Kathy Denton (above) charges up her Nissan Leaf at the new electric vehicle recharging station outside the downtown Visitor Information Centre (right).

All charged up and ready to go in Campbell River

Six of the city’s 11 recharging stations are now open

“The only time I put gas in this car is when I’m getting fuel for the lawnmower,” says Dave Denton.

Denton and is wife Kathy drive a Nissan Leaf, a fully electric four-door car, and on Monday the two celebrated Earth Day by checking out the new charging stations in Campbell River.

“It’s nice to see the infrastructure going in before everyone’s driving electric vehicles,” says Denton.

Six of the city’s 11 recharging stations are now open at the Visitor Information Centre beside Tyee Plaza, city hall, the Dogwood public works centre, North Island College, and Discovery Harbour Shopping Centre Gas Bar and the new Target.

The electric vehicle charging stations are part of a B.C.-wide network of 570 stations installed as part of the Provincial Community Charging Infrastructure Fund.

The fund was established in 2012 to support the growing demand for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and complement similar initiatives underway in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Campbell River received $24,000 from the fund toward its six stations and matching funding from the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Rebate Program from the province. This enabled the city to complete the project entirely through external grants.

“Electric vehicles greatly reduce vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions, which is one of the goals of the city’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan,” says Coun. Ryan Mennie.

Project partners also received funding to assist with their charging station installations.

“We installed a charging station to provide further amenities for our customers and to be good corporate citizens by stepping up early to encourage growth in the electric vehicle community,” says Dave Mills, of Northwest Properties, property manager for Discovery Shopping Centre.

The Dentons bought their Leaf two years ago and are pretty happy with their purchase. They enjoy the smooth ride, it’s surprisingly quick off the line and it costs very little to recharge.

“Last year I did about 7,000 kilometres and spent $112 on charging,” says Denton.

For now, recharging electric vehicles in Campbell River is free to drivers. The actual hydro cost ranges between 50 cents and $1 for 30-60 minutes of charging time.

At some point, the city will be charging and electric vehicle owners can use credit cards or a Chargepoint card to pay for their purchase.

As for the cost of new electric vehicles, the sticker price on the Nissan Leaf is $43,000, but after the Dentons traded-in their old vehicle and received a $5,000 provincial subsidy, they paid $28,000 for the car.

Denton said the price tag has since dropped more than $10,000, but he was disappointed to learn that the BC Conservatives, if elected, would do away with the subsidy as well as financial support for new charging stations.

“That’s a shame…we’re going to need more of these,” he says.

Driving around the city, the Dentons can go for days without re-charging or can travel about 170 kilometres without stopping to recharge.

“Going to Qualicum takes a little planning…it will be nice when we see recharging stations along the highways,” says Denton.