Le Circuit Electrique Plugs Into Public EV Charging


le-circuit-electrique-quebec-true-public-ev-gridIn an effort to adapt to the growing number of electric vehicles on the streets, many cities are finding success in systems of public charging stations. Way out in front is the province of Québec, specifically Montreal, with their Le Circuit Electrique (Electric Circuit).

This public charging network is membership based and asks participants to sign up to receive their “Electric Circuit” card which gives them access to public EV chargers and then bills them for the use. Hydro Québec, a partner in the project, is heavily promoting the use of these chargers and recently published a press release about the new 400-V fast-charge station in Boucherville. As we’ve mentioned before, public charging stations always run into the time-to-charge issue, so introducing fast-charge stations will certainly be well-received by EV owners.

Interestingly, Boucherville was also the location of a three-year EV field test program where residents drove 30 EVs for a Hydro Québec study. The results were overwhelmingly positive!

Here is an excerpt from Hydro Québec’s release about The Electric Circuit and the EV field test:

“’The Electric Circuit is delighted to diversify its range of services and to be adding a first fast-charge station to the existing network of some two hundred and thirty 240-V stations,’ said Pierre-Luc Desgagné, Hydro Québec’s Vice-President – Public and Government Affairs. ‘So far, the Electric Circuit is Québec’s only public charging network to offer this type of charging, which is intended for specially equipped all-electric vehicles,’ he added.

To use the fast-charge station, EV drivers must first obtain an Electric Circuit card, if they have not already done so, by visiting theelectriccircuit.com. For an introductory period, quick charging will be offered at the same rate as 240-V charging, i.e. for a flat fee of $2.50 per charge, no matter how long it takes. The rate will eventually be revised.

The Electric Circuit would like to underscore the fact that the St-Hubert restaurant in Boucherville, where this first fast-charge station was originally installed for test purposes and is now located, has worked very closely with the team on this project.

Fast-charge station tested in Québec

The charging station being put into service today has been used over the last year for running quick-charge tests under real conditions in Boucherville, as part of an extensive all-electric vehicle demonstration project.

In ideal conditions (mild temperature, 15°C, and low initial charge), a fast charge to 80% of battery capacity will take only about 30 minutes for an all-electric vehicle. With cold temperatures in the winter, it can take significantly longer to charge an EV at a 400-V charging station, unlike a 240-V station, which is not affected by ambient temperature.

It is worth remembering that most charging is done at home, where the vehicle is parked most of the time. EV drivers who would like to extend the range of their vehicle have access to the Electric Circuit’s many 240-V charging stations throughout Québec. For all-electric vehicles with quick-charging capability, the 400-V station provides drivers with an additional option.

‘The fast-charge service is offered in addition to the 240-V charging service and it will significantly strengthen our network by enabling us to meet all EV charging needs,’ noted Mr. Desgagné.

Largest all-electric demonstration project, with very promising results

The conclusions of the 30 all-electric vehicle field trial conducted from December 2010 to June 2013 have now been drawn up. They include the satisfaction of the participants and organizations involved, who very much appreciated their driving experience. Close to half of them purchased an EV at the end of the testing program. The participants of the pilot project felt that home charging was sufficient for most trips and many of them felt an EV could be used as a household’s primary vehicle, all year round.

The Hydro-Québec pilot project in Boucherville was the largest all-electric vehicle field trial ever carried out under real conditions in Canada. Conducted in partnership with the City of Boucherville and Mitsubishi Canada, the program tracked the driving habits and behavior of 31 motorists from 27 organizations. The 31 drivers traveled approximately 740,000 km in all, which means that the atmosphere was spared around 104 tons of greenhouse gases.

The Electric Circuit

The Electric Circuit is a major initiative in the rollout of charging infrastructure needed to support the arrival of plug-in vehicles in Québec.

The Electric Circuit is the largest public charging network in Québec, with 230 charging stations (240-V and 400-V) in operation in parking lots of the AMT, RONA stores, Metro grocery stores and St-Hubert restaurants throughout Québec. Since its launch in March 2012, 51 private and institutional partners have joined the Electric Circuit. It will continue to expand in order to offer greater geographical coverage and serve more EV drivers in many regions of Québec.”

Learn more about The Electric Circuit .

If you would like to learn about how electric vehicles work, take a look at Getting to Know Electric Vehicles!

As always, contact us if you would like to book an appointment for an EV charger installation.

Picture from: ecoactualite.com