Recently Colwood council approved a $101,700 untendered contract with Powertech (a subsidiary of BC Hydro) for the installation of seven electric vehicle charging stations at three locations in Colwood.
The contract appears to consist of paying Powertech a $49,000 fee to oversee the installation of the stations in addition to the actual cost of installation projected at $52,700.
There have been a number of articles about other municipalities installing the charging stations at a far lesser cost than the Colwood contract — these include Nanaimo who has installed three stations for a cost of $21,900 and the Saanich police who installed one charging station for only $1,500.
In addition there have been several articles recently concerning the lack of buyers for electric cars due to the price of the cars, cost of the battery replacement and the rapid depreciation of the cars.
The fact that earlier this month Chevrolet announced a five week shutdown of its production of the Volt and the layoff of 1,300 workers due to poor overall sales is further evidence of this.
And to quote from another article in the National Post of Feb. 24, 2012 “In Canada last year, hybrid and electric vehicles amounted to just 1.5 per cent of the total vehicles sold in the country with sales weighed down by consumer anxiety around the technology and price.
“A recent KPMG study forecast that electrified vehicles were unlikely to make up more than 15 per cent of the overall market in North American until at least 2025.
“This has automakers searching for more consumer-friendly alternatives as they struggle to meet the increasingly stringent efficiency standards set in the U.S. and elsewhere. Oddly enough, that has brought companies like electricity-boosters General Motors Co. back to diesels in their efforts to curb emissions.”
The question has to be asked if we have to install these charging stations in Colwood despite the fact the demand will be demonstrably low. I urge Colwood taxpayers to question council on whether this contract is a good one for Colwood.