Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations

In Saanich, passenger cars, trucks and SUVs account for over 50% of our community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or over 280,000 tonnes of GHGs per year. Low carbon transportation options such as electric vehicles (EVs) and active transportation have been steadily increasing and are important climate solutions that we are and will continue to support through our climate action plan. By 2030, to stay within our community GHG emission limits, 22% of trips will be by active transportation, 100% of buses will be electric, 36% of personal vehicles will be electric, and the remaining transport fuel will be at least 10% renewable biofuels. Rebates are available to help offset the costs of buying EVs, e-bikes, and EV charging stations. Check here for rebate information and here for short, hepful videos about EVs!

Electric Vehicle Charging Locations

Plugshare.com provides information on the location of stations, any fees that may apply and real-time information on whether the stations are in use. The Capital Region now has three DC Fast Chargers and dozens of Level 2 Chargers, including two EV stations at each of the following Saanich facilities:

  • Saanich Municipal Hall, 770 Vernon Ave (Look for the Visitor Parking signs to find the public charger. Avoid the fleet only charging stations beside the Annex building.)
  • Saanich Commonwealth Place, 4636 Elk Lake Drive
  • Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, 3220 Cedar Hill Rd
  • Cedar Hill Golf Course, 1400 Derby Road
  • Pearkes Recreation Centre, 3100 Tillicum Rd
  • Gordon Head Recreation Centre, 4100 Lambrick Way

Stay tuned for 20 new EV Charging Stations coming to Saanich facilities and parks in 2021!

Use the Flo – EV Charging Network App on your smart phone to gain access. Or, sign up online and order a Flo Card through your account (a $15 charge applies). By using the Flo app you will also gain access to EV Chargers on other major networks such as Chargepoint. You will find detailed instructions here: FLO Accounts User Guide [PDF - 2 MB] or call Flo at 1-877-505-2674 for assistance.

Saanich's EV Chargers are subject to a 3-hour time limit between 8am and 5pm, or during the operating hours of the facility at which it is located. Effective January 4, 2021, a $1/hour user fee will be in place for Saanich-owned charging stations. This nominal fee is being introduced in order to:

  • encourage turnover at the stations so more users may access them;
  • recuperate the costs of electricity and maintenance of the stations; and
  • align with other municipalities in the region who have introduced a fee for charging.

Electric Vehicle Policy and Plans

The BC Zero Emission Vehicle Act sets targets for the share of zero emission vehicles in sales of new light-duty cars and trucks in BC, reaching 100% by 2040. This policy, alongside our ambitious climate targets means that Saanich and other local governments must ensure that our buildings and transportation systems are future-proofed with access to adequate EV charging to support this transition.

On November 16, 2020, Saanich Council adopted the Electric Mobility Strategy [PDF - 5 MB] to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and e-bikes in our community. To learn more, please visit the Saanich Electric Mobility Strategy page.

Get “plugged in” to updates, news and opportunities for input on electric vehicle initiatives in Saanich by signing up to our EV Newsletter.

Requirements for new developments
The most cost-effective time to install EV charging infrastructure is at time of construction, and the recent emergence of EV energy management systems (EVEMS) has significantly reduced the cost of installation in new development by reducing the amount of electrical capacity and infrastructure required.

In September 2019, Saanich Council approved new requirements for EV charging in most of the building uses that have parking space requirements under the District’s Zoning Bylaw [PDF - 22 MB].

The requirements reflect research into best practices and approaches in other municipalities as well as two rounds of community and stakeholder engagement. The EV Infrastructure Requirement Engagement Summary [PDF - 844 KB] provides details on the engagement activities and the input and feedback provided by community members and stakeholders.

These new requirements have been implemented via an amendment to Saanich's Zoning Bylaw and a new Electric Vehicle Off-Street Parking Bylaw. Please see Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Requirements for more information. 

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

Interest in EVs has been increasing over the past severaCl years, with approximately 2% of passenger vehicles in Saanich now being electric, and EVs accounted for 12.5% of passenger vehicle sales in 2019. There are many benefits to EVs, including that they are:

  • Environmentally friendly: EVs run on BC’s clean electricity and emit no GHG emissions. Even when considering their entire lifecycle (such as battery manufacturing), they have a much lower environmental impact than conventional cars. They have no tailpipe, so improve our local air quality as well!
  • Cheaper to operate: EVs can cost as little as $320 per year to fuel (compared to the average BC driver spending $2,400 on gas!), and have much lower maintenance costs because they have so few moving parts.
  • Convenient to charge: Most drivers install an EV charger at home, and rarely have to worry about fuelling up on the go. But with BC’s growing network of charging stations, finding a charge en route to your destination or around town is easier and more convenient than ever.

There are increasing models of EVs available, with a wide range of price points. Check out PlugIn BC’s list of EVs available in BC.

Electric Vehicle Resources

Check out the following resources if you are considering buying an EV:

  • BC Hydro has useful information and tools, including an EV vs. gas fuel savings calculator, an EV buying guide, rebate information, step-by-step instructions for installing charging in all types of buildings, how to use their Fast Charger network and more.
  • PlugIn BC provides a hub of information and incentive programs for consumers and fleets to go electric.
  • Emotive is a communications platform to share information, stories, FAQs, videos and events that help people discover the benefits of EVs.
  • EV Strata Condo is a resource centre specifically for Strata Councils and homeowners that are navigating the unique challenges of installing EV charging in existing condo buildings. It is hosted by Metro Vancouver.
  • Clean BC’s Go Electric outlines the Province’s rebate information as well as highlights the benefits of electric vehicles.