Ontario takes first step towards electric car infrastructure

The Canadian province of Ontario is acting to support the uptake of electric cars by backing the creation of a recharging network.

Ontario is one of North America's largest car-producing regions. The provincial government hopes that embracing the technology of battery-powered vehicles in its early stages will provide a stimulus for job creation and economic growth. It will work in partnership with Better Place, a company launched in 2007 to build electric-vehicle networks powered by renewable energy.

Better Place will establish its Canadian head office in Ontario, and build an electric vehicle demonstration and education centre in Toronto. 

The province has committed to conducting a comprehensive study, scheduled for release in May, which will look at ways to speed up the introduction and adoption of electric vehicles. At the same time, Better Place will be developing a plan and timeline for a network of charging points and battery exchange stations.

Much like the mobile phone model, Better Place installs and operates the infrastructure, while auto manufacturers produce electric cars for the network. Better Place sources renewable energy to power the network. This model, the company says, creates a zero emission solution from generation to grid to transportation.

For long-distance journeys, drivers will pull into battery exchange stations to swap a depleted battery for a fresh one in less time than it takes to fill a car with gasoline.

Better Place is partnering with Bullfrog Power to provide the renewable energy for the Ontario network. Macquarie Group will act as financial advisor on developing a network roll-out plan and investment timeline.

Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, says: "Our partnership will move Ontario toward a new era in personal transportation – from the current Car 1.0 model centred on the internal combustion engine to a Car 2.0 model of electric cars powered by renewable energy. This announcement is the all-important first step in an expected electric car charging network rollout for Canada."

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