Metrolinx removes EV charging station from GO Station parking lots, citing low demand

January 10, 2019
By Allison Smith

Metrolinx has removed 24 electric vehicle charging (EV) stations from GO Station parking lots across the GTA, winding down a 2013 pilot project that aimed to increase EV use amongst commuters.

A spokesperson for Metrolinx says the transit agency made the decision not to renew the pilot, which included a contract with charging station operator ChargePoint, last November, citing low demand for the equipment.

In 2013, then-Liberal transportation minister Glen Murray announced a three-year pilot in conjunction with ChargePoint, which bills itself as “the world’s largest and most open EV charging network.”

At the time, Murray said the pilot could be extended or expanded, depending on demand. The province continued working with ChargePoint and subsidizing the cost of using the stations for the next five years while the former Liberal government remained in power.

Metrolinx says the cost of running the program exceeded its revenue. In 2017, the charging stations were used a total of 3,610 times, or an average of 301 times per station. The cost to the consumer was $2.50 per charge.

The old charging locations have been converted into regular parking spots.

In a statement to Queen’s Park Today, Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said he supports Metrolinx’s decision to decommission the charging stations. “Data from the pilot project shows there was low demand and the program was losing money. I respect the business decision made by Metrolinx.”

Liberal Finance critic Mitzie Hunter blamed the decision on Premier Doug Ford, saying his administration continues to telegraph that it doesn’t believe in automotive innovation, despite industry trends.

"The prudent decision would have been to maintain the infrastructure for electric vehicles. Now taxpayers will be on the hook when it inevitably needs to be rebuilt in the future," said Hunter in a statement.

In a statement, NDP Climate Change critic Peter Tabuns said “electric cars are the future” and by ripping down already installed EV stations, “Ford is dragging Ontario backward and burning money.”

After coming into power last summer, the PC government swiftly wound down the former Liberal government’s EV incentive program, which provided a rebate of up to $14,000 on the purchase of an EV, as well as a $2.5 million incentive program that helped homeowners install their own EV charging equipment.

According to FleetCarma, a company that monitors EV trends, there are more than 30,000 EVs on the road in Ontario. The Liberals hoped EV sales would account for five per cent of all vehicles sales in the province by 2020.