

This expansion effort has been dubbed the “Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program“. And its objective is to install 50,000 EV charge stations nationwide by 2027.

Finding electric car charging stations

Perhaps you’re wondering, “How do I find EV charging stations near me that are compatible with my electric car?”. We recommend you use the above Comparewise charging map, which allows you to filter for chargers that are compatible with your vehicle.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to recognize that charging stations can vary in quality. A significant aspect to take into account is the operator of the charging network. This can determine the accessibility and cost of using the charger.

Station network operators can be classified into two types: those managing “smart” networked charging stations and those overseeing “independent” public charging stations. We’ll delve into each below.

Networked smart EV charging stations

Networked smart EV charging stations require a subscription to the charging network. And in most cases, registration is free, while fees only apply when using their chargers.

To activate and use the charger, you’ll need an RFID card or the network’s mobile app.

Operator network

These are some of the networked smart charging station operators available in Canada:

Operator NetworkMembershipRegions
ChargePointRequiredUSA + Canada
Blink (CarCharging)RequiredUSA + Canada
SemaConnect/SemaChargeRequiredUSA + Canada
Electrify America / Electrify CanadaRequiredUSA + Canada
Shell RechargeRequiredUSA + Canada
FLORequiredCanada
GE WattStationRequiredUSA + Canada
Circuit ÉlectriqueRequiredQuebec + Ontario
myEVrouteRequiredOntario
Tesla (Superchargers & Destination)Not required. Only for Tesla vehiclesUSA + Canada
EVdutyRequired by some, but not all.Canada  
eChargeRequiredNew Brunswick
Sun Country HighwayNot RequiredUSA + Canada  
AstriaRequiredUSA + Canada
BC HydroNot RequiredBritish Columbia
Petro-CanadaNot RequiredCanada

Independent public charging stations

Independent public charging stations are set up by local enterprises or private individuals who wish to offer charging facilities on their premises. No membership is necessary to access these stations. However, particular stations might have specific terms and conditions.

It’s important to note that some EV charging networks, like Tesla’s Superchargers and Destination chargers, are only available for Tesla vehicles.

Additionally, some public charging stations may offer only specific connectors like CHAdeMO or SAE Combo CCS. So, it’s vital to know your vehicle’s capabilities and the connectors available at the charging station before arriving.

Consider charging your EV at work

Independent chargers at the workplace allow employees to save time and money while charging at work. Many Canadian employers now offer workplace charging to their employees. As such, Level 1 & 2 charge-equipped parking is available during work hours.

Combined with home charging, charging at work can double your daily electric range, making it particularly useful for plug-in hybrids. In fact, the benefits of workplace charging are numerous.

Level 2 charging at work allows for faster charging, which is especially useful for part-time employees. Additionally, the employer often covers the electricity costs for workplace charging.

This means employees can charge their vehicles for free. Even in cases where fees are charged, the price is typically far lower than charging at a public station.

Furthermore, the Canadian government’s “Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program” encourages employers to install employee charging stations. This initiative makes charging facilities accessible to employers that want to install them, thus benefitting the employee.

Speaking to your employer regarding potential EV charging options offered, is always a good idea. And if your employer doesn’t offer it, it’s worth bringing up the potential benefits and government incentives available to them.

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How to charge your electric vehicle

One crucial aspect of EV ownership is knowing how to charge your electric car. You may feel unsure about the process initially. But after your first EV charging experience, you’ll see that it’s far easier than you may have anticipated.

First, you’ll need a charging station and the appropriate connector for the car and station ports. The charging port and onboard charger work together to convert the external power into energy stored in the battery. This allows your car to gain power.

To charge your EV at a public charging station, follow these easy steps:

  1. Open the charging port cover.
  2. Grad the connector from the charging station slot.
  3. Insert the connector into your car’s charging port, ensuring it is securely connected. A flashing green signal indicates that the port is connected correctly and in working order.
  4. The charging screen will display the remaining time and charge percentage information.
  5. Once the charging process is complete, press the connector button.
  6. Then take the charger out of the slot on your car and place it back on the charger station slot.

You can maximize your electric driving range by understanding how to charge your electric car. And you’ll enjoy the benefits of driving a more sustainable vehicle.

EV charging stations conclusion

With the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, the availability of charging stations is becoming increasingly important. Understanding the different charging levels, connectors, and networks is essential whether you are charging at home, work, or in public.

For those unsure about buying an EV due to the limited number of charging stations, the network is expanding. There’s sure to be an abundance of charging stations in the near future.

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FAQs about EV charging stations

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

Charging times vary subject to several factors. It depends on the level of the charging station, the vehicle's battery size, and the charging speed. Level 1 charging stations use a standard household outlet and provide about 5 km of range per hour of charging. Whereas level 2 charging stations provide about 30 to 60 km of range per hour of charging. However, level 3 or DC fast charging stations can provide up to 400 km range in as little as 1 hour.

How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?

The cost to charge an electric vehicle can vary depending on several factors. These include the size of the battery, the charging speed, and electricity rates in your area. Generally, charging at home with a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station is cheaper than using a public one. Some public charging stations offer free charging, while others may charge a fee per kilowatt-hour or per minute of charging time.

Will charging an electric vehicle affect your car insurance?

Charging your electric vehicle will not directly affect your car insurance, as charging is considered a regular vehicle operation. However, it is essential to inform your insurance provider that you own an electric vehicle, as it may affect your premiums. Some insurance providers offer discounts for electric vehicles due to their lower maintenance costs and reduced emissions.

Can you use a Tesla charger on all electronic vehicles?

In general, Tesla chargers are designed for Tesla vehicles only. They use a proprietary charging connector different from the standard connectors used by other electric vehicle manufacturers. However, Tesla is rolling out updates to some charging stations in certain regions, allowing non-Tesla EVs to be charged. So, some Tesla charging stations may have adapters for other connectors, such as CHAdeMO or CCS. This can be used by compatible non-Tesla electric vehicles.

What type of battery is in an electronic vehicle?

Electric vehicles use rechargeable batteries typically made of lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology. Li-ion batteries have a high energy density, are lightweight, and have a long life cycle. This makes them ideal for use in EVs. Other types of batteries used in EVs in the past include nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lead-acid batteries. But Li-ion batteries have become the industry standard due to their superior performance.

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September 20, 2023
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