OPINION: Electric anxiety in Squamish | Squamish Chief

OPINION: Electric anxiety in Squamish

The biggest problem I have found as a new electric vehicle owner is the “electric” portion of the vehicle, specifically when it comes to charging the battery in Squamish. 

As far as I can tell, the two main problems with charging in town come from a lack of publicly available charge stations and owners leaving their cars plugged in longer than the posted time limits.

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In regards to the lack of public charging options, the Garibaldi Highlands hosts two, Level-2 plug-ins while downtown hosts another two publicly available stations — one Level 2 and one DC fast charger. Putting aside the fast charger — as frequent DC charging will degrade an EVs battery life over the longterm — this leaves three publicly available Level 2 chargers for all of Squamish.

With a growing group of drivers choosing electric vehicles, charging stations, downtown especially, seem to be in near-constant use.

Unfortunately, the strains of a growing base of EV owners and the small allotment of public chargers, already enough to give someone “range” anxiety, is exacerbated by a few vehicle owners choosing to ignore the posted time limits for charging, which is typically two hours. I understand that some days the time gets away from you, but when you can check your car’s charge progress from your phone, you should also be more than capable of setting an alarm on that same phone to remind you to move your car off a charger, freeing up that plug for someone else to use.

As this town continues to grow and more EVs are brought into Squamish by people making the leap from gas to electricity, we will need more public chargers so I propose this: the District invests in more public chargers at paid parking stalls, or better yet, on a paid lot. I think we can all see that public charging will not be free forever, so why not take action now? Not only will this solution create more charge points for EVs in town and a direct revenue stream to the District, but it will also help make electric vehicles a more viable option for those potential owners who may not have the luxury of plugging in at home each night.

With that, my alarm begins to go off “Move car from charger,” I guess that means time’s up for me.

Bill Beaubien was born and raised in Squamish. He went electric in the spring of 2019 when he bought a Hyundai Ioniq.

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