The City of Surrey will add 14 electric vehicle charging stations at civic centres by the end of March 2013 to encourage drivers to use alternative fuel sources.
Surrey was granted $56,000 from British Columbia's $2.74 million Community Charging Infrastructure Fund for the charging stations. Many of the stations will be added to the new city hall, set for completion next September, while the rest will be dispersed throughout the city.
"We're proposing eight at the new city hall building - that'll be a combination of charging stations for the public as well as for our own electric fleet vehicles," said Rob Costanzo, the city's deputy manager of operations.
While the locations aren't finalized, Costanzo listed the Ocean Park Library, Surrey Museum, Surrey Arts Centre, Surrey Sports & Leisure Centre and Guildford Recreation Centre as potential charging station hosts, as well as the possibility of adding a second charging station to the existing city hall.
The stations will be capable of fully charging electric vehicles in four to six hours, though Costanzo said they're not meant for EV drivers to park there for extended periods of time.
"It's more so if you need maybe a 15-or 20-or 30-minute charge just to get you to your next destination," he said.
Surrey is home to the first free charging station at a city hall, which is free to use and costs the city about $20 per month to operate.
At an electric vehicle information session at the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre earlier this month, Pat Shellard of Burnaby was on hand to show off his Nissan Leaf, a fully electric vehicle that he's owned for just over a year.
While Shellard is thrilled by his eco-friendly vehicle, he said other drivers haven't adopted the technology because they are set in their ways.
"The problem that I find with most people is that they buy their vehicle for the three times a year they go up the Coquihalla," he said, adding that electric vehicles are suitable for most driving conditions, including highway driving.
Costanzo acknowledged that if more drivers switch to electric vehicles and the charging stations are used heavily, the city will add fees based on consumption, though they haven't determined when the pay system would be implemented.
"Ultimately, it will be a pay-for-use system - whether it's pay-for-use at the onset, like the first six months to a year, we haven't decided yet," he said.