Beiseker is now home to two electric vehicle charging stations, thanks to a provincial grant the Village received through Alberta's Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC).
The charging stations were installed in September in the parking lot of Legacy Park just off First Avenue, according to Village of Beiseker Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Heather Leslie. She said the grant funding the municipality received through the MCCAC was approximately $30,000, which paid for the technology and its installation.
Leslie added the location of the charging stations is advantageous, as the trail head for the recently completed (although still-to-be officially opened) Meadowlark Trail is nearby. Furthermore, electric biking is a permitted use on the pedestrian/cycling pathway that connects Beiseker and Irricana.
“If people are taking advantage of that, or they’re visiting our park or downtown and they have an electric vehicle, it’s a good opportunity for them to charge up and carry on their way,” Leslie said.
The CAO noted that with few (if any) Beiseker residents currently owning electric vehicles, the primary users of the new charging infrastructure will likely be visitors to the village.
“Given the provincial government was willing to support the initiative, we thought we would offer them to the public,” she said, adding the company that supplied the technology is Sustainable Projects Group. “It’s quite apparent more and more people are buying electric vehicles as time goes on.”
Beiseker's mayor, Warren Wise, reiterated Leslie's comments, adding that he suspects the charging stations will see more use in the years to come, rather than in the immediate future.
“I suspect down the road that they’ll be used a lot, but immediately, I don’t really see it,” he said. “But I could be entirely wrong. I don’t drive an electric car and don’t plan on really doing so.
“I think in rural environments, electric cars are going to do a while to catch on. Just because in the city or wherever, driving around for 15 minutes or half an hour… is one thing, but if you’re out in the country, you’re [doing] longer trips than that. How viable it is right now is hard to say.”
Regardless, Wise said providing locals and tourists the opportunity to be able to charge their electric vehicle – be it a car or eBike – is a positive development for Beiseker, particularly with the impending opening of the Meadowlark Trail.
He noted Beiseker is likely the first rural municipality in the area to offer such infrastructure.
“I believe it’s class-two charging, where it’s not a very high charging rate – in other words, you won’t be able to fill up an empty car in half an hour or something like that,” he said. “They’re made for topping up a vehicle.
“The thought was, especially with the trail there, if somebody is to drive an electric vehicle into town and was going to spend time on the trail, they might consider plugging in their vehicle and topping it up while they’re out and about, or while visiting downtown, the museum, or whatever.”