Fast-charging station comes to Abbotsford

Abbotsford's first electric vehicle fast-charging station was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon to a crowd of spectators.

Abbotsford's first fast-charge station for electric vehicles is now open to the public. Station is located at the EcoDairy farm just off Highway 1's Sumas Way exit.

Abbotsford’s first electric vehicle fast-charging station was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon to a crowd of about 40 spectators.

The new installation located at EcoDairy’s farm at 1356 Sumas Way, just off the Highway 1 Sumas Way exit, can reportedly recharge vehicles to 80 per cent capacity in about 30 minutes — and is the first of its kind in the city.

The station is part of a new breed of fast-chargers which are more efficient than previous Level 2 models, which make up the bulk of stations already present around B.C., including some of those already installed throughout Abbotsford such as at the University of the Fraser Valley and the Tim Hortons at 1861 Sumas Way.

Other charging stations just allow Level 1 charging. This level of charge uses a typical three-pronged socket as found in wall outlets.

The ABB Fast-Charge station at EcoDairy is a Level 3 fast charger compatible with Nissan’s Leaf, Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and Tesla’s electric vehicles. BMW’s make of electric cars cannot be charged there, however.

To use the station, users should go to greenlots.com to sign up for an account and to receive an RFID card. There is also an app iPhone and Android-based cellphone users can download.

Bill Vanderkooi, CEO of Nutriva Group and president of EcoDairy, said he was excited to be a part of the network of stations being established.

B.C. Hydro’s Alec Tsang said this station is to be one of 30 across southern B.C. by March 2016. The project was funded by the federal government through its ecoEnergy program.

But, Tsang added, “This is the first private operation. These stations are often on municipal land.”

The goal, Tsang said, is to build a network or infrastructure to spur further use of electric vehicles. The next closest fast-charging station is in Langley.

EcoDairy is close to the highway and the eco-friendly nature of electric vehicles matches with the company’s business directives, which includes an anaerobic digestive process whereby the cow manure produced at the farm creates energy from biogas (methane and carbon dioxide).

When running at optimal speed, the anaerobic digester can produce up to one-third of the energy used by the charging station, Torenvliet said.

BC MLA for Chilliwack-Hope Laurie Throness was on hand for the ribbon-cutting, as was Abbotsford deputy mayor Patricia Ross.

Throness delivered a statement, calling attention to the commercial aspect of the arrangement with EcoDairy.

Because it could take up to a half-hour for someone’s vehicle to charge, it may lead consumers to seek other purchases of goods offered at EcoDairy.

“What to do when you’re spending 30 minutes here?” he rhetorically asked the crowd of spectators. “There is a commercial advantage; a potential for a rise in (EcoDairy’s) sales.”

Also in attendance was Sharon Gaetz, mayor of Chilliwack and board chair for the Fraser Valley Regional District.

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