Quebec City’s AddÉnergie is about make a huge push for its vision of more convienent and affordable electric vehicle chargers.
Not only will the company received about $6.7 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Natural Resources Canada, but it will invest $7.3 million of its own money too. The initiative will also benefit from $748,000 from the Quebec Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation and $1.9 million from various private partners, bringing its total bill to $16.9 million in spending.
AddÉnergie calls itself the Canadian leader in electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions. Founded in Quebec City in 2009, AddEnergie designs and manufactures smart charging stations and network management software for residential, commercial and public means. It’s funding partners include Rio Tinto, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Investissement Québec.
The company supplies and operates FLO, Canada’s largest charging network, and Electric Circuit, the largest public charging network in Quebec. All of its products are developed at its Quebec City headquarters and manufactured at its plant in Shawinigan. The company also has offices in Montreal and in Mississauga, Ontario.
It’s a vertically-integrated company, meaning it does everything from designing and manufacturing software and product to selling and operating. Most of the cash will be spent on developing new charging technologies that will support transportation electrification in the country now and in the future.
We spoke with CEO Louis Tremblay, who told us that the money will go towards five pilot projects across Canada to test out a number of new technologies and business models. They’ll help Canadian consumers and businesses access charging services on a monthly subscription basis, likely around $100 per month. This formula will address the large cost barrier involved in acquiring and installing charging infrastructure in both the residential and commercial markets. This is especially true in condo buildings, said Tremblay.
“For once people will be able to have a viable solution in their home if they’re living in a multi-dwelling place. I think having an electric charger in the building will be normal in a few years, but as a leader we’re demonstrating that now,” said Tremblay. “With this funding we’re going to partner with property owners and install 20,000 to 30,000 units and make them available as a service.”
In a release, AddÉnergie detailed some impressive figures that should come as a result of the investments. The projects “will enable the creation of 86 permanent jobs in Canada over five years and prevent emissions of over 880,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs). They will also see more than 1,000 new charging stations installed across Canada by 2019, which will in part contribute to the expansion of the Canada-wide FLO charging network, operated by AddEnergie.”
The FLO charging network is made up about 3,000 charging stations, two-thirds of which are in Quebec. The others are in Ontario, the Maritime provinces and British Columbia.
One of the other big areas AddÉnergie wants to focus on is curbside charging stations, which have been integrated with parking payment systems in pilot markets like Montreal. It’s a world that Tremblay sees in which someone can park, run errands and do a little shopping and return half an hour later to a fully-charged car.
The stations proved very popular with drivers in Montreal.
“The curbside chargers in Montreal were really used. They’re convenient and easy to access by the user, a lot more so than chargers in other places, like parkades,” said Tremblay. “Our goal is to work with other major cities in Canada to help them understand the viability and profitability of curbside chargers. We’re definitely convinced that after the pilot we’ll convince them to follow the leadership of Montreal in deploying hundreds of them.”
The announcement was made this morning during a visit by Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and François-Philippe Champagne, federal Minister of International Trade and member of Parliament for Saint-Maurice—Champlain, at the AddEnergie production plant in Shawinigan.
Tremblay also spoke to us about the speed of which his company’s tech can charge cars. Currently it works within the industry standard, which is about 100 kilometres per 20 minutes of charging. But as part of the new projects, AddÉnergie will be able to increase that.
“In three years there’s cars coming that will be twice as economical. Now you do 100 kilometres in 20 minutes and in three years you’ll get 200 kilometres in 20 minutes. We’re working with the industry to bring more powerful chargers, putting more kilometres back in the cars.”