Toronto gives EV chargers lots of help

By contrast Hydro-Quebec’s charging network, the Electric Circuit, operates about 1,250 charging stations in Montreal. Unlike Ontario, the province has EV sales mandates and provincial rebates of up to $8,000 per vehicle.

But the TPA’s distinction as the “largest municipally owned commercial parking operator in North America” gives it the scale to provide charging infrastructure that will spread EV adoption across the city, Safos said.

The authority began working in earnest to develop its charging road map last year for its approximately 18,500 on-street spaces and 40,000 spots in off-street lots.

The latter is the initial focus for the rollout of charging infrastructure, partly because they “have a little bit more ease in terms of construction,” Safos said. The TPA is collaborating with the utility Toronto Hydro on the installation of 32 off-street chargers this year.

“We’re currently focused on high-feasibility sites in order to mobilize quickly and accelerate the rollout of EV charging,” Safos said.

The TPA will be thrown into the on-street market next year when it is scheduled to take over a curbside pilot program launched by the city in 2020. That pilot is slated to include about 50 on-street chargers by the end of this year.

The new infrastructure is likely to play an important role in helping those without a dedicated parking space make the transition to EVs. About half to 70 per cent of Green P parkers live in the area, Safos said.

But as the TPA expands charging, it expects higher demand from locals living in apartments or condos. This projection matches the findings of a report released in August and prepared for Natural Resources Canada by the Montreal-based consultancy Dunsky Energy.

“For households that do not have access to charging at home, public charging infrastructure can potentially serve as a substitute,” the report says. “While this is typically less convenient and more expensive than charging at home, it may be the only option for some households.”

By 2025, the report estimates, 52,000 public charging stations will be required in Canada to meet EV charging demand. About 9,000 are in service today, according to NRCan.


In the second quarter, the most recent period for which data is available, there were 5,587 EV new registrations in Toronto, according to Statistics Canada. This is up from 4,176 in the first quarter of 2022 and 2,810 in the second quarter last year.

The TPA’s charging infrastructure plan feeds into Toronto’s net-zero goals. The city’s TransformTO strategy aims for 30 per cent of vehicles registered in Toronto to be electric by 2030.

Safos declined to provide installation costs, saying the scope of work varies too much between sites. The capital expenses for the charging program would be funded entirely from parking revenue.

In a typical year, the TPA is a revenue generator for Toronto. In 2021, it paid a $19.7 million dividend to the city.

How proceeds from the new charging stations will be managed is a work in progress. Safos would not say whether the TPA intends to operate the chargers for profit or to break even.

“I do expect as we get more experience and also look at other delivery models, we will have more clarity on the long-term financials,” he said. “Right now, we’re focused on quickly mobilizing to support the net-zero plan and to get chargers out on the ground to support customers.”

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