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What is Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program?

The shift to Electric Vehicles is arguably the greatest technological transition of this century. Electric charging stations, though, however related to EVs, are almost an independent tech that requires its own, parallel path of development and adoption.

In Canada, an important step towards achieving this is the ‘Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program’. Also known as the ZEVIP, it is a program by the Government of Canada to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles by addressing the lack of charging and refuelling (hydrogen) stations. Let’s dive into some more details.

How Does ZEVIP Work?

The Government has set a mandatory target for all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks to be zero-emission by 2035, accelerating Canada’s previous goal of 100% sales by 2040. It has provided funding for the same through the Budget 2019 and the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.

ZEVIP is a 5-year program with significant funding of $280 million, ending in 2024. The funds will be delivered through cost-sharing contribution agreements for eligible projects. Although RFPs (Request For Proposals) are currently stopped, plans to launch further RFPs are currently in place.

Who Is Eligible for ZEVIP Funding?

1- Public Places

Private or publicly-owned parking areas are the first thing that comes to mind when you think of boosting the EV infrastructure, and is hence fully covered under the program.

Examples include service stations, retail, restaurants, arenas, libraries, park and ride, etc.

2- On-Street

Similar to public places discussed above, the program also supports on-street parking. It is considered charging infrastructure for public use and is supposed to be managed by local governments.

3- Workplaces

Any location where employees perform the duties related to a job is considered eligible for funding through the ZEVIP program. The charging infrastructure must primarily be used by the employees (private residences, even when registered as a business, are not eligible).

Having a charging/refueling facility at your workplace is an attractive feature for employees. Especially for large organizations with hundreds of employees, there is always going to be a significant number of people willing to use a zero emission vehicle.

4- Multi-Unit Residential Buildings

MURBs are another excellent type of location supported under the program. Any building with 3 or more dwelling units is eligible to receive ZEVIP funding.

A major concern for people living in apartment homes is the viability of charging an EV. Having charging stations in the building’s parking area may reignite their interest in buying a zero emission vehicle.

5- Commercial and Public Fleets 

Think of Amazon’s large electric truck fleet order to Rivian, or that of small delivery vehicles for a typical pizza outlet. Using EVs for a commercial fleet makes a lot of sense owing to a lot of factors.

The program covers a large variety of vehicles under this category including heavy-duty vehicles, taxies, forklifts, ice resurfacers, etc.

How Much Amount Can You Receive Under ZEVIP Funding?

NRCan (Natural Resources Canada) contributes a valuable 50% of total project costs. This includes a maximum of 5 million dollars per project and a maximum of 2 million dollars per project for delivery organizations.

 

Here’s a table provided by NRCan outlining the funding amounts based on charging infrastructure types and sizes.

 

Type of Infrastructure

Output           

Maximum Funding

Level 2 (208 / 240 V) connectors

3.3kW to 19.2kW

Up to 50% of total project costs, to a maximum of $5,000 per connector

Fast charger

20kW to 49kW

Up to 50% of total project costs, to a maximum of $15,000 per charger

Fast charger

50kW to 99kW

Up to 50% of total project costs, to a maximum of $50,000 per charger

Fast charger

100 kW and above

Up to 50% of total project costs, to a maximum of $75,000 per charger

Hydrogen refuelling station

Dispensing at 700 bar or 350 bar minimum

Up to 50% of total project costs, to a maximum of $1,000,000 per site

Understanding Types of EV Chargers

If you are wondering what the different charger types in the above table mean, here’s a quick description of the key variants:

1- Level 1 AC Charger:

A level 1 charger uses a simple charging box or sometimes even charges from the regular 120V port in your house. The power transmission through a typical level 1 charger is around the 3 kW mark, which translates to about a 3-8 km range added per hour of charging. 

This is obviously quite slow for most EVs and takes about a full night of charging. These are usually used at home but are slowly replaced by level 2 chargers.

2- Level 2 AC Charger:

These are currently the most widely used chargers. Operating at about 240V, these can add about 20-100 km of range to the vehicle for every hour of charging, based on the power rating.

Level 2 chargers are installed in homes, company premises, multi-residential buildings, etc.

3- DC Fast Charger:

The fastest of all, DC chargers use direct current for charging the batteries, as the name suggests. This eliminates the losses in conversion of AC to DC. With power ratings starting from 50 kW and in some cases crossing 300 kW, DC chargers have truly changed the EV charging game.

A typical electric car can be charged in a matter of minutes using a DC fast charger. Though pretty new for homes, DC chargers are finding popularity for public places such as parking lots quite rapidly.

Other EV Programs in Ontario

While ZEVIP is the largest zero-emission program in Canada, there are other exciting programs as well. For instance, the Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative offers repayable contributions to support the construction of an electric vehicle (EV) fast charging, coast-to-coast network.

The program offers up to 50% of the total project costs to a maximum of $50,000 per fast charger, and a maximum of $5 million for the entire project (and $1 million for hydrogen and natural gas refuelling stations).

A few months ago, under the #EVWeekinCanada, investments close to $15 million were made to build dozens of new EV chargers with a goal of building a truly coast-to-coast charging infrastructure. 

In addition to incentive programs available for charging infrastructure, the government also provides incentives of up to $5,000 to help Canadians buy EVs and full tax write-offs for businesses purchasing them.

The combined effect of everything mentioned above is expected to be a faster accomplishment of Canada’s goal of 100% zero emission light duty vehicles by 2035.

What This Means for Businesses in Canada

As of 2021, only 3.5% of Canada’s cars were zero emission vehicles, while the charging stations also numbered to be just a few thousand. For a sector that is slated to completely overtake the conventional automobile sector, there seems to be an incredible opportunity in the charging infrastructure sector, similar to the LED lighting or solar power sector.

Businesses can not only earn revenue by installing charging stations but also lure in more customers by offering on-premise charging facilities. Large businesses can lure forward-thinking employees as well as fulfill their ESG or CSR goals. 

Existing gas stations will have to adapt to the oncoming storm of electric vehicles and the best and most obvious way to do that is to upgrade their existing infrastructure to offer EV charging. Fortunately, compared to building and operating a traditional gas station, setting up an EV charging facility is amazingly simple and safe.

Another plus of exploring EV charging as a business opportunity is that it does not demand huge starting investments. Good-quality, reliable chargers cost just a few thousand dollars. But the best part is that you don’t have to install 20 or 50 of them at once. You can start out with 2 or 3 chargers as a pilot project and easily increase the number at any point in the future.

In conclusion, there is hardly any other sector that boasts of such strong potential for disruption in existing technologies, while at the same time shows a huge potential for supporting infrastructure. With impressive government programs like ZEVIP and relatively low investment requirements, businesses with large vehicle fleets or high customer traffic have a big opportunity to prepare for the unfolding EV transition by taking advantage of the ZEVIP program.