Spotted in Toronto: “ChargePoint” Charging Station For Electric Vehicles Comes To Canada
I was in downtown Toronto today and passing by the Sheraton Centre Toronto (123 Queen Street West) I noticed these interesting devices by 2 parking spots. At first I thought maybe they were air hoses to inflate tires but upon closer inspection I saw they were, in fact, charging stations for electric cars – apparently the proper term is “electric vehicle” but I thought it was “electric car” until I looked at the ChargePoint website. My immediate thought was, “Wow, indeed the times they are a-changin’!” and then I noticed the two cars parked in the spots were most definitely not electric vehicles.
I asked one of the valets about the instillation and he was even kind enough to move one of the cars out of the spot so I could get some of the pictures you see here in this post. I also asked him a bunch of questions about the charging stations themselves.
- They are a part of a pilot project.
- They were installed about two months ago.
- No, they have never been used yet.
- He said he didn’t even know if they did work as contrary to the green sign on the wall above the spots (closeup of the sign below) he had no idea what the rate would be if I wanted to use it. He did want to call the number on the station but I stopped him because I didn’t have enough time and didn’t actually have an electric vehicle to plug in there so the point was sort of moot.
- They’re the first ones in Canada as far as he knew.
I thanked the valet for his time and for answering my questions and then went on my way to the Starbucks where I sit here writing this post. I also did some research on the charging stations:
- The ChargePoint Charging Station is a brand owned by Coulomb Technologies.
- As per this December 7, 2010 Press Release they were announced/launched/installed in Toronto and Montreal at the Sheraton Centre Toronto and Le Centre Sheraton Montreal and they are the first hotels in Canada to offer ChargePoint Electric Vehicle Charging Services.
- You can find out more information about the stations and services at the CharegePoint website here: http://www.mychargepoint.net/
- Even though the above linked press release seems to indicate they are already launched/installed the ChargePoint Website’s Find Statios Tool doesn’t seem to know anything about the Montreal location (see screenshot below. I also did a search for within Montreal and found no results).
The whole thing looks very cool and I wonder if this is going to be the future of personal transportation with these things set up all over the place. I hope they have already figured out a way to deal with battery life ‘memory degradation’ which is common among most modern batteries. Unlike when people stop at a hotel (where they are probably going to be for a while) if you stop for half an hour to go shopping and plug your vehicle in and do that numerous times per day will it mess up the battery over time?
Now that they are in Canada I wonder how quick will the proliferation be of these stations? I can see coffee shops really capitalizing on these stations because I assume it takes a lot longer to charge a battery than it does to fill a gas tank and no one wants to hang out at a gas station for 30 minutes or longer while they get their car charged. Can you imagine if in a couple of years when you go to a Starbucks they give you a free 30 minute charge for your car in the parking lot with your purchase there? Hey – given the economics of it work out – they already offer free WiFi, this doesn’t sound that far-fetched!
What would be the etiquette of leaving your car in the station’s spot for longer than it needs to charge while you shop or go off and do something else? Maybe they’ll have to make the spots around a station circular so more than one car can fit there at once and if you see the car that is connected is done charging you can disconnect it and connect your own car? These will be our coming #FirstWorldProblems in the 21st Century I guess.