Seventy-four new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations will be installed across campus as part of a $1.45-million upgrade jointly funded by Western and Natural Resources Canada.
Already home to six EV chargers, Western will soon add more – including two powerful rapid chargers – to its campus infrastructure.
“Embracing the adoption of EV charging on campus is another way Western is demonstrating leadership in sustainability, and our commitment to a net-zero future,” said Heather Hyde, Western’s director of sustainability.
Western has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions for campus operations by 2050.
The new charging stations will be spread across Western’s campus, from parking lots to residence buildings to the fleet and facilities garage, to make them as accessible as possible to the campus community.
The new chargers are mostly “level 2,” providing 240-volt power for faster charging than a typical 120-volt source. But Western is also receiving funding for two “level 3” chargers, which can charge EVs even more quickly.
The new charging stations will be installed across campus over the next two years.
On May 26, Natural Resources Canada announced a $460,000 investment in Western through its Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program, contributing to 72 level 2 and two level 3 chargers. Western will contribute $995,400.
“The Government of Canada is supporting the made-in-Canada EV economy,” Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said.
“From securing jobs building electric vehicle batteries at the Volkswagen Gigafactory in St. Thomas, Ontario, to our recent announcement of nearly 3,000 new chargers across Ontario, we are investing in the clean economy. As we advance toward our 2035 electric vehicle target, we are partnering with industry, workers and local and Indigenous partners to build out our charging infrastructure while creating good jobs and affordable transportation options in communities across Canada.”
The investment will also help Western’s own fleet transition from diesel to electric. There are three EVs on order for the facilities team and they are expected to arrive later this year, Hyde said.
The joint investment will help rev up sustainability goals. Western has consistently ranked among the world’s top universities for its work on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability is a pillar of Western’s strategic plan, Towards Western at 150, and is consistently reflected in its annual budgets.
The new chargers are just one way Western’s promoting sustainable transportation choices.
“By supporting the adoption of zero-emission vehicles though the installation of EV charging stations, this project will have a direct and positive impact in reducing our emissions from transportation,” Hyde said.
“This initiative supports the City of London’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, as it will provide additional public EV charging capacity within the city. It also complements other initiatives such as Western’s Open Space Strategy which is creating a safer, more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly campus.”
Western’s parking services department already operates six level 2 charging ports at three strategic locations: Alumni/Thompson, Visual Arts and Elborn College parking lots. These current charging stations are often used by EV drivers within the campus community.