News Local

Tesla deal back on council's plate

Bob Bruton

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner

Tesla is offering to pay for 16 Level II charging stations; Centennial Park, Collier Street Parkade, Heritage Park, Barrie Public Library, Barrie City Hall and recreation centres are all possibilities. MARK WANZEL photo

Tesla is offering to pay for 16 Level II charging stations; Centennial Park, Collier Street Parkade, Heritage Park, Barrie Public Library, Barrie City Hall and recreation centres are all possibilities. MARK WANZEL photo

Hooking up with a car-maker for more electric charging stations in Barrie is a road councillors will again consider Monday.

Two weeks ago they delayed signing agreements with Tesla Motors Canada to get a number of questions answered – mostly about the blend of chargers and interest from other electric car manufacturers.

The deal is back on the table now.

Tesla is offering to pay for 16 Level II charging stations; Centennial Park, Collier Street Parkade, Heritage Park, Barrie Public Library, Barrie City Hall and recreation centres are all possibilities.

Twelve of the stations would work only with Tesla cars, the other four would be generic chargers for any electric vehicle. The stations would cost Tesla $2,500 to $5,000 to install.

Coun. Sergio Morales is a proponent of the deal, noting that Barrie residents are starting to buy electric vehicles and that will continue.

“Creating the charging infrastructure will ensure that our residents have the necessary network to do so, and that we deliver on providing municipal infrastructure,” he said.

“This is not an 'extra' service we're providing, this is the evolution of the roads and sidewalks - infrastructure municipalities have always provided, and the demand is already here, with commonplace uptake three to seven years away.”

While Tesla would pay the capital costs for the Barrie stations, the charges would be free to drivers – but picked up by the city at an estimated annual hydro cost of $12,000, or $3-$6 per charge.

But the city has received support from the Downtown Barrie Business Association on the hydro charges.

Craig Stevens, the BIA's managing director, said the EV charging stations are a great opportunity for its businesses. He said with current charging times ranging from an hour to a couple of hours, EV owners could shop in the downtown while waiting.

Stevens also said the Tesla offer is so important that the BIA would consider a sponsorship/partnership to help pay for the operating hydro costs.

“This will help put Barrie on the map as a progressive and open-for-business community,” Stevens said in a letter to the city.

Morales also sees that advantage.

“Best of all, the economic impact that the downtown gets from having people stop specifically in Barrie to charge up for a few hours and spend their money here instead of another city is a a very real money injection to the local economy that would have otherwise not been invested in Barrie,” he said.

Morales also said that since this is an infrastructure cost the city would do anyway, negotiating a deal with Tesla that sees it pay for stations, including universal ones, and for construction and electrical infrastructure quoted by staff to be worth approximately $100,000 is also a good deal for taxpayers.

Tesla wants to expand its charging program into municipalities, perhaps to co-incide with the release of its new Model 3. It starts at $35,000 US and has a range of almost 355 kilometres. Delivery takes 12 to 18 months, according to Tesla Canada's website.

Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Audi and BMW are also producing electric cars.

Barrie already has electric car charging stations at Park Place, in the south-end, and near the north-end Walmart parking lot, adjacent to Kelsey's Original Roadhouse.

bbruton@postmedia.com 



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