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Apr 22, 2024

8 min. read

Current Events: What You Need to Know About EV Charging Infrastructure in Canada Image courtesy of Jinlo Guo (iStock).

Are you hesitating to buy an electric vehicle (EV) due to the lack of charging infrastructure? You are not alone. A CAA survey last year showed that the lack of public charging options remains the biggest concern among EV owners. Natural Resources Canada estimates that the country will need about 450,000 publicly available chargers by 2035, when the federal zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate reaches 100 percent of new sales. That’s a long way from the current count of just over 20,000 charge points across Canada. —Graham Heeps


Public chargers are a necessity if you’re using an EV for a road trip, a long daily commute or if you can’t charge at home (which is cheaper and more convenient). Homes are eventually expected to account for up to 80 percent of charging, according to charger maker ABB E-mobility. But unless you have a Tesla, the public charging experience has been poor so far, plagued by unreliability, fragmentation in the market and a lack of connector standardization.


Amid ongoing consolidation in the charging market, automakers are investing in networks to ease their customers’ pain. Starting in 2025, many rival brands are also switching to Tesla’s connector, known as NACS (North American Charging Standard). Adapters will be available for existing vehicles. In the long term, this should ensure a simpler, more reliable and more accessible public charging experience. In the short term, according to ABB, it has created uncertainty in the market, as charge-point operators pause to consider their next move.


“The Tesla Supercharger network is going to get much busier, which is not great news for Tesla owners, but Tesla still offers the best charging experience,” says Ryan Peterson, manager of automotive services for the CAA Club Group. “More generally, when you’re looking for an EV, battery range and ease of charging are the most important things to consider.

Learn how to search for chargers using the navigation system. Ensure that the car has a battery preconditioning feature, which prepares the battery for charging.” Preconditioning allows the battery to charge more quickly and can extend battery life. Currently, EVs are great for certain drivers—especially for those in the city, with proximity to chargers. Says Peterson: “If you don’t need an EV right away, it might be worth waiting until the NACS-equipped models start rolling out.”


EV charging is a demanding addition to your home electrics, so don’t compromise on the installation. Employ a professional electrician and hard-wire the charger. Level 2 wall chargers cost around $500 to $1,000, while the installation cost varies widely, depending on your current electrical panel.

Questions about vehicles? In Ontario, visit caasco.com/auto/electric-vehicles and in Manitoba, visit caamanitoba.com/auto/electric-vehicles for more information on EVs. You can also ask us about any kind of vehicle. Email autoadvice@caasco.ca or call 1-866-464-6448 with questions for our experts.