Electric Vehicles

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Why are electric vehicles important?

Switching from gas and diesel to electric vehicles is the single biggest action required to meet Ottawa’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. To meet this target, by 2030, 90 per cent of all new vehicles sold will have to be electric.

What are the benefits of electric vehicles?

Electric vehicles have many benefits compared to gas and diesel powered vehicles. They are:

  • Better for the climate. The average Ontario driver can reduce their car’s greenhouse gas emissions between 70 and 90 per cent as a result of Ontario’s relatively carbon-free electrical grid.
  • Better for public health. Electric vehicles are quiet and have no tailpipe emissions which means less noise and air pollution.
  • Cheaper to operate and maintain. Electric vehicle drivers save upwards of 60 per cent on maintenance costs and more than 50 per cent on fuel costs.
  • Fun to drive. Electric cars feature better handling and stability and deliver responsive, fast and smooth acceleration.

Electric vehicle charging

Charging at home

All electric vehicles come with a cord set that lets you charge using a regular wall socket operating on 120 volts. This is typically called “Level 1 charging”. If you are mostly traveling within Ottawa, charging an electric vehicle overnight using a standard wall outlet can provide enough energy to carry out your day-to-day activities.

Faster charging stations use a 240-volt system (similar to a clothes dryer or stove plug) and can be installed by a licensed electrician. These are called “Level 2 Charging”. If you are doing a lot of driving, or multiple trips around the city every day, these faster charging stations can replenish vehicle batteries five to six times faster than a standard wall outlet. This gives you the peace of mind of always having enough battery to get you to where you’re going.

Most electric vehicle drivers do the majority of their charging at home, but public charging stations are available for those who can’t charge at home and for when you’re planning a longer trip.

Public charging stations

There are over 200 Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations in Ottawa and almost 7,000 across Canada. Level 3 or fast charging stations can charge your battery from empty to 80 per cent in about 30 minutes.

The number of charging stations across Canada continues to grow. You can keep up to date with charging stations in your neighbourhood and across the country by checking crowdsourced charging station websites such as:

Electric vehicle drivers can use one of the many public charging stations while they are on the road to replenish their vehicle’s battery. Depending on how long your vehicle will spend parking, you can use:

  • Level 2 chargers which are often located in shopping malls, grocery stores and community centres
  • Level 3 charging stations which are located along major travel corridors such as 400-series and local highways

There are multiple operators who offer these chargers, just like gas stations. The number and variety of charging stations makes it possible to drive between major cities or even from coast to coast.

Condos and apartments

Any level of charger can be installed in a condo or apartment to support electric vehicle owners. The type and quantity installed will depend on the needs of the current and future residents.

Installing electric vehicle charging stations at multi-unit residential buildings will require the condo board, property manager or owner to:

  • Understand the interest among residents for electric vehicle charging
  • Get an assessment from an electric vehicle charging station provider to understand the options available and the associated costs
  • Decide which options to move forward with to meet the needs of current and future residents

Generally, the most cost-effective option to increase access to electric vehicle charging stations are through the power-sharing of stations. This allows multiple charging stations to be connected to a single electrical circuit, rather than each vehicle having its own dedicated electrical connection. This lowers the cost-per-charger by nearly 10-fold in some cases, while providing enough power for the average driver.

Additional information and guidance for condo boards, condo owners, and property managers looking to install charging stations at their properties can be found in the Make Your Condo EV Ready guide from Plug n Drive, a long-standing non-profit dedicated to supporting the adoption of electric vehicles.

On-street charging stations

The City has installed 24 on-street charging stations at 12 locations in the urban area:

  • Adjacent to 6 Oak Street
  • 113 Beechwood Avenue
  • 122 Daly Avenue
  • 170 Primrose Avenue
  • 186 Main Street
  • 190 Richmond Road
  • 245 Crichton Street
  • 301 Laurier Avenue East
  • 930 Wellington Street West
  • 283 Cyr Avenue
  • 118 Cartier Street
  • Adjacent to 1551 Lycée Place

The interactive map on FLO website shows the location of each station along with the cost and current availability. The map also shows other charging stations in Ottawa.

Each site has two Level 2 chargers which provide up to 35 to 45 km of range per hour of charging. They are compatible with all models of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

electric vehicle charging station

How to use the charging stations

The charging stations are operated by FLO. They can be used with either the FLO mobile app or a FLO card. Step by step instructions for how to use the charging stations can be found on the FLO website.

If you need help charging or there is a problem with the charging station, please contact FLO at any time for assistance.

Incentives for electric vehicles

Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program

Transport Canada offers incentives of up to $5,000 for eligible purchases or leases of new battery-electric, hydrogen-fuel cell, and hybrid electric vehicles. The incentive is applied directly on the bill of sale or lease agreement at the dealership or online. Find out more about the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program.

How the City is supporting electric vehicles

The City is committed to supporting the transition to electric vehicles and has installed several electric vehicle charging stations across Ottawa, including:

  • 24 on street charging stations
  • Two charging stations at the Chapel Hill Park and Ride
  • Two charging stations at the Lois Kemp (Blackburn) Arena
  • A fast charging station at the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex - Orléans

The City will continue to identify opportunities to support the transition to electric vehicles in Ottawa through the upcoming Electric Vehicle Strategy.

Electric vehicle charging station usage data

Usage data for public charging stations installed by the City is available to view and download on Open Ottawa. The data includes charging session information for every charging event at each public charging station and is updated on a monthly basis. We encourage you to explore the data and see for yourself how each station is being used. If you have any questions please contact climatechange@ottawa.ca.

City fleet vehicles

In addition to supporting personal electric vehicles, the City is committed to continuing to convert its fleet vehicles to hybrid and electric vehicles through its Municipal Green Fleet Plan. Currently the City has four fully electric vehicles and 132 hybrid vehicles.

OC Transpo plans to have a zero-emission bus fleet by 2036. The first electric buses are already on city streets. The new buses will reduce operating costs, be quieter and reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. From now until 2036, all new bus purchases will be for zero-emission buses, should they meet OC Transpo’s operational requirements.

Electric vehicle engagement opportunities

To find out more about upcoming engagement opportunities on electric vehicle projects, visit Engage Ottawa.

Frequently asked questions

If you a question about electric vehicles you can submit them on Engage Ottawa. We will aim to answer all questions within five business days.

Will the City be adding more charging stations?

The City will continue to apply for funding to add additional charging stations across Ottawa to fill existing gaps and ensure residents have greater access to reliable charging stations. The charging station locations are being chosen based on need, technical and equity and inclusion considerations, and feedback from residents.

Why is the City installing Level 2 charging station and not faster ones?

The City is installing a mix of charging stations. Level 2 charging stations are significantly cheaper to install and require less power compared to Level 3 stations. This allows for greater coverage and a greater number of overall chargers to be installed. Level 2 chargers can provide 35 to 45 km per hour of charging which is enough to meet the average driver’s daily needs. These types of chargers are well suited for local use in residential areas. Level 3 chargers are better suited for inter-city travel corridors.

How far can an electric vehicle go on one charge?

Battery electric cars sold today can travel between 350 and 450 kilometres on a single charge. Since most Canadians drive 50 kilometres or less per day, an electric vehicle can easily meet the daily needs of most drivers. If you need to take a longer trip, there are many fast charging stations along highways and major roads that will fully charge your battery in 30 to 45 minutes.

How does winter impact electric vehicles?

Electric vehicles will start no matter how cold it is. The colder weather does impact range but not enough to impact daily driving needs. Pre-heating an electric car while it is still plugged can extend your range in winter as it uses grid energy to heat rather than depleting the battery.

What about the batteries?

Electric vehicle batteries use Lithium-ion technology, which is the same as smartphones, laptops and most rechargeable household electronics. Electric vehicle batteries are expected to outlast the car, with many examples of older electric vehicles operating on their original batteries. Once a battery has reached the end of its life in a vehicle it can be used in other ways such as storing electric energy for home energy backup. After this time the battery can be recycled, as the design of batteries includes features that make them easily recyclable.

What happens in a power outage?

It’s good practice to not let your car get too low on charge. Just like you wouldn’t let your gas tank get too empty. Since power outages are usually isolated to a small geographic area, if the power in your neighbourhood is out you can drive to a public charging station in a nearby neighbourhood that is not affected. Remember when the power goes out, it’s not possible to pump gas either.

Thanks to bidirectional charging, some electric vehicles can also use energy stored in their batteries to power everyday electronics or even a house. Read more about how electric vehicles with bidirectional charging can help provide power during an outage.

Can the electrical grid handle an influx of electric vehicles?

Currently the grid has sufficient capacity overall for millions of electric vehicles, the problem is matching when the vehicles need to charge to when and where that capacity is available. Given that most electric vehicle charging can happen overnight when the demand for electricity is lower, the impact on the grid at the moment is minimal. The new Ultra-Low Overnight electricity price plan is designed to incentivize customers to use electricity when demand is low and electricity is cheaper. Ultra-Low Overnight rates can make charging an electric vehicle significantly cheaper.

Utility companies, including Hydro Ottawa, are planning for the expected increase in electric vehicles and continue to ensure that the grid is capable of reliably delivering electricity. The switch to electric vehicles will be gradual. Even when new gas or diesel vehicles are no longer sold there will still be cars on the road that are not electric. This gives our electricity systems time to adapt and be built to support the needs of tomorrow’s electric vehicle drivers and broader electrification. 

More information about electric vehicles

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Request service for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

If you notice that there is snow blocking access to either the parking space or the charging station, please make a request through 311:

If you notice any issue with accessing a parking space or the charging station not related to snow, please make a request through 311:

If you notice any issue with the usability of the charging station, including not being able to charge or not being able to communicate with the charging station, please make a request through the station operator FLO:

If you notice a vehicle parked in an EV-only parking space that is not actively charging, please make a request through 311: