The joint venture remains on track to become one of Ontario’s largest fast-charging networks with its new ‘Charge & Go’ service, as it also launches a Level 2 ‘Park & Charge’ service with 11 municipal and local business partners.
Electric vehicle drivers in rural Ontario or those traveling to the far corners of the province will be able to hit the road with an added sense of security after a new Ivy Charging Network announcement.
After launching last year as a fast-charging network, Ivy – a joint venture between Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) – is now adding Level 2 charging in partnership with municipalities and local businesses. It also renames the two levels of service to “Charge & Go” for its DC fast charging options and “Park & Charge” for its level 2 charging.
“It’s really exciting for us to launch ‘Park & Charge.’ The ‘Charge & Go’ was really meant to be part of the solution to help solve range anxiety on the go, but people are charging in many different places and therefore partnering with municipalities that have climate goals. or wanting to move to a cleaner future, makes a lot of sense, ”said Theresa Dekker, VP, Business Development and Corporate Strategy at OPG and Co-Chair of Ivy Charging Network, in an interview with Autonomy Electric Canada.
“For us, it’s about supporting this and providing turnkey solutions, so [municipalities] don’t have to worry about it and we can help support their climate goals.
Prepare for the future
Ivy also says he has now completed construction on his 27th rapid charge facility, with a dozen more underway. If all of its planned stations are built on time, it will have one of the largest fast-charging networks in the province with around 60 operational charging points by the end of 2021.
This is less than Ivy’s initial target of 73 locations and 160 chargers, publicly promised in February 2020. The shortfall is due, in part, to difficulties in finding suitable site hosts that meet the criteria Ivy is looking for. .
“This is largely driven by the best equipment we can provide to customers and also by partnerships,” says Dekker. “We have partnerships with web hosts that have allowed us to say, ‘Okay, this works great at this location’ and if they have any other locations that they would like to review we were able to add a little space that way.
Each site location must be chosen deliberately and with care, not only to ensure an immediate positive experience, but to set Ivy up for future success as the transition to electrification continues to progress. By expanding to level 2 charging, “Park & Charge” could offer Ivy the ability to potentially move around in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) energy storage space, which is still an area. largely untapped in the market.
“We are constantly evaluating additional growth opportunities that may arise. So, you know, it is possible that this could be something that we are looking at in the future, ”says Dekker in response to questions about the V2G plans for the network.
Ivy from yesterday to now
The Ivy Network was first exclusively reported by Autonomy Electric Canada in October 2019, and it made its smooth public launch in early 2020. At the same time, the federal government provided Ivy with $ 8 million in repayable funding contributions, which the company expects to be able to repay as it continues. ‘she sees more growth and success.
“We’re seeing more participation this summer, which is really positive. Hopefully, with the release of COVID vaccines and people feeling like they can travel a bit more, we’ll continue to see more growth, ”Dekker said.
When it comes to measuring success outside of dollars and cents, one of Ivy’s biggest accomplishments since inception is that she completed the deployment of the northwest branch of the network with a full circuit of six charging points spaced between Thunder Bay and Longbow Lake (just east of Kénora).
“We were trying to make it so that you could get from city to city with around 100 kilometers of charging. So that you can make your way north with sites that are more limited or more spatially distant than what you would see in urban areas, you know, closer to Toronto, for example, ”says Dekker.
Distance between Ivy stations on this loop is between 150 km and a little over 200 km. These are six of the only 33 stations between Thunder Bay and Kenora. The majority of existing chargers in Northwestern Ontario are Tesla superchargers, while the Ivy slots can be used by any type of vehicle.
More potential level 2
Going forward, Ivy hopes to be able to repeat this model of success with her Tier 2 municipal and business partners. So far, the network claims to have partnered with 11 communities: the towns of Halton Hills, Aurora, Port Hope, Carleton Place, Town of Orillia, Municipality of Newmarket, County of Haliburton, Township of Algonquin Highlands, Municipality of Dysart et al, Municipality of Highlands East and Township of Minden Hills.
Ivy is looking to open all of these Charging Points over the next six months and is hoping this first batch of Tier 2 Charging Partners will be the first in a series.
“We’re always looking for ways to help municipalities,” says Dekker, who confirms that Ivy is ready to be approached for Tier 2 pricing by interested municipalities through the form on the company’s website.
“We would be interested to know if there are other municipalities looking to do the same and where we could help them – or businesses, for that matter.”
• Announcement of the Ivy charging network