Hydro-Québec’s public charging network, Electric Circuit, is to deploy around 100 new fast-charge stations, with more than1,600 machines to be available in the next ten years.

Last year the National Assembly unanimously adopted An Act to promote the establishment of a public fast-charging service for electric vehicles.

The new legislation authorises Hydro-Québec to use revenue from the increase in electricity sales generated by charges carried out primarily at electric vehicle drivers’ homes to fund the installation of more fast-charge stations. Electricity rates will not be affected.

Hydro-Québec’s specific objectives will be as follows:

  • Commission 1,600 fast-charge stations in the next ten years. As many as 22 new fast-charge stations have already been deployed in 2019 and around 100 in total will be deployed this year.
  • Expand the network in areas which currently have fewer fast-charge stations, such as Mauricie, Côte-Nord, Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean and Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
  • Densify the network in the busiest areas in order to eliminate waiting times at some stations in peak hours, particularly along highways.
  • Provide a high-quality, reliable service that is provided at the same price for all electric vehicle drivers so they can travel anywhere in Québec with ease.

In time, the speed with which the new charging stations are installed will be modified based on the following:

  • Forecasts of the number of electric vehicle drivers, where they are located and the usage of existing charging stations
  • Costs incurred by expanding the network
  • New technologies which simplify the installation of fast-charge stations

The successful roll-out relies on cooperation between partners who will provide space for the new charging stations, namely Desjardins, Le Groupe Crevier, Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert and Metro, as well as the Ministère des Transports du Québec, given some charging stations will be located at rest stops.

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With its fast-charge infrastructure programme, Natural Resources Canada selected three Hydro-Québec projects to receive financial assistance of around C$5m (US$4m). This will be used to fund the installation of around 100 fast-charge stations in Québec.

The three selected projects are for the installation of ten superstations with four fast-charge stations, as well as the deployment of 40 fast-charge stations on the north shore of the Fleuve Saint-Laurent (St. Lawrence River) and 20 fast-charge stations on the south shore.

There are currently close to 40,000 electric vehicles registered in Québec and the Electric Circuit has more than 1,700 charging stations, including 168 fast-charge stations.